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Photos of the Week: The life of Billy Graham

(RNS) — Each week Religion News Service presents a gallery of photos of religious practice around the world. This week’s gallery is different. In the wake of the death of evangelist Billy Graham on Wednesday (Feb. 21), here is his life, in pictures.

Evangelist Billy Graham stands on the roof-top of a skyscraper in New York City with the midtown skyline behind him to symbolize his New York crusade in 1957. Photo courtesy of Archives of the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton, Ill.

The Graham family in 1962. Seated, left to right: Nelson Edmond “Ned,” Ruth, Billy. Standing, left to right: William “Franklin” III, Virginia Leftwich “Gigi,” Anne Morrow, Ruth Bell. Photo courtesy of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

“Many times I have been driven to prayer,” Billy Graham once said. “When I was in Bible school I didn’t know what to do with my life. I used to walk the streets … and pray, sometimes for hours at a time. In His timing, God answered those prayers, and since then prayer has been an essential part of my life.” Photographed in Pittsburgh in 1968. Photo courtesy of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Billy Graham, left, and his son Franklin Graham smile during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., on Aug. 26, 2005. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Billy Graham speaks during the closing meeting of the Greater London Crusade at Wembley Stadium on May 22, 1954. RNS file photo

About the author

Sally Morrow

Sally Morrow joined Religion News Service in March 2012 as Photo/Multimedia Editor. She is a photographer and editor based in Kansas City. Morrow has worked as a multimedia editor and photographer at Newsday, The Des Moines Register, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.


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  • Billy G and Christian Economics and Greed 101:

    The Baptizer drew crowds and charged for the “dunking”. The historical Jesus saw a good thing and continued dunking and preaching the good word but added “healing” as an added charge to include free room and board. Sure was better than being a poor peasant but he got a bit too zealous and they nailed him to a tree. But still no greed there.

    Paul picked up the money scent on the road to Damascus. He added some letters and a prophecy of the imminent second coming for a fee for salvation and “Gentilized” the good word to the “big buck” world. i.e. Paul was the first media evangelist!!! And he and the other Apostles forgot to pay their Roman taxes and the legendary actions by the Romans made them martyrs for future greed. Paul was guilty of minor greed?

    Along comes Constantine. He saw the growing rich Christian community and recognized a new tax base so he set them “free”. Major greed on his part!!

    The Holy Roman “Empirers”/Popes/Kings/Queens/Evangelicals like Billy G. et. al. continued the money grab selling access to JC and heaven resulting in some of today’s richest organizations on the globe i.e. the Christian churches (including the Mormon Church) and related aristocracies. Obvious greed!!!

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

    “Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God’s hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus’ failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing.”

  • “The Baptizer drew crowds and charged for the ‘dunking'”.

    The historical John the Forerunner lived the life of a desert ascetic, clad in rough camel skin and eating locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4). There is no evidence that he charged anyone for anything.

    So, after your opening falsehood, there is no reason to take any of your subsequent statements seriously.

  • Well you finally found a NT passage that passes rigorous historic testing although you should have cited the passage from Mark 1: 1-8 since Matthew and Luke copied the passage from Mark not giving him credit i.e. they were both first century plagiarists. e.g.

    Now for a closer look at JB and his life-style:

    Hmmm, the story has JB eating locusts topped with wild honey, a real delicacy
    no doubt in the first century CE.

    Another variation: “his food consisted of raw
    honey that tasted like manna, like a pancake cooked with oil.”

    The “skinny” of said story:

    “The idea of eating locusts or grasshoppers
    is repulsive to many, but keep in mind that most think nothing of eating a cow
    or a chicken’s flesh. It’s really a matter of mind-set. In ancient Greece and
    Rome, fried locusts, cicadas, and grasshoppers were considered a delicacy
    superior to the best meat or fish. These insects have enormous nutritional
    value. Grasshoppers, for example, are 60% protein versus chicken or beef with
    about 20%. According to author Christopher Nyerges, “When hordes of locusts
    destroy acres of crops, farmers should be counting their blessings and rapidly
    collecting locusts. After all, the locusts are a much higher protein source
    than the grains they’re devouring.”

    So JB ate locusts just as many Asians also did then and still do today. Locusts are prepared by many by being
    slightly roasted, dried in the sun, and then salted. When eaten, the wings, legs,
    and head are removed; when the head is removed, the intestines come out with
    it. The part left is the fleshy portion. Locusts are a good source of protein,
    vitamins and minerals. Brother John ate locusts and the gold standard of food –
    wild honey.” Yum!!!! –

    Which begs the question, where did JB get the money to buy honey and locusts? The answer: a dunking charge!!

    And it sure beats those tasteless, flesh and blood communion wafers still served every Sunday!!!

    And clothing worn by the normal folks of 1st century Palestine:

    “Country folk and the poor mostly wore garments woven at home from sheep and goat wool and hair.” So camel hair was probably a bit more expensive?



    Camel’s Hair

    CAMEL’s HAIR (τρίχες καμήλου). The longer hair of a camel from the neck and region of the hump, used esp. for weaving.

    Mentioned only in the Bible as the material of the outer garment of John the Baptist (Matt 3:4; Mark 1:6), camel’s hair cloth can be a relatively expensive woven material. Since Jesus contrasted John’s attire with the “soft raiment” of noblemen (Matt 11:8; cf. a similar contrast in Jos. War I. 24. 3), some think that John’s hairy mantle may have been of dressed camel’s skin. On the other hand, a scratchy cloak (Arab. ‘abâ’) of camel’s hair is still worn by desert Bedouin. A “hairy mantle” was a mark of a prophet (Zech 13:4); and Elijah, of whom John was the successor (Matt 11:13, 14; 17:10-13), wore a garment of haircloth as well as a leather girdle (2 Kings 1:8). The longer, woolly hair of a camel can easily be pulled away in tufts from the skin as warmer spring weather comes, and is woven into cloth for tents and coats.”

    Want to buy a camel hair suit:|Men:Non-Brand:SuitSeparates&Sportcoats:allmenclothingsuitseparates&sportcoats&gclid=CjwKCAiA8bnUBRA-EiwAc0hZk9f-BRIw2_0m01B7MMKZq4leDVWOjbseggfWIOf_9YwSuUoZxm5E9xoCNFMQAvD_BwE

  • Well, at least one of your references caught the fact that John’s being clothed in rugged, hairy animal skins was part of a desert ascetic tradition going back at least to the Prophet Elias. Rough hair shirts were worn by ascetics for centuries, into modern times. Any connection to modern luxury camel hair suites, however, is facetious.

    In all your references to locusts, however, you missed that the beans of the wild carob tree are also referred to as “locusts”. They can be found naturally, of course, as can wild honey. Desert ascetics have long survived by foraging on insects, plants, roots, etc. St. Mary of Egypt lived 47 years in the desert wilderness, surviving only on wild plants and water from the Jordan. Many other have done the same. Neither they, nor St. John, needed to buy anything from anyone.

    So, still zero evidence of charging for baptisms.

    “those tasteless…communion wafers…”

    Sorry, never used azymes. Always traditional homemade communion bread made from flour, yeast, and water. Delicious!

  • You make the assumption that there were an Elias and a St. Mary of Egypt. Proof as in rigorous historic testing? After all Abraham and Moses were myths. And ascetics wearing hair shirts? For what purpose? To drive themselves insane no doubt.

    And no doubt your bread would taste much better dipped in peanut butter and jelly vs. JC’s blood.

  • “To drive themselves insane no doubt.”

    Rather, to help silence the insanity of the passions/attachments (pathi) that all men are subject to.

    As for the bread, it is best savored with warmed strong red wine. Delightful.

  • Report me for claiming that the warmed, strong red wine used in Communion always tastes like warmed, strong red wine? You could report me for saying that to anyone you like. Every Bishop, Priest, Deacon, Subdeacon, Reader, layperson, catechumen, even nonbeliever, knows this. Everyone, apparently, except you.

    And it is wonderful with homemade Communion bread, which – breaking news! – just happens to taste like delicious homemade bread! LOL!

  • Who said anything about just “male”?

    Sounds like you’re a misogynist chauvinist sexist!

  • You might want to go back and reread your statement about passions aka itches and men.

    And you are a priest who does not believe that the concentrated wine is not JC’s blood? Hmmm?

  • Reread my comment. Nowhere did I restrict it to “males”. “…all men” is the common English generic, encompassing both sexes…as my previous reference to St. Mary of Egypt makes clear.

    Nowhere did I say that the consecrated wine in Communion is not the Blood of Christ.

    And what is this “concentrated wine” you refer to? Is it stronger than regular wine, like, say, a Port? Sign me up!

  • Oops of course make that consecrated. Auto spell issue. No matter though as it is all just more Christian mumbo_jumble and an excuse for a daily high.

    And still waiting for proof that your. itchy Mary existed.

  • The history concerning St. Mary of Egypt was related by St. Zosimas of Palestine, and was recorded by St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, a few decades after the Venerable Zosimus’ death.

    But I guess next you’ll be casting doubts as to whether or not St. Sophronius – or perhaps Jerusalem – really existed. LOL.

  • Will concede on Jerusalem but will definitely check out your two “saints” for

  • Hmmm, failure on all three “saints” by rigorous historic testing: oral tradition, legends and miracles vitiate any kind of historic authenticity;

    “All that we know of Zosimas’ life comes from the Vita of St. Mary of Egypt,[2] recorded by St. Sophronius, who was the Patriarch of Jerusalem from 634 to 638. Sophronius based his work on oral tradition he had heard from monks in the Land of Israel. This Vita is traditionally read as a part of the Matins of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, on the fifth Thursday of Great Lent.

    In the Western church this story was taken and used in the late medieval legend of Mary Magdalene, with Zosimas renamed as Maximin, as recounted in the Golden Legend and elsewhere. The fresco illustrated, by Giotto and his workshop in Assisi, shows this version.”

    “In brief, Mary was an extremely promiscuous Egyptian woman who traveled to Jerusalem on an anti-pilgrimage, to make fun of Christians. She entered the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and had a powerful mystical experience that drove her to live in the desert of Palestine, in penitence. She lived there alone, in the wild, for many years, as a hermit. One day, a monk saw a naked woman in the desert who barely looked human. It was Mary. She asked him to give her his mantle to cover herself with. She told him her life story. Another miracle followed, but you have to read her life, linked to above, to find out what it is.”

  • READER ALERT! “Rational Conclusions” below serves the adversary. Do not be deceived. He makes NO rational conclusions. Father Herman
    below, on the other hand, advocates for truth and good.

  • Rigorous historic testing rules the day now and forever. Father Herman unfortunately he is trapped in the bible box. We are slowly setting him free. Hopefully, you will join him.