In this interview Moira Brown sits down with Billy Graham's daughter Anne Graham Lotz (Rev. Billy Graham's daughter) to talk about her book 'Wounded by God's People' which discusses the unfortunate circumstance when people are hurt by the church, or hypocritical Christians and how to move forward from this.
Charlotte has a street called Billy Graham Parkway, which coincidentally leads you to the international airport where millions of people come and go as they ascend into the clouds on a journey. A little ironic, don't you think?
The Billy Graham Library is a memorialized legacy of the works by Billy Graham and his ministry. I strongly admire the family because they're so real in how they talk about this life journey, our walk before we reunite with God.
In this video his daughter Anne Graham Lotz talks about so many subjects that I can relate to. Christians leave the church because of hypocritical Christians, and I've met quite a few who've left me wondering why they're trying so hard to prove themselves, rather that living the life of example.
Luckily, I grew up in England, the home of the Church of England, the Queen and the protestant reformation. There are Christian churches in every village or hamlet which are all deep rooted in traditionalism. Also, there's the UM church which is a lot more progressive, but not as progressive as some of the Christian culture in America today.
My memories of church were idyllic. I remember my sister and I would skip to the graveyard in our summery floral dresses and pick wild flowers to place atop the graves. Every time I go back to England, we always reminisce over several graves of dear friends, and villagers who passed in the twenty years since my Mum moved there.
For awhile, I kept a very idyllic mindset. When I first arrived to the US I made some of my very first and lifelong friends attending South Hills Bible Church in Spokane, WA. The reason I loved that church was it's fabulous Pastor Sonny and his wife Judy, who always invited the international students to fellowship at social events, or to their house for milkshakes. Every Sunday after church and class we'd all meet at the Rockwood Bakery to chat for hours about the days sermon. A conversationalist like me loved that I could open up, and share my thoughts and views from my cultural perspective.
Then, after moving to Portland, OR for college I noticed that there weren't as many churches, but more 'spiritual' people who lived there. Our college was founded on strict Catholic roots, was 80% female and unlike other colleges there were no parties. I had lots of girlie roommates. It was a time in my life where I could live with so many different characters. I had to learn to respect different religions and cultures.
After college I moved in with my dad. I also went to work with my dad, and slipped into the routine as I had for almost nine summers before. My dad rarely opened up, or shared feelings, unless he was talking about growing up or his parents. His family, especially his dad were very strict. There was a conduct as to how you were to behave, and their German Catholic roots meant most prayers, or confessions were done in private in accordance to Matthew 6. It wasn't until he was sick that he started a Bible study, and we talked about death. He simply said "The belief in God is Heaven and the disbelief is Hell". I think when we're facing death, especially when we feel like it's before our time we question God, and ask "Why me?"
Then you look at all the injustice in the world. The pain and suffering of billions of people who just so happened to be born in a certain country, to certain parents. Why would God allow them to go their whole lives without them knowing about Him, and His unconditional love? I did lot's of theological studies on the cultural, historical and geographical views of religion, and it broadened and expanded my mind. God is love, or if you don't believe you could describe God as Energy, without which, there would be no evolution of human life.
Then I met Cory. We both had such similar thoughts and our conversations have gone all night at times. We both got each other, and felt completely comfortable around each other since we first met. However, we met while I was going through a hard time in my life. Within five years I lost all my grandparents, and my dad after a two-and-a-half year battle with cancer. Cory was kind of the forgotten one, who rarely spoke up, leaving him working from home, a little depressed and rarely opening his blinds.
Maybe there was a reason we met during the hardest time in our lives? These times got even harder. When my family, who is nuts actually accepted Cory with open arms. I couldn't believe my dad even supported our relationship, and not until recently, Cory shared that my dad once whispered into his ears "thank you for taking care of Kiki". Cory's family is also nuts, and I felt like I wasn't accepted in the same way at all. I often felt uncomfortable and judged. His family were loud about Jesus, but make some different moral choices that both my husband and I are not comfortable with. Each to their own.
During my time in the Tri-Cities, WA I was the unhappiest I've ever been in my life. I suffered in my faith extraordinarily. I felt like I couldn't trust God's people or the churches threw heritage out the window.
Then we moved to the South, the Bible belt, and we've noticed a big difference in the importance of Christ in the everyday lives of our friends, neighbors and passers by who wave or graciously stop to tell you a compliment. It's like the modern day Mayberry. There's no need to prove yourself, because almost everyone here is Christian. As a couple we've thrived, and Cory now works for a ministry and a wholesome family channel.
We now attend a UM church, that reminds me more of my childhood with lot's of people who are a little more conservative in their worship styles, yet progressive in their views. We study theology, philosophy, history, genealogy, geography and continue to travel to expand our life experiences. As a couple we have grown exponentially in knowledge and in our walk.
Our lives are short. If we find our God given purpose we'll have fulfillment. Our legacy is our children, and grandchildren who keep us alive in their memories, their thoughts, so be a good memory and encourage others with kind words, and hope they'll forgive you for the words you have to say to repair your relationship with each other.