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Paul Nicholson
Nashvegas TN
Digital Marketing guy for Captain D's. Hockey fan, photographer, and father of 2 awesome boys.

(Opinions expressed here are not those of my employer. Heck, they might not even be mine.)

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

shameful, wrong, and other bad things

I realize i probably scare away visitors from this site because i am often just complaining and whining, or talking about how bad something is and how i would do it differently. I probably come across as pretty arrogant or annoying myself. However, this takes it up another notch.

I can't tell you how wrong and just stupid i think this is.

Quotes from the article from the Tennessean:

“When I look at my grandfather, I see a man that didn’t compromise,” Will Graham said today. “He sets an example for all of us.”
...until now.
“He wanted people to come to Christ,” Graham’s friend Cliff Barrows said. “That was the driving, motivating force in his life. He was an evangelist.”
...um, he's not dead, yet. (Though his family is in a fight on where to put him in the ground) Hise legacy and integrity is history though.

Up until now, i considered Billy Graham a rarity: a balanced figurehead of Christianity. He recognized the benefit of the large-scale, pop-culture draw that a famous personality can provide. But he was always fairly modest and never grabbed as much fame as he could have. He is just the representative when the president needs someone to pray at inaugurations, but (until now apparently) he never claimed to be anything special. He isn't perfect, but that is it - he is just this guy who people like to point to as an example, and he humbly permitted it. But a massive statue parked in front of the company that, to me, symbolizes making money in the name of Christ? (And yes, my dad and wife both work there.)

Yeah, i'm gonna start offending people so i'll stop now.

I'm just trying to figure out if i should protest in a more formal capacity, or just skip straight to vandalism in the form of spray-painting "WWJD?" on it.

(Someone just posted a comment and i wanted to respond here because i think it clarifies my point a little)

I agree the statue isn't a great work of art, but its good enough. I agree that Billy Graham is a good guy and did some great things and deserves to be honored as such. But it is the very thing(s) he stood for that make a statue seem wrong.

I think the Nathan Forrest statue is hideous and wrong too. He shouldn't be honored with a statue. There are others that a statue better fits, even in downtown Nashville. People who were pop entertainers or civic leaders...that is their whole gig. Being bigger than life and drawing attention to themselves. A statue is a continuation of that and so it works. Sometimes i agree with honoring the person, sometimes i don't. But a statue for those people isn't a surprise.

I wouldn't even be this surprised/upset if there was (and I'm sure there is) a statue of Jerry Falwell around somewhere. I wouldn't like it, but it fits. He is much more about drawing attention to himself.

I have to say too, if this was just a piece of art (like the one at Music Circle) symbolically showing anonymous people bowing at the cross or something like that - even if it was dedicated to Billy Graham - i might think it was tacky, but ok. I just don't think that a huge statue of the man himself fits with Billy Graham and his message or his ministry that he had presented his whole life.

That is what upset me. I don't think this statue is what Billy Graham was/is or stood for. To me, he always managed to appear as a small-town non-denominational pastor who had his head screwed on straight and just so happened to preach to 100,000 people at a time on occasion. I fully imagined in my mind that every other day of the week he was back preaching at a church of 600 in the Carolina's somewhere. I don't think he ever appeared on CNN or anything like that (though his i know son has). He stood for one thing, and that was pointing people to God. He never allowed his name to be used for self-promotion or boasting beyond what was useful in bringing people to Christ. Forgive me, but i don't believe that a statue in front of Lifeway is going to spontaneously bring anyone to their knees, or even suddenly encourage them to darken the door of a church. Maybe i'm wrong.

Billy Graham is/was the kind of guy that deserves to be honored, but shouldn't be. He should be one of those "saints" that does great things, and who's legacy is the people walking around that were changed or the writings/teachings he left behind. He is/was always clear that he never did anything, it was always God.

But, i also understand that there are a lot of people out there that may feel differently. That were personally changed through things he did, etc. who want to show appreciation. And i agree whole-heartedly that he is a man who by any objective standard, deserves to be honored. I'm just not sure that this is the way to do that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OK. I have to comment on that... Just why is it that Billy Graham is bad because he allowed a statue to be erected of him in Nashville?

He was just a man. A pretty good one who helped a lot of people. He's now almost blind, suffering from Parkinson's and is 88 years old, not quite dead. But why should one have to wait to be dead to be honored for a good life? We wait until too late to honor most people we care about or revere.

As for the statue itself, it may not be well done, (Michaelangelo doesn't have to worry) but the idea is to honor someone worth honoring. We have statues of country music stars, the famous one of Nathan Forrest on I65, and of course the one at Music Circle that passes for art. This one is going to be a more positive contribution to the city than any of those.

I am glad they are doing something to honor BG, and I'm glad they are doing it now, so he can understand that he has meant a lot to us. There's nothing shameful about it! - GN