Thursday, September 27, 2012
Chicken Soup for the Soul Receives Authorization from Billy Graham to Create Unique Tribute
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
COS COB, CONN. (ANS) -- Chicken Soup for the Soul says it has been authorized to create a special hardcover anthology documenting the life and legacy of Billy Graham.
The book will contain 101 personal and impactful stories from some of the most influential leaders in government, business, sports, entertainment, and religion as well as Graham's friends and family.
The news release said just as Graham's ministry transcended religious, racial and political boundaries, so does the list of contributors to this book as they reveal and confirm his place in history.
Prominent Christian pastors, leaders from other faiths, celebrities, heroes, regular citizens, and remarkably, every living US president -- collectively document the effects of Graham's worldwide ministry over more than six decades.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring Billy Graham's message of hope and renewal to current and future generations of readers,” said Steve Posner, Ed.M., Harvard University and Lecturer at the University of Southern California, speaking in the news release, who is editing the book.
He added, “Mr. Graham's teachings will be shared by those who have personal stories to tell regarding their own encounters with the world's most beloved Christian preacher.”
The news release said many of the stories discuss Graham's friendliness and modesty, as does President Obama in his account about meeting the evangelist, whom he describes as “a man whose faith had changed the world and had sustained him through triumphs and tragedies, movements and milestones,” who was warm and welcoming to all.
According to the news release, others talk about how Billy Graham strengthened their faith, as does President George W. Bush in his story in which he reveals that, though religion had always been a part of his life, he wasn't really a believer until he met Graham.
“I was captivated by Billy,” he admits. “He had a powerful presence, full of kindness and grace, and a keen mind...In his gentle, loving way, Billy began to deepen my shallow understanding of faith. ‘There's nothing wrong with using the Bible as a guide to self-improvement,’ he told me. ‘Jesus' life provides a powerful example for our own. But self-improvement is not really the point of the Bible. The center of Christianity is not the self. It is Christ.’”
The release said other stories discuss Graham's role in positive change in this country, as does President Bill Clinton, who describes his experience as a young boy attending Graham's 1958 Little Rock Crusade.
“When I look back to what the world looked like in 1958, when I first encountered Billy, I know Billy's crusade didn't abolish racism or the periling vestiges of segregation,” he writes. “But he showed us that by following our faith we would move the rock up the hill...that faith is Billy Graham's great gift to the world.”
The news release said Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan shares about Graham's three audiences with Pope John Paul II.
“As an unwavering lifetime devotee of evangelical Christianity, Mr. Graham did not try to blur their respective theological differences as Protestant and Catholic,” he recalls. “The spiritual generosity that Mr. Graham preached celebrated a universal message of love and compassion that people of all faiths can embrace.”
The news release said Pastor Joel Osteen reminisces on Graham's humility, which he observed during his first encounter with the evangelist.
“When he walked in the room that day, I could definitely feel the presence of God,” he says. “It feels like strength, it feels like peace, it feels like respect, and it feels like love. I was amazed at the interest he took in my ministry... ‘Dr. Graham, I've learned from the best. I've learned from you.’ And he just laughed and said, ‘I don't know what you could have learned from me.’”
The news release said Fox News television host Bill O'Reilly offers his perspective on Graham's unique influence.
“I can't think of anyone who had more access to so many people in powerful positions in so many administrations as Billy Graham did,” he concludes. “There had to be a reason, and I think it lies in his decency, his goodness, his simplicity. These are very transparent virtues. They cannot be faked, and by all accounts, Billy Graham has them in full measure.”
The news release says network television host Kathie Lee Gifford reflects on her experience as a young girl at the crossroads of life making a faith commitment at one of Graham's meetings.
“In a sense, I owe my physical life to my mom and dad, who brought me into this world, and my spiritual life to Billy Graham which will lead me into the world beyond.”
A portion of the proceeds from “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Billy Graham & Me” will be donated to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
“We are committed to affecting people's lives positively in everything we do, from our books that have been a special favorite among communities of faith, to our new line of healthy comfort foods,” said William J. Rouhana, Jr., CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul, speaking in the news release.
Since 1993, books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series have sold more than 100 million copies in the United States and Canada alone. Chicken Soup for the Soul titles have been sold in more than 100 countries and translated into more than forty languages.
** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
Send this story to a friend. Share