The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 2, 1997 · Page 19
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 19

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Salina, Kansas
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Friday, May 2, 1997
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Page 19
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THE SALINA JOURNAL RELIGION FRIDAY, MAY 2, 1997 C5 T BILLY GRAHAM Graham would live differently if he did it again Evangelist would be less political, spend more time at home "As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work." John 9:4 By DAVID BRIGGS The Associated Press Ask Billy Graham his greatest surprise in life, and his reply is immediate: "The brevity of it." He is 78; his hands are weakened and his balance sometimes shaky from Parkinson's disease. But to him and to many of his followers, it seems like only yesterday that he was the young broad- shouldered, square-jawed fiery evangelical, meeting President Truman in the Oval Office or leading a 16-week crusade at Madison Square Garden in the '50s. ^However, even as he continues to lead crusades — the most recent in April in San Antonio — Graham recognizes the time has come for summing up one of the most remarkable evangelistic careers in American religious history. Two years ago, at Graham's urging, his son Franklin was appointed his successor-in-waiting as head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. And this month comes the release of his memoirs T PASTOR SALARIES of a remarkable life in ministry, "Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham." The 760-page book recounts Graham's experiences preaching to more than 230 million people in 180 countries. He recounts how he broke with prominent fundamentalists to build a broad evangelical alliance that would eventually welcome Roman Catholics to his crusades. He describes his own efforts at seeking racial justice, from demanding that his crusades be integrated to endorsing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. o Pastor to presidents America's pastor has also been a presidential chaplain, and his experiences — from advising Dwight Eisenhower to support school integration to encouraging Gerald Ford to grant former Richard Nixon a pardon — add the ultimate insider's perspective on the mix of religion and White House politics. In fact, if he could live his life over again, Graham writes in his autobiography, he would avoid any semblance of involvement in partisan politics. What readers may find most striking about the autobiography is not the oft-told tales of public events, but the glimpses into the private life of the man who has consistently over the past four decades made the list of America's 10 most admired men. The Associated Press The Rev. Billy Graham, one of America's most-respected public figures, has published his memoirs, "Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham." He takes you to the side of his wife, Ruth, as he prays with her before an operation for spinal meningitis. The Bible text Graham shares as he holds his wife's hand is not one promising the best possible temporal outcome, but the passage in the first chapter of 1 Peter that speaks of the "lively hope" of eternal life brought about by the resurrection of Jesus. "Those words reminded us of the hope we have in Christ, assuring us that whether Ruth survived the operation or not, God would always keep her in his loving care," Graham writes. Missed his children And he speaks candidly of one of his greatest regrets: leaving his children during their growing up years for months at a time. Once, during the summer of 1960, he said it took him several minutes to realize "that the beautiful little child wandering out to greet us" after a long trip was his youngest son, Ned. Both Franklin and Ned Graham would go through rebellious periods during which they used drugs, Graham said. "Every day I was absent from my family is gone forever," Graham writes. In his remaining years, Graham said he wants to help the Clintons with their agenda of meeting the needs of the nation's children. Children's meetings have become a part of his crusades, and Graham urges churches to focus their attention on children in need. Ready for heaven Today, his sons are leading international ministries, and Franklin is becoming a successful evangelist on his own. And the father must face something he never thought much about: old age. In the 1950s, Graham said he thought he would not live a long life because the pace of his ministry was sure to kill him. As he approached his 60s, he thought he would end up like his father, who had the first in a series of strokes at that age. "I know that soon my life will be over. I thank God for it, and for all He has given me in his life," Graham writes. "But I look forward to heaven." When he gets there, Graham said, the second thing he plans to do with God is engage in a little Bible study, to ask about some of the seeming contradictions in biblical figures, and to find out the answers to such mysteries as how God can have no beginning and no end. But first he has another question. "Why me, Lord? Why did you choose a farm boy from North Carolina to preach to so many people, to have such a wonderful team of associates, and to have a part in what You were doing in the latter half of the 20th century? "I have thought about that question a great deal, but I know also that only God knows the answer." Pastoral finances Percentage of pastors who... are discontent with current finances say there is some family tension over finances are anxious about their financial future 70% 67% thought about leaving the ministry for a better-paying job in the last year 49% Ask and ye shall recieve Percentage of pastors who believe it is appropriate to ask for a raise: 90% of those... 65% have never asked affitH3<a*s<sa«3i but 87% of those who did ask received an increase Tithing: what they practice vs what they preach Of those who gave 10% of their pre-tax income... 1BH • • -15% did not preach that their congregation do the same Of those who gave 10% of their after-tax income... HI .. .36% gave one sermon during the year on tithing Source: Christianity Today Inc. survey of 594 evangelical ministers in summer 1996 AP Pastors give well, even if not paid well Polls finds most tithe, but many don't want to ask church for a raise By DAVID BRIGGS The Associated Press NEW YORK — They do not like to talk about money from the pulpit, and asking for a raise makes many pastors uncomfortable. But when they leave their offices at night, drive by their neighbors' nicer houses and pull their used cars into their driveways, financial issues can no longer be easily dismissed. In a poll of nearly 600 evangelical clergy, more than two-thirds of the ministers surveyed said their families experience at least some tension about not having enough money, and two-thirds reported being anxious about their financial future. And nearly half of all ministers said they thought of leaving the ministry for a better-paying job in the past year, according to the survey released recently by Leadership magazine. •Meanwhile, 38 percent of all churches have no policy for giving ttyeir pastors pay increases, and th,e policy at an additional one in five churches is to give the pastor a cost-of-living raise when the church can afford it. "There's still the impression — at least among the laity — that you pay the pastor as little as possible, not as much as possible," said David Goetz, associate editor of Leadership. Christianity Today Inc. mailed si^veys last summer to 1,200 sub- scjljjers of its magazines Leadership^ Christianity Today and Your Church. Researchers received 594 responses. Overall, pastors reported receiving a median base salary of $25,000. Adding in the housing allowance raised the median compensation to around $33,000, well below the median salaries of professionals in other fields. The rare look into the financial lives of pastors revealed a modest lifestyle. Pastors reported spending a median amount of $100 eating out each month and only $50 a month on entertainment. Despite their modest salaries, 63 percent tithed 10 percent of their pre-tax income to the church, and an additional 13 percent tithed 10 percent of their after-tax income. The survey showed ministers are not uncomfortable practicing what they preach, but rather preaching what they practice. So although three in four clergy give 10 percent to the church, half of the ministers responding to the survey said they preached about tithing to their congregation once a year or less. It is even harder for clergy to stand up for themselves financially. Ninety percent of the ministers surveyed said it is appropriate for a pastor to ask for a raise. Within that 90 percent, however, 65 percent have never asked for an increase in salary. Of those clergy who did ask, 65 percent were given the raise requested, and an additional 22 percent were given a salary increase, although not the amount asked for. "The bottom line is, if you ask, you receive," Goetz said. "Nobody is going to bring it to you. You are on your own." While minister may be relatively quiet from the pulpit and in the church boardroom about money, the low salaries are taking a toll. In the Leadership survey, 49 percent of clergy said that, at least once a year, they consider leaving the ministry for a better-paying position, including one in four who say they consider dropping out twice a year or more. Lyle Schaller, a church growth consultant, said a lot of smaller churches who have full-time, fully credentialed pastors cannot afford to pay them professional salaries. "It's not so much 'Reverend, we don't think you deserve it.' It's 'Reverend, we don't have the money to give it,' " Schaller said. ELECTRICAL SALE! QUIET SWITCH Brown, ivory or white. 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