Posts Tagged ‘Kathie Lee Gifford’

Devotional Podcast #19: “Nothing to Show for Ourselves”

March 8, 2018

In this episode, I reflect once again on Billy Graham’s life, as seen through the eyes of Washington Post columnist George F. Will, who wrote a column deeply critical of Graham. Reading that column helped me to learn something unflattering about myself, which I want to share with you. Maybe you can relate?

Devotional Text: Philippians 4:11-13

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Hi, This is Brent White! It’s Wednesday, March 7, and this is devotional podcast number 19.

You’re listening to a sweet song called “Blue, Red and Grey.” It was written and performed—on ukulele, no less—by Pete Townshend. It appears on his band’s 1975 album, The Who by Numbers. Townshend, who swore one time that he never wrote a proper love song, is likely singing about God when sings,

I like every second
So long as you are on my mind
Every moment has its special charm
It’s all right when you’re around, rain or shine

But what appeals to me here is the contentment expressed by the song. I’m sure Townshend would be the first to tell you that it’s aspirational. In the context of an otherwise deeply unhappy album, the song’s optimism is jarring. But he’s exactly right to aspire to this level of contentment, no matter how elusive it may be.

But what if it doesn’t have to elude us? What if the apostle Paul is telling the truth when he writes the following in Philippians 4:11-13?

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

In the wake of Billy Graham’s death two weeks ago, Washington Post columnist George Will—wasting no time, apparently, to speak ill of the dead—published an editorial critical of the evangelist—on the very day that the Rev. Graham died. Graham was “no prophet,” Mr. Will said—as if he ever claimed or aspired to be. Why? Because he never challenged the status quo—otherwise how could he have been so beloved by millions? “Prophets are without honor” and all that, Will reminds us. So Graham must have been some kind of people-pleaser.

Except… even Will conceded that Graham did challenge the status quo on matters of race: as early as 1952, years before the tide turned against Jim Crow and segregation in the South. As a white southerner myself, born a generation after the fiercest battles of the civil rights movement had been fought and won, 1952 seems heroically early for a white southerner like Graham to speak in defense of equality and desegregation. Nevertheless, Will said, Graham “rarely stepped far in advance of the majority.”[1] Read the rest of this entry »

Kathie Lee Gifford and the power of personal testimony

August 18, 2015


By now, many of you have seen this clip of Kathie Lee Gifford talking about her late husband, Frank, and the strength they received from their Christian faith. I’ve rarely seen a major celebrity speak as forthrightly—and explicitly—about her relationship with Jesus:

[Frank would] want you to know that he died in complete peace. He knew every sin he’d ever committed was forgiven. He had the hope that he’d be with the Lord and that we’d some day be with him as well. That is the foundation of the Christian faith: forgiveness, grace, and hope. And those of you who are hurting today, or feel hopeless, it might be the answer for you. In fact I know it’s the answer for you.


I confess that having never watched a moment of Live with Regis and Kathie Lee and having mostly known of her from the Kristen Wiig parodies on Saturday Night Live, I’m surprised and deeply moved. She doesn’t strike a false note here.

And as someone who makes his living in part by speaking in public, I admire her eloquence and composure—especially speaking extemporaneously.

Notice she begins her words with Job’s insight in the face of profound personal loss: In context, he says, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

I’m reminded with shame how I resisted this doctrine of God’s sovereignty, even as recently as a few years ago. Now, like Kathie Lee, I find it immensely comforting.