Daily Archives: May 18, 2007

remembering Jerry Falwell

As most have heard, Jerry Falwell has gone to glory… I shook his hand twice: once when I received my B.S. from Liberty University and then when I received my M.A.R. from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, both times, he said “Congratulations buddy.” He had no idea who I was, but thanks to his vision, I learned how to learn.

I heard about his death as I was driving from Greenberry’s back to school just before 2, when my daughter called me to let me know, she graduates with her B.A. from Liberty tomorrow, she had heard on campus and called me. About an hour later I heard it on the radio. Then I got to school and a colleague sent an email around (this person, like many, didn’t like Jerry because of something he had done, she made some comment in the email which announced the death, I was a little put off by the crack but let it go, until now). That night I scanned the beginning of the news shows, they all led with the death of the “controversial figure.” I watched the networks (I don’t have cable) and there seemed to be a generally civil discussion of Jerry’s words and his accomplishments.

Of course, the Moral Majority was discussed, it seemed that Falwell was given the credit for the election of Reagan and both Bushes and the development of the Christian right as the most powerful single political force in America today. But as I listened to Tony Campolo on The News Hour, he really hit a kind note. Campolo, no Falwell Fundamentalist, stated that while Jerry might disagree and debate you on TV with force, he did so with kindness. He was gracious, he was a gentleman. Yesterday a friend told me that Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton had made similar comments.

On the News Hour, Campolo said these things

“My wife, who, unlike myself, is a strong advocate for gay marriage, once had a meeting with him. And she said, “I came away feeling that this man was a gentleman, and he spoke with kindness and with civility.” And, off camera, he was as gracious a man as you could possibly imagine. And I have found him to be the same.

We differed politically, not theologically very much, but politically. And we will stand in awe of his impact in history. Of course, his greatest impact is not his politics. His greatest legacy is going to be Liberty University, where thousands of people will be raised up to support the things that he believed in.” (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/remember/jan-june07/falwell_05-15.html)

I learned to learn at Liberty. I was glad that one of our girls went to Liberty. I have met some amazing servants of God who trained at Liberty. I think Campolo and the other guy on TV got it right, Jerry’s greatest accomplishment was founding Liberty.

But now, Jerry is so enthralled in the glory of God, that he cares no longer of these things, now he sees the Maker, the Saviour, face to face, not darkly like we do… Thanks be to God for Jerry. I’ll see you there Jerry.

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