Most weeks, "Friday Five" jumps all over the place in the world of religion.
This week, the biggest story (the only story?) is Wednesday's death of the Rev. Billy Graham at age 99.
By my count, this is GetReligion's sixth post on the subject. Spoiler alert: It won't be the last.
Let's dive right in:
1. Religion story of the week: I won't even attempt to name a best story out of all the countless pieces that have been written on Graham's death and legacy. Honestly, I've had a chance to read only a fraction of what's been written so far.
But -- as an Oklahoma resident for much of the past three decades and someone who covered the immediate aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing -- I was touched by our own Terry Mattingly's tribute to Graham.
Tmatt's special column focuses on Graham's role and importance after the April 19, 1995, bombing, which resulted in the deaths of 168 people -- including 19 children. In his sermon, Graham was acting as "America's pastor" and as an evangelist, at the same time, with President Bill Clinton in the front row.
2. Most popular GetReligion post: Our No. 1 most-read Graham post of the week is tmatt's initial "Turtle on a fence post?" reflection.
If that "Turtle on a fence post?" mention makes you scratch your head, then you probably need to go ahead and read the post.
3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): Just how long has Christianity Today, the magazine Graham founded, been preparing for his death?
"So far in advance that at least three people we had write tributes (John Stott, Chuck Colson, Richard John Neuhaus) have since died themselves!" one staffer told me.
This tweet by Ted Olsen, CT's editorial director, made me chuckle (in a dark sort of way):
Here is where you can read CT's "Remembering Billy Graham" package.
4. Shameless plug: Religion News Service has an extensive package of stories and columns titled "America's Preacher" that explore Graham's life and legacy.
I was able to contribute one story to that package, focused on why Graham was a member of First Baptist Dallas for 54 years even though he never lived in Texas.
One piece in that package (among many) that's worth a read: A. Larry Ross' reflections on serving as Graham's spokesman for more than 30 years. (Note: Larry Ross and I are not related, as far as I know.)
5. Final thought: I hope you don't mind me quoting Olsen twice in one post.
But undoubtedly, you've seen a certain Billy Graham quote making the rounds:
Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.
Here's the deal, though: Those words didn't actually originate with Graham.
Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy the weekend.