Title: Rebel With a Cause
Author: Franklin Graham
Release Date: June 17, 1997
Rating: 4 out of 5
A few months ago, I was invited to chaperone a service trip to the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, North Carolina. At the time I drove a weathered Mazda Tribute, packed with high school kids who knew how to spot every yellow car within a mile radius. As they drummed against the ceiling (and occasional window) with the triumphant sighting of another canary colored vehicle, I had to admit, I was having just as much fun as they were. But there was something else that struck me that day.
Feet hit pavement several hours later, every pair eager to stretch the dormancy from their limbs, and we filed into one of the main buildings. It was a beautiful piece of architecture; a blend of wood and stone that complimented the beautiful mountain landscape which hugged this peaceful town.
The walls, however, spoke of stories that stretched beyond the winding roads of Boone. In fact, they spanned continents and oceans. In every room canvases hung like windows into a world larger than any I’ve ever known; images of survivors and rescuers; desolation and reconstruction; tragedy and hope.
When this organization saw a need, it offered help with little fear of the cost. Franklin Graham’s autobiography illustrates just what that looked like. The book was given to me during our group trip to Boone, and reading it provided me a better understanding of the warming, and sometimes haunting, photos that lined the walls. Samaritan’s Purse was more than an international Santa. Franklin Graham had tread through war zones with shells raining down around him, not once, but many times, in a tenacious effort to bring hope and aid to places most folks wouldn’t dare to go.
While I’m not big on autobiographies, and while the name “Graham” makes me think of old time churches full of stiff suits and uncomfortable dresses, I couldn’t put down Franklin’s book. Rebel With a Cause tapped into my inexhaustible desire to hear other people’s stories. It’s hard not to find this man’s book uplifting. Especially when you realize this isn’t fiction, but a personal account of someone’s life.
Franklin doesn’t flaunt any sort of literary flair. Born country, his words are blunt and simple, like a conversation you’d have while sitting on the front porch, sipping a glass of lemonade under a chorus of crickets. Yet rhetoric didn’t make the pages turn. It was the adventurous, and sometimes surreal, life that he’s led. The places he’s been, people he’s met and the incredulous (or better yet, miraculous) accounts bordering between brokenness and redemption not just of the soul, but of towns and human life itself. Franklin talks about other things. Like love, faith and the struggle of “growing up Graham”. It’s his story, and there’s things about a person’s story that you can learn from.
This started as a long overdue book review, though at this point it seems like I’m just gushing about it. But maybe that’s a review within itself. To say that a book moves you is one of the greatest compliments one could give an author.