Curious Biographical Note

I grew up attending the First Baptist Church of Dallas, the south’s largest Baptist Church, and the one of which Billy Graham was officially a member. Many of my peers there seemed to me the worst kind of religious hypocrites, and some were just ruffians stuffed into Sunday suits, but there was one kid named Robert Jeffress who was quiet, likable, humble, and genuinely nice, mature beyond his years. I didn’t run into him often, but he played the accordion precociously well, so we occasionally discussed our common interest in music. My mother informs me that Dr. Robert Jeffress, author of 16 books, has just been appointed pastor of First Baptist of Dallas. He looks astonishingly little changed.

UPDATE: On the other hand…. (And I had just finished reading Elmer Gantry, too.)


  1. says

    that is a very nicely designed website, but their logo is an strange scribble. I know what it is, but it still strikes me as odd.
    on the topic of your post, it brings up an interesting thought about how people change, or don’t.
    KG replies: I had the same thought about the logo.

  2. says

    I actually really like the logo. For myself, I just care that I find it visually appealing, but I also think that it does a good job of representing what they’re about.
    The abstractness is modern and the casualness of the drawing is welcoming. That it seems to be done in chalk suggests either a chalkboard or that it was scrawled grafitti-style in an alleyway, which says both education and hip urban sensibility. And that it’s an abstract depiction of part of a church says “we come together for worship in a physical building, but this building and this organization are really merely symbols, abstract representations, of our devotion to god.”
    The “You Belong @ First” logo on the other side of the page, though. . . somebody was trying way too hard.

  3. David Cavlovic says

    It’s amazing how far in life you can get playing the accordion. If only I had known….

  4. says

    Had a quick look at the First Baptist music page. They have opportunities for kids from age 3 up.
    With the cutbacks in public school programs, the church still sees value in teaching children about music. Makes you think about how it may shape musical tastes in the future…
    Somewhere J.S. Bach (and all his family) are smiling.

  5. David See says

    I’ve been on Billy Graham Parkway in Asheville NC. It’s a winding, lawn-lined four-laner with a wide median, which was very disappointing for me because I expected it to be strait and narrow.
    KG replies: Ba-dam bing! Maybe you were thinking of Jerry Falwell Parkway… I always thought Billy Graham was a little more tolerant.

  6. richard says

    Maybe in the new pastor’s honor you could write a new accordian work based on “the Beer Barrel Polka” and “Just As I Am”. As an Episcopalian, I’m not up on Baptist politics, but wasn’t a former minister at that church instrumental in the purging of theologically moderate “heretics” from seminaries and the church’s national offices. Your childhood aquaintence might be more than just anti-gay in his theological outlook.

  7. says

    Your assumption is correct. Graham is far more tolerant than Falwell ever was. His anti-Semitic slurs were caught on tape, but he never blamed the destruction of the country on a particular group of people.