Q: America’s evangelical subculture has recently undergone some interesting changes, including the rise of new, more liberal voices whose views on cultural issues stand in sharp contrast to those of the religious right. What do you make of such changes? A: As an evangelist, my calling has always been to proclaim the central message of the gospel: What Christ did for us by his death and resurrection, and our need to respond to him in repentance and faith. I’ve always tried to avoid being associated with groups that focus on political issues, either on the right or the left. That isn’t my calling. However, I’m very concerned about the growing polarization we see today, both in our society generally and even among some evangelicals. Somehow we’ve got to find a way to get past this and find a common ground. Q: Have your views on such issues as foreign policy and homosexuality grown more liberal through the decades? A: Well, I hope they’ve grown more balanced over the years, although I try to avoid labels like “liberal” or “conservative.” When I was young, I thought I knew the answer to almost everything, and I cringe when I look back at some of those ill-considered remarks. The world is complex, and as I’ve grown older I’ve learned that foreign-policy issues, for example, usually aren’t as easy as they may seem on the surface. Homosexuality is not a lifestyle that is endorsed by the Bible, although I don’t believe Christians should single out homosexuals for condemnation or contempt. God loves the homosexual just as much as the heterosexual, and so should we. We have all sinned, and we all need God’s grace and forgiveness. We also all need God’s strength to fight temptation and to change our lives. Q: Do you follow news from the Middle East and Iraq? If so, is there anything you’d like to say about the conflicts in those places? A: I try to follow the news from there, and Ruth and I pray every day for our president. I don’t think any of us can appreciate the pressures he faces. We pray also for our military personnel who are serving over there, and for their families. One of our grandsons is serving over there as an Army Ranger, and a few weeks ago he was wounded by shrapnel while on duty. Thankfully, he is recovering, but this has brought home to us what the families of our military personnel are going through. Some of the tensions in the Middle East go back thousands of years to Abraham in the Bible, with the births of Ishmael and Isaac. I also think we aren’t as knowledgeable about Islam as we should be, or the centuries-old conflict between the Sunnis and the Shiites. These conflicts took centuries to develop, and they won’t be solved overnight. At the same time, we ought to pray for peace in that part of the world, and encourage our leaders to do everything they can to promote peace. Q: What has age shown you most vividly? A: To depend on the Lord for everything, and to be thankful for everything he gives us, including hope for the future. I’ve also learned that even if we can’t do everything we once did, God isn’t finished with us, and we can still serve him. Sometimes the greatest service we can do for someone is to pray for them, and I find myself doing that more and more. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! A: One of the joys of growing older is the opportunity for us to spend more time together. Sometimes we’ll just sit for hours, holding hands and talking or watching a video, or even just enjoying each other’s company in silence. After a lifetime of travel and being apart so much, we treasure this stage of our lives. At the same time, old age has its burdens, and we aren’t immune. Whoever said, “Old age isn’t for sissies” had it right. For years Ruth has struggled with serious pain because of the degeneration of the bone structure in her back, and she is now bedridden. I have several continuing health issues. Ruth and I know that each day is a gift from God, and we are thankful for them. Q: What gives you comfort and hope? What is your daily faith practice? A: My greatest comfort comes from knowing that I belong to Christ, and that no matter what happens, he will never leave me or forsake me. He will be with me as long as I’m on this Earth, and some day I will go to be with him in heaven forever. I look forward to that day! The Bible and prayer have always been the foundation for my daily walk with God, and they still are. For many years I’ve made it a practice to start the day by reading the Bible and praying, and I still do this as much as possible. Ruth and I also try to end the day by praying together and reading a brief passage of scripture. MINNEAPOLIS – He is 88 now, bent by age and ailments, spending his days sitting with his beloved bedridden wife, Ruth, at their home in the mountains of North Carolina. Yet the stature of Billy Graham, whose global ministry got its start in Minnesota, continues to grow. In December, the Gallup Poll named him among the 10 most admired men in the world – a 50th time for him on that list. Graham, who has made only a few personal appearances in the past years, rarely grants interviews. He spoke to the Star Tribune – by e-mail, due to his poor health – because he has a deep appreciation for Minnesota, where he was a Bible college president and created the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Q: How are you and your wife, Ruth, doing?