Graham, Ruth 1950–
Graham, Ruth 1950–
(Ruth Graham Dienert)
Born December 19, 1950; daughter of Billy (a Christian evangelist) and Ruth (a writer) Graham; children: two daughters, one son. Education: College graduate. Religion: Christian.
Home—Shenandoah Valley, VA.
Writer and Christian evangelist.
First Steps in the Bible, Word Books (Waco, TX), 1980.
(With Sara R. Dormon) I'm Pregnant—Now What?, Regal Books (Ventura, CA), 2004.
(With Stacy Mattingly) In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart: Hope for the Hurting, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 2004.
(With Stacy Mattingly) A Legacy of Love: Things I Learned from My Mother, Inspirio/Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 2005.
(With Stacy Mattingly) A Legacy of Faith: Things I Learned from My Father, Inspirio (Grand Rapids, MI), 2006.
Step into the Bible: 100 Bible Stories for Family Devotions, Zonderkidz (Grand Rapids, MI), 2007.
Author's book In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart: Hope for the Hurting was released as an audio book by Zondervan, 2004.
Ruth Graham is the third child of Christian evangelist Billy Graham and his late wife, Ruth Bell Graham. A Christian inspirational writer herself, Ruth Graham has drawn upon the legacies of her famous parents while revealing that faith in God does not lead to a life devoid of difficult and painful issues. Graham is best known for her candid memoir In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart: Hope for the Hurting, written with Stacy Mattingly, as well as for two books of advice drawn from her mother and father, A Legacy of Love: Things I Learned from My Mother and A Legacy of Faith: Things I Learned from My Father, both also written with Mattingly. The unifying theme of Graham's work is her appreciation of and respect for Billy and Ruth Bell Graham—for the lives they lived and the lessons they imparted even while serving as internationally known evangelists.
By the time Ruth Graham was born in 1950, her father had already embarked upon the career that led to his being the best-known Christian preacher in America. Billy Graham did not restrict his evangelism to television. Instead he mounted "Crusades" in large stadiums all over the United States and throughout the world. A typical Billy Graham Crusade would last up to a week, during which Graham would preach before crowds every night, offering a different message on each occasion. Needless to say, his schedule kept him away from home much of the time. Nevertheless, in her books In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart and A Legacy of Faith, Ruth Graham recalls her famous parent as the embodiment of the values he preached, as supportive and forgiving even when she made mistakes in her life. When traveling he communicated to her through long and thoughtful letters. When home he shared his own insecurities in an effort to bolster her confidence. In a Publishers Weekly piece on A Legacy of Faith, the reviewer noted that Ruth Graham "looks back to a loving and almost magical childhood."
Ruth Graham began her own Christian ministry as a young adult and published her debut book, First Steps in the Bible, in 1980. However, her life was fraught with difficulties, including multiple divorces and children with psychological issues, such as drug abuse and anorexia. Graham's book In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart details her struggles and her parents' reactions to them over several decades. In an interview with The 700 Club, Graham said: "It doesn't matter who you are or what family you come from. Life happens. And life brings you blows that you don't expect. It happens in Billy Graham's family, too." Graham noted that she wrote candidly about herself and her children with her children's permission because they all work with people suffering from similar problems. "We want to minister," she said, "and being authentic allows for ministry." Graham cited two goals for her memoir: "for people who are hurting to know they're not alone and that struggle is part of the human condition," and "to equip people who want to minister to the hurting but don't know how."
Graham's two books about her parents, A Legacy of Love and A Legacy of Faith, are inspirational titles that seek to personalize the Graham family's image. The book about her mother draws upon childhood memories, while the one about her father emphasizes his letters to her as well as his unconditional forgiveness of her sometimes rash and ill-considered decisions. Both works include family photographs. In his Booklist review of A Legacy of Faith, Ray Olson cited the title for its "unsentimental sincerity," concluding: "All Christian inspirational writing should be this accomplished."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Graham, Ruth, and Stacy Mattingly, In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart: Hope for the Hurting, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 2004.
Graham, Ruth, and Stacy Mattingly, A Legacy of Love: Things I Learned from My Mother, Inspirio/Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 2005.
Graham, Ruth, and Stacy Mattingly, A Legacy of Faith: Things I Learned from My Father, Inspirio (Grand Rapids, MI), 2006.
Booklist, April 15, 2006, Ray Olson, review of A Legacy of Faith, p. 8.
Christianity Today, March 1, 2007, Stan Guthrie, "Grace Afar and Near: Billy Graham's Third Daughter Describes Her Relationship with Her Famous Father," p. 78.
Publishers Weekly, June 28, 2004, review of In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart, p. 45; June 28, 2004, "Hope for the Hurting," p. 47; April 3, 2006, review of A Legacy of Faith, p. 65.
Today's Christian, May 1, 2005, Mike Parker, review of In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart.
700 Club,http://www.cbn.com/700club/ (December 16, 2004), Shannon Woodland, "Ruth Graham Hopes Tale of Brokenness Will Help Others."