Tag Archives: Billy Graham

The Unlikely Man Who Inspired ‘Old Fashioned’

With a movie that has a title like Old Fashioned—that features a storyline about an out-of-step, counter-cultural approach to modern love and romance—it’s to be expected that all manner of assumptions will be made about the background of the person creating such a thing.

Throw in the word “courtship” and that just takes it over the top.

As I mentioned in my last post, the online debate about courtship/dating I discovered had a lot of discussion and push-back offered by readers that were coming from backgrounds that were fairly sheltered, etc.

One might predictably conclude that is my background as well.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

I wasn’t homeschooled.  I didn’t grow up in a repressive or overly restrictive religious environment.  My parents didn’t buy me a chastity belt when I hit puberty.

Truth is, my moral compass was almost completely defined and shaped by American pop culture—music, movies, TV.  They peddled the goods, and I bought.  At the feet of Hollywood and rock gods I sat… and I learned.  I learned a lot of lessons that it took me years to unlearn, actually…

I was anything BUT Old Fashioned.

So much so, that when I first heard the two ideas that were the initial seeds that eventually grew into this movie and the two books and all the controversy… well, to me, those ideas were so new, so foreign that they almost sounded like they were from outer space or something.  To some of you, they still might.

What were they?

The first was inspired by a very famous evangelist who had made a pact with his ministry leaders that included the principle of none of them ever being alone with any woman that was not his wife—not at all, ever, period.  What?!?  Seriously?!?  It was no joke and it was a concept I had never even heard, let alone considered.  I’ll never know why exactly, but that kind of commitment to respect and honor stopped me in my tracks.  A seed was planted…

The other idea was based on the true story of a young couple that made the choice to not kiss until their wedding day.  Again, this was so far outside my box at the time I couldn’t even imagine people like that actually existed.  But for some reason, the story didn’t make me laugh or cringe… it pulled at my heart.  Against all odds, another seed was planted…

Now, I’m not claiming that I immediately began to apply both of those principles to my life at that very moment… or that I’ve lived them out perfectly, ever since.  Nor would I want to imply that those two novel ideas must be the definitive standard for everyone.

But, the love and wisdom behind both of those stories, those peculiar notions… in regard to being intentional, in making choices far in advance—long before any temptation might arise—there is something there that remains worthy of reflection.

And well over a decade after I first heard both of those stories, I would find the characters of Clay and Amber struggling with those very concepts—in very flawed and human ways—in my screenplay for Old Fashioned.  All because of seeds planted by someone simply sharing a story…

You have no idea of the difference YOUR story might have in the life of another.  Never underestimate how God might take even your scars and regrets and make them blossom into something beautiful.

– Rik

P.S. For the record, that “famous evangelist” was Billy Graham and the pact with his leadership was called “The Modesto Manifesto.”  I’ve never written about this before, nor personally shared my gratitude, officially.  Thank you, Reverend Graham.  Thank you…