David Graybeal Has Published a Book: Faith in the West Wing

by Billy Chandler

Rev. David Graybeal has just published a book called Faith in the West Wing that deals specifically with the presidency of Jed Bartlet. Do you not remember that U.S. President?

Jed Bartlet was the fictional president on the television show West Wing that ran on NBC from 1999 through 2006. David says he watched the show during the time he was finishing up seminary at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and he was struck by the fact that in the very first episode of the very first season, Martin Sheen’s dialogue as President Bartlet included a verse from the Bible: “‘I am the Lord your God. Thou shalt worship no other god before me.’ Boy, those were the days, huh?”

As he continued to watch the show he began to take notes about all the places where matters of faith factored into the story line. He thought it might make a good topic for a book one day.

He finished seminary, was ordained a minister in the United Methodist Church, and has been serving churches in eastern Tennessee as well as southwestern England since 2000. His kids are older now and he decided this was the time to re-watch the show, gather up those old notes, and write the book he’s had on the back burner for years.

The book is a collection of essays on a variety of topics touched on in the television show. David says he was pleased that the show dealt with matters of faith seriously. And some episodes of the show deal with faith in a less obvious manner; one of his favorite episodes is “In Excelsis Deo” where the death of a homeless veteran seems to mirror the story of Christ coming to the world as person without a permanent home.

David says he ends the book with an essay on forgiveness, which is a theme he sees come up repeatedly in the series.

David says the lesson from E&H he carries with him most is the Ampersand…or most specifically “the power and the strength of the ‘and,’” – bringing together people and ideas in a world that tends to be too much either-or. That’s one of the strengths of the show. I always try to think about using AND to bring folks together and seeing the best in all ideas.”

“It’s a celebration of thoughtful faith that can also be an inspiration to meaningful public service. Thoughtful faith can make a difference in our lives.”

Don’t miss his “talk and walk” homage to the West Wing on his Facebook page! And enjoy a fun conversation with him on the Duck Pond Wall podcast.

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2505-mollie-gore-on-the-evolving-energy-industry"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,332,2400,2732/12148_Gore_2022.rev.1663783764.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,332,2400,2732/12148_Gore_2022.rev.1663783764.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,332,2400,2732/12148_Gore_2022.rev.1663783764.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,332,2400,2732/12148_Gore_2022.rev.1663783764.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,332,2400,2732/12148_Gore_2022.rev.1663783764.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,332,2400,2732/12148_Gore_2022.rev.1663783764.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,332,2400,2732/12148_Gore_2022.rev.1663783764.jpg" alt="Mollie Rorrer Gore E&H Class of 1984" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,332,2400,2732/12148_Gore_2022.rev.1663783764.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,332,2400,2732/12148_Gore_2022.rev.1663783764.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2400" data-max-h="2400" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2505-mollie-gore-on-the-evolving-energy-industry">Mollie Gore on the Evolving Energy Industry</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Mollie Rorrer Gore feels hopeful about the future of energy. <a href="/live/news/2505-mollie-gore-on-the-evolving-energy-industry" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/572-class-notes-updated-fall-2018"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/454,1152,2310,3008/5629_Debbie_Robinson.rev.1541624931.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/454,1152,2310,3008/5629_Debbie_Robinson.rev.1541624931.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/454,1152,2310,3008/5629_Debbie_Robinson.rev.1541624931.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/454,1152,2310,3008/5629_Debbie_Robinson.rev.1541624931.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/454,1152,2310,3008/5629_Debbie_Robinson.rev.1541624931.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/454,1152,2310,3008/5629_Debbie_Robinson.rev.1541624931.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/454,1152,2310,3008/5629_Debbie_Robinson.rev.1541624931.jpg" alt="Debbie Robinson, son Kristopher, and Eve Solomon during Homecoming 2018." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/454,1152,2310,3008/5629_Debbie_Robinson.rev.1541624931.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/454,1152,2310,3008/5629_Debbie_Robinson.rev.1541624931.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1856" data-max-h="1856" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/572-class-notes-updated-fall-2018">Class Notes, Updated Fall 2018</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Keep up with news of your fellow alumni <a href="/live/news/572-class-notes-updated-fall-2018" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1696-dr-miriam-macfarlan-herin-is-shy-no-more"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,600,600/9592_miriam.rev.1616516796.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,600,600/9592_miriam.rev.1616516796.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,600,600/9592_miriam.rev.1616516796.jpg" alt="Dr. Miriam Macfarlan Herin, Emory & Henry Class of 1963" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="600" data-max-h="600" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1696-dr-miriam-macfarlan-herin-is-shy-no-more">Dr. Miriam Macfarlan Herin is Shy No More</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://miriamherin.com/meet-miriam-herin/">Dr. Miriam Macfarlan Herin</a></strong></span> gained more than a degree at Emory & Henry; and her life lessons paired magically with her education to make her a celebrated author. <a href="/live/news/1696-dr-miriam-macfarlan-herin-is-shy-no-more" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/3368-dr-jack-wells-selected-by-eamph-alumni-association"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/294,243,2233,2182/15492_IMG_1026_1.rev.1710771727.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/294,243,2233,2182/15492_IMG_1026_1.rev.1710771727.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/294,243,2233,2182/15492_IMG_1026_1.rev.1710771727.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/294,243,2233,2182/15492_IMG_1026_1.rev.1710771727.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/294,243,2233,2182/15492_IMG_1026_1.rev.1710771727.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/294,243,2233,2182/15492_IMG_1026_1.rev.1710771727.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/294,243,2233,2182/15492_IMG_1026_1.rev.1710771727.jpg" alt="Man smiling" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/294,243,2233,2182/15492_IMG_1026_1.rev.1710771727.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/294,243,2233,2182/15492_IMG_1026_1.rev.1710771727.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1939" data-max-h="1939" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/3368-dr-jack-wells-selected-by-eamph-alumni-association">Dr. Jack Wells Selected by E&H Alumni Association for Outstanding Faculty Award</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> Dr. Jack Wells is the 2024 recipient of the E&H Alumni Association’s James A. Davis Faculty Award.</p><a href="/live/news/3368-dr-jack-wells-selected-by-eamph-alumni-association" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2374-austen-bells-busy-summer-is-leading-to-an-even"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/30,204,796,970/11406_image.rev.1655252559.png 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/30,204,796,970/11406_image.rev.1655252559.png 2x"/> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/30,204,796,970/11406_image.rev.1655252559.png 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/30,204,796,970/11406_image.rev.1655252559.png 2x"/> <source type="image/png" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/30,204,796,970/11406_image.rev.1655252559.png 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/30,204,796,970/11406_image.rev.1655252559.png 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/30,204,796,970/11406_image.rev.1655252559.png" alt="Austen Bell Emory & Henry Class of 2020" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/30,204,796,970/11406_image.rev.1655252559.png 2x" data-max-w="766" data-max-h="766" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2374-austen-bells-busy-summer-is-leading-to-an-even">Austen Bell’s Busy Summer is Leading to an Even Busier Career</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Austen is spending the summer of 2022 in Emory, but there are bigger goals on the horizon.</span></p><a href="/live/news/2374-austen-bells-busy-summer-is-leading-to-an-even" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>