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Laughlines: Bill & Gloria Gaither
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When Andy meets with long-time friends Bill and Gloria for a face-to-face chat over lunch — they manage to dish up the funny — even in a discussion about the new Homecoming Bible! But don’t worry, they’re all positively proper too with this meaty topic.

ANDY: I’m so excited — I’m going to be telling everybody that I know someone who wrote the Bible! So how did you decide which commentaries to do? How did you decide which ones you were going to write and which ones you were going to assign to other people?

GLORIA: We didn’t assign. We drove the editorial staff crazy because we just said to the artists, “Would you write some real-life experiences here? If the Bible has crossed your trail, just tell us that.” There is something wonderful about what happened as we did this Bible. Mixed in are some things that have outlived us all, which help us. And we find that for all of us who are singers, we go to old hymns and great lyrics. We sing, “So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross.” We all have to find somebody smarter than us...

BILL: Than we.

GLORIA: Than we, smarter than we ...

ANDY: Ha! This is what happens when two English teachers marry each other!

GLORIA: …to inform our daily lives. So this is not a Bible of authorities that tell us what we should think. This is a Bible full of real people confessing how the Bible has informed a very regular, everyday decision.

ANDY: I have a question that I think a lot of us would like to hear the answer to — Gloria, if you could choose one thing that Bill has done professionally, one thing that he has written or created that you are most proud of, what would it be? And Bill, when you look at Gloria’s body of work, is there one thing ...

BILL: I am glad you didn’t say Gloria’s body.

ANDY: (laughing) You know what I’m saying! (And I’ll be the funny one if you don’t mind… ) I’m always amazed because I watch what happens around you and I listen to the words when I’m with you, and I do have an inkling of what it feels like when the Holy Spirit comes down and puts something in you…. But to see that happen over and over again in your lives, I’m curious what you think about each other. What do you think is his best and what do you think is her best?

GLORIA: Bill’s greatest gift — he calls it programming — but it’s way more than that. He is able to take what any one artist does and put it in a platinum setting so that we are all better together than we are separately. He weaves a whole evening that turns out to be an experience. And it doesn’t work very well with people who want to be stars.

ANDY: The only person I can compare Bill to is Johnny Carson. Carson was not the funniest comedian ever, but he made everyone else so much better. Nobody has filled that hole on television since he has been gone. So I am saying that I agree. And it’s amazing that you would pick that gift rather than a particular song.

GLORIA: It’s better than a song. And you know, he is a good hook writer for a song.

BILL: You know what, I’m going to go out and buy a ticket and the next time I’m in town, I’m going to go see me!

ANDY: (laughing) You should, you should. So what about Gloria, Bill?

BILL: She really has a genius. I’ll come in with all kinds of ideas and I’m all over the place. Gloria has the great ability of focusing the idea. A songwriter, in three or four minutes, has to have an idea and hone it down to just a few words. The ability to do that is a powerful thing, and that is Gloria’s gift.

Gloria and I are totally overwhelmed by this — all we wanted to do was write a little song. But to be honored like this, for Thomas Nelson to take their resources and say, “This is going to be our major project for this year”…. I asked Gloria, “Honey, in your wildest dreams, did you ever think that we would be in a place like this?” To which she said, “Honey, you were never in my wildest dreams.”

ANDY: (laughing)