We all have heroes in this world -- some are big Hollywood actors, a favourite sports star, musicians, inventors, or even people from a bygone era. The chances are high that we will never get to personally meet any of our heroes. If you are lucky enough to meet them, the best you might walk away with is a picture and an autograph; you rarely get the chance have a meaningful and lasting exchange with them. Meeting your hero can also be a risky proposition. We all know people who idolized someone and finally got to meet them — only to be thoroughly disappointed with their attitude.
Well, I am truly one of the luckiest people in the world. Not only have I met one of my heroes, but I got to spend quality time with him, which exceeded any expectation I had of him, and now I am truly fortunate to call him a friend, a brother in Christ, and my boss. I am, of course, talking about Glenn Beck.
In this crazy world, it is has become increasingly popular to attack those who disagree with you. I have witnessed attacks on Glenn for years from all sides. I have seen him mocked for loving America, insulted for standing for principles and threatened for not playing the establishment game of power and winning -- not to mention the mocking he has withstood for his religion.
I, for one, cannot be silent anymore. I wanted to set the record straight about the man I know personally -- for anyone who still has a mind open enough to hear it.
Glenn, the man
Last January I was stateside doing some speaking engagements, and I happened to be in Dallas. I was hoping to stop by, see the studio, see how things work, meet and have a conversation with Glenn, and then go on my way. I got so much more than that - I was blessed to be able to spend several days in the office and meet some amazing people.
I still remember meeting Glenn.
I was sitting out on the sofa between the two main offices, and I was told he called for me to go into his office. Full disclosure: I am not a very touchy-feely person. With the exception of my mother, I can count on my hands how many people I have hugged in my life (and vast majority of them are not men!). I walked into his office only to be greeted by a truly sincere hug. Glenn just has this aura about him: he believes he's just a regular guy and he makes you feel right at home. After a few short words, he decided to give me a tour of the soundstage, brings me into his oval office set (which was NOT intimidating at all!) and spent 15 minutes talking with me about America. To my amazement, he then invited me to come on radio and TV to talk about things. Little did I know, the best was yet to come.
After being around the offices for a few days, I honestly felt so at home that I never wanted to leave. It is a feeling I have never had before and not one I have had since. A few days into the visit I felt confidence enough to be a bit cheeky, so I decided to push my luck with Glenn. I had been shown amazing pieces of history during the visit, but there was only one thing I really wanted to see and possibly hold – Washington's compass. I had to see if the groove / indent was real (it is!), so I asked. Sadly he did not have it in the office and with anyone else, that could have been the end of the story.
To my amazement, he graciously arranged to take some time out of his crazy schedule to meet me on a Saturday and show me the compass. I was lucky -- several days later he gave it to Ted Cruz in Iowa. After showing me a number of other artefacts in history from Walt Disney to Abraham Lincoln to World War 2, I got up to leave, and he gave me a gift that hangs proudly on my wall today – An Appeal to Heaven Flag.
Glenn the businessman
There are many differences between America and a Socialist Utopia like Ireland, which is where I live. One of those differences revolves around businesses and how society views them. Historically, America has always been proud of its innovators and dreamers -- your culture is about building the future and not tearing society down to be “fair."
Glenn could have chosen the easy path in life and made a LOT of money doing so. He could have focused exclusively on creating content for both his radio and TV shows and made that his contribution to society. If he did that, or even just played the game, how much do you think he would be worth now?
Instead, he chose the difficult path. On top of his own shows, he created GBTV which is now TheBlaze, where he has made an impact sharing stories and reporting the news of the day and has created a platform to help find new and current media stars to build a brighter tomorrow. Look at his radio division, and you can clearly see the talent from different backgrounds – Doc Thompson, Pat & Stu, Mike Opelka, Chris Salcedo and Lawrence Jones — to name a few. His podcast division could be the first line of an old Irish joke – A Jew, a Muslim and a Mormon lady walk into a bar. Heck, in one of his weaker moments he even hired a crazy Irish guy to join the team – what quota do I fill?
Both GBTV and TheBlaze were revolutionary ideas, way ahead of the curve; so much so that today it is “normal" to watch programmes like TheBlaze, Netflix or even sporting events on our phones and now plenty of companies have followed that example and business model.
Glenn and Mercury One
Scriptures tells us time and time again, that we shall know them by their fruits. We can see some of the fruits above, but easily the greatest fruit Glenn Beck & TheBlaze have produced is a culture among his audience of stewardship and charity through Mercury One. This charity may be young in age, but it already has an impressive list of achievements, including rescuing over 6000 Christians from the Middle East, over 500 children from child sex slavery with OUR (Operation Underground Railroad) Rescue and other charitable funds for military, the police, the Jewish people, kids at the border and countless other disaster-related response efforts.
Sadly, today many on BOTH sides of the aisle seek to dehumanize the individual; to see nothing more than a set of beliefs or a label. There are some who will read this and other stories about Glenn Beck, and will view him as a right winger, as Never Trump, as a Conservative or any of the other endless other political labels we use to describe someone we love or hate.
I have written this piece to highlight the man behind the labels – a man who is kind, caring, puts others first, is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about America; a man who has made an incredible difference in society thru innovation and stewardship.
Regardless of your political beliefs, surely that is something we can celebrate, and be inspired to follow his example.
"What unites us is far greater than what divides us" -- John F. Kennedy
Listen to episodes of “Freedom's Disciple" with Jonathon Dunne.