Laughter & Friendship
edited: Friday, September 08, 2006
By Danny R. Von Kanel
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Sunday, September 03, 2006
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My interim pastor has made me laugh more the last two years of my life than any other time. This article is about him!
Laughter and Friendship
By: Danny Von Kanel
Preachers come and preachers go. Nothing prepared me for the laughter Jim Bain brought when he exploded into my life as interim pastor. Never before had I experienced a pastor like him. Never before had I chuckled so much.
On a lazy Sunday morning I meandered across the street to our church offices. I assumed Jim was in his office reviewing Sunday sermons. True to form he was … only not as I had envisioned. Hanging around his ears were rubber bands suspended to his glasses. Restraining my laughter lasted momentarily as roving eyes glimpsed more rubber bands around missing cuff-link sleeves. As I laughed, he laugh.
“Brother Danny, you wouldn’t have some old cuff-links I could borrow? I left mine in Baton Rouge.”
Another Sunday morning after our early service I followed Jim across the street to our offices, I noticed he was limping and asked:
“Jim, why are you limping?” “I saved a kid from a fire” he said.
Puzzled and not sure I understood, I questioned, “You did what?”
“I saved a kid from a fire.”
Then, just as quickly as his response, he added, “Well, that’s better than telling you what really happened to me. I rolled over in the bed and hurt myself.”
I was sitting on the front pew one Sunday morning next to Jim when he leaned over and asked me:
“Bro. Danny, do you have one of those score cards?”
“Score cards’, I said. “You mean, bulletins?”
“Yea, one of those score cards.”
Of all my 28 years in ministry I have never had a bulletin called a score card. Now, I find myself looking for score cards instead of bulletins. Who would have ever thought?
This 70 year-old former Mississippi State quarterback and giant in the faith uses humor to bring spice to lives, nudge congregants to deeper commitment, and to signal his deep abiding friendship. His messages resonate with funny stories followed by poignant truth.
Jim tells the story of when a former Louisiana State University player came up to him and said, “Preacher Jim, you made a hero out of me.”
Jim said, “When did I do that?”
Refreshing his memory, the player said, “You know, the game Mississippi State played us and you quarterbacked.”
Jim said to us that it all came rushing back.
“We were near the LSU goal line and ready to score -- winning the game. I called an option play to my right. The play went as planned and I lateraled the most perfect throw of my career … right into the hands of this LSU tight end who ran it the other way for a touchdown.” Waiting to our laughter subsided, Jim brought home the truth of scripture: when we least expect it, Satan is lurking ready to capitalize on our mistakes.
I told Jim one Sunday that He was such a good preacher that he ought to be teaching these young preachers how to preach. I particularly pointed out his use of humor. Jim said, You know, Brother Danny, I use more humor now than I use to. The older I get I find it is more difficult to keep all ages interested. Humorous stories help people stay connected.”
Oh, how true .
Yet Jim’s humor has done much more than make me laugh and keep me listening. It welded a friendship. People, couples, and families who laugh regularly together, stay together. Can you imagine friends never chuckling in concert? Neither can I. The more I laugh with Jim the more I can cry, be transparent, and be myself around him -- all true characteristics of genuine friends.