Bethany House Publishers
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Sunday Morning at the Improv
2. The Prodigal Son (in the Key of F)
3. TV or Not TV: Christian Commercials We Hope We Never See
4. A Case of the Pre-Concert Chatters
5. Christianese As a Second Language
6. Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboy Fans (or, The Hafer Brothers’ Ongoing Spiritual Struggle With ‘‘The Chaplain of America’s Team’’)
7. Bulletin Blooperz
8. A Day in the Life
9. The Name of the Game Is Fame
10. Role Models or Parole Models?
11. The Rich Man’s Borrowed Clothes (Remembering Rich Mullins) Inn Crowd, Part 1
13. Longing to Be Part of the Inn Crowd, Part 2
14. The 2-for-1 Haircut
15. Making the Grad
16. Elvis Is the King? What a Hunka-Hunka Baloney!
17. The Smashed Secretary
18. Do You, Jedd, Take This Blame to Be With You Always?
19. The Wacky Morning Show Interview
20. The Contentious Christian Radio Interview
21. The Just-Plain-Cool Interview
22. Small Dog at Large (or, ‘‘The Dog Trial of the Century, Part 1’’)
23. To Err Is Human, To Forgive, Canine (or, ‘‘The Dog Trial of the Century, Part 2’’)
24. In Search of Dad’s New Tie
25. Bradd and Jedd Get Busted
26. Parenting: More Than Diapers Will Change
27. Things to Do During a Dull Sermon
28. Better Read Than Misled
Sunday Morning at the Improv
Sometimes we like to sit down with our dad and discuss the differences between our careers. He is a pastor. We are comedians/humorists (Jedd at major comedy clubs nationwide, Todd at car wash openings and “celebrity roasts” for assistant managers at local fast-food outlets).
Dad tells us that he sometimes envies the comedy club atmosphere—the energy, and the fact that you usually get lots of free popcorn. He’s often fantasized about showing up for open-mike night at a comedy club, billed as “The Reverend of Revelry” or “The Vicar of Snickers.” Dad’s fantasy got us wondering: What would church be like if it were run like a comedy club? ...
[Booming voice of head deacon/elder]
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Buffalo Baptist Church! Please keep your pew conversations low and your spirituality high, because it’s time to be holy and happy! (And please observe the two-offering minimum.)
“You all know our feature act for this morning. You’ve seen him at Wednesday Night Bible Study and the weekly Elders’ Meeting. And you’ve probably seen him mowing the church lawn in sandals, black socks, and powder-blue polyester shorts. Let’s give it up for The Minister of Mirth—The Reverend Dellllll Haaaaaaa-fer!”
[Rocking intro music by organist]
“Helloooooo, Buffalo! How is everybody doing this morning? Let me tell you, it’s good to be here. And hey, let’s give it up for Florence “Backbeat” Schneider on the organ! By the way, Florence, Elton John called. He wants his suit back! Hey, just kiddin’, Flo! I love ya! Wow, it’s great to see my four sons in the congregation today. And to think that some pastors have only ONE pair of loafers!
“Okay, then. Enough about the usual suspects. Any people here from out of town?
“Great—the family in the front row. Where are you folks from? Texas, eh. Well, let me make you feel at home: Burrrrrrp! [loud belch] Nah, really, I’m just kidding. It’s great to have you here. You know, I just got back in town myself. I was at a district meeting for the Northwestern Baptist Convention. Boy, talk about a room full of stiffs! At first I thought I’d made a mistake and gone to the Arthritis Convention! Let me tell you, these people make Al Gore look like Little Richard!
“It was interesting, though—there was another convention in town the same week. It was a gathering of the Christian Men Without Thumbs. Anyway, they took a vote and everyone agreed—Amy Grant is definitely an ‘8.’
“Hey, are you people awake? [pounds on mike] Is this thing on? Are you an audience or an oil painting? Ha-ha-ha! Don’t make me come down there and ‘smite thee’! Anyway, I’ve been reading my Bible, and how about those Israelites, huh? You know why they wandered for forty years in the wilderness? All the men were too stubborn to stop and ask for directions! Am I right, ladies? Can I get a witness? And speaking of Israelites, that Moses was an interesting character, wasn’t he? I can just imagine him arguing with his wife: ‘Honey, why must I make all the sacrifices in this family?’
“Hey, look, I see a family just sliding into the back pew. Can I get you folks anything ... like a watch?!
“I have to tell you, I love this church. It’s a lot better than the one I grew up in. What a strict, fear-filled church. They had a sign on their lawn that said ‘BEWARE OF GOD.’ You want to talk uptight? The stair railings were made of OVER-wrought iron! And those people believed in giving till it hurts. Unfortunately for our pastor, they had a very low pain tolerance. Oh, somebody stop me!
“Hey, you’ve been great! But I see it’s almost time for the elders’ meeting. You don’t want to cross those guys. They make Clint Eastwood look like Mister Rogers. This is a group of guys who never saw a horse so dead that it didn’t deserve one more good beating! Ha! Just kidding. I love you guys. Really. Thanks for helping me make money the old-fashioned way. My salary is the same as it was back in 1968!
“So, anyway, you’ve been a great congregation—thank you very much! Remember, I’m here every weekend—two shows, 8:30 and 11 a.m. Okay, I’m outta here! Good morning, everybody!”