The late great Rev. Grady Nutt was perhaps the first Christian humorist I recall hearing. I had the privilege of hearing him in person several times while I was in college and seminary. He was hilarious. You might remember him from the Hee-Haw television show, where he was a regular from 1979 to 1981. At the time of his death NBC had produced a pilot starring him in The Grady Nutt Show. Unfortunately, he died before the show was put into production. Rev. Nutt was killed thirty two years ago, at age 48, in a plane crash outside of Cullman, Alabama. No doubt, his Christian humor influenced my own work in that area as well as that of many others. The following is my adaptation from one of his stories.
Donedead Baptist Church had called a new pastor. Bro. Ivan Odor was a young minister fresh out of seminary. Donedead was his first experience as a pastor.
Not long after he arrived at the church, Bro Odor was faced with performing his first funeral. Funerals are one of those things that a beginning minister is never quite prepared to do. Our seminaries teach preaching, pastoral ministry, church administration, along with many other subjects but there is no class called Funerals 501. To make matters even worse, since Bro Odor was new at the church, he had not met the deceased. As soon as he heard of the member’s passing he went to visit his widow at her home. He hoped to visit with the bereaved wife to comfort and console her but also to discuss the funeral service and learn as much as possible about her husband. By the time he arrived, her yard was filled with cars. The house was already packed with family members and friends. As we do in the south, some were bringing in food and others were eating the food that had been brought in. So many well-wishers had gathered around the man’s wife that the pastor found it difficult to speak with her. She led him from room to room trying to find a quiet place of privacy where they could talk. They found people in every room of the house and others followed them wherever they went. Finally, she led him into the bathroom off of the hallway. The two went in and she locked the door behind them. She sat down on the edge of the bathtub which left the pastor only one place to sit. Somewhat red faced, he lowered the commode lid and sat down. First, the pastor spoke words of sympathy and assurance to the new widow. Then they discussed her husband’s life and what she wanted at his funeral. The young pastor was quite pleased with how things had gone. He took her by the hand and prayed for her. She rose to her feet and so did he. Then simply out of habit he turned around a flushed the commode. You should have seen the looks on the faces of family and friends in that hallway as they heard that water gurgling down that commode and the two of them emerged from the bathroom.
We should be careful not to believe everything we hear, even from a flushed commode. We should also realize that things are not always as they appear. We may easily jump to conclusions when in fact we do not have enough information to properly reach the correct destination. Sometimes what we know is not as dangerous as what we don’t know, especially when we but think we do.
Dr. Bill King is the powerful writer of the novel But You Shall Receive Power and the creator of the humorous character known as Billy Bob Bohannon. Bill has performed as Billy Bob for churches and civic groups across the nation since 2002. His first book of Billy Bob humor, No, Really, My Name is Brother Billy Bob Bohannon, was published in 2009. The fun continues in his follow-up books, My Name is Still Brother Billy Bob Bohannon and Clean Up the House, Boys, Mama Has Hired a Maid (both OakTara). Billy Bob will have you laughing at his tales, but before you know it, he’ll sneak in a lesson for life. Bill draws from his theological training and years of pulpit ministry but in a way that is not preachy.
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