|The Shreveport Times
Holy laughter: Christian comedienne finds humor in lifeNovember 27, 2006
By Diane Haag
They tell similar jokes about kids, body image and the difference between men and women.
the laughter, you might not even know what was different about Jinny Henson's five-minute guest spot at The Funny Bone Comedy
It was clean. No words inappropriate for a family newspaper. Subject matter that wouldn't require
"The Talk" with your kids. Just funny observations about life.
Henson bills herself as a Christian comedienne as well
as "preacher's wife, nutty blonde, soccer mom." Wearing trendy, flowy skirts and multi-layered tops, the native Texan moves
easily between serious discussions of faith and laughing at the human part of church.
She recently moved to Shreveport
with her husband, John, the new associate pastor for emerging ministries at First Baptist Church in Shreveport, and their
two children and is hoping to share her gift with northwest Louisiana.
"We all need a good laugh," she said. "We live
in a tumultuous time with war and terror and the price of gasoline."
Her comedy career began in middle school when
she started doing impersonations. Eventually, she became an regular at the annual church camp talent show with a recap of
all the events of the week.
A youth minister told her she could make money as a comedian, but she didn't see how.
weren't as open to comedy then," she said. "People told me God had a plan for my life, but I had no idea what God could do."
attended Baylor University and then Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where she met her husband, which was the next
surprise. To her, a pastor's wife played the piano and supervised the church dinners.
"I was a crazy, bungee-jumping
girl," she said. "Then I met him and thought, there's the greatest guy and he's going to be a pastor."
seem to fit in with her plans, but she couldn't say no to him.
"Every church I've been in, I've had a chance to serve
where my gifts are."
She sees the work as a ministry of encouragement in a world where sitting still is a rarity and
laughter is sometimes rarer. Most of her work is done in churches, particularly women's events. She leads retreats, speaks
to moms' groups or women's groups.
"It seems like a lot of people need encouragement," she said. "Life is hard, especially
for women trying to fit everything in and not robbing their children and not robbing work. People are balancing so many things."
she spoke to the WEE Moms group at First Baptist, which is made up of moms of preschoolers.
"She was awesome," said
Jen Hutchings, assistant director of WEE. "She read scripture and gave meaning in the most hilarious way."
As the women
left, Hutchings could see them visibly refreshed.
Henson's favorite subjects are the things of everyday life everyone
can relate to.
"That's what's funny is when someone verbalizes something you see," she said.
Raising kids in
a fast-paced world gives her tons of material, she said: "You can't lie to them anymore "" they'll Google it."
confronts things like the relief some moms feel when their kids go back to school without shame.
And unlike many preacher's
wives, who often are the subject of sermon anecdotes, Henson has a chance to get back at her husband, often incorporating
him into her bits.
"John obviously has a great sense of humor," she said. "I couldn't do this without a supportive
spouse -- and lots of coffee."
Occasionally she plays at secular comedy clubs too, such as The Addison Improv and Houston
Improv in Texas, where they held Christian comedy nights.
"Clubs are an interesting gig," she said. "They're a good
way to stretch yourself. When you're in a church, they're pretty affirming, but a club crowd is sometimes not as kind."
in church environments she does sometimes talk about church, but not always. Denominational differences sometimes mean the
jokes don't quite work.
She does see God having a sense of humor.
"How many times have you told God what you're
not going to do?" only to find that happening.
She does wish tt there was more evidence of Jesus laughing in the Bible.
Looking at the disciples, she is sure he must have laughed. And it was important enough to make it to the Beatitudes: "Blessed
are you who weep now, for you will laugh."
Through her comedic twist on her stories and the stories of the Bible, her
goal is very serious: to remind people they are not alone.
"Faith is a worthwhile thing," she said. "We all struggle,
but God is ultimately there."
As she settles into Shreveport, she looks forward to trying her first fried Oreos and
getting to know the various churches here.
"Churches need this," Hutchings said. "I hope churches grab onto her. They
just need to laugh and have a sense of humor about life."
November 27, 2006
4-21-10 Article in The Shreveport Times:
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