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Payback time for misbehaving in church
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Dennis Swanberg (also known as the Big Swan) is a former preacher who is now a Christian comedian. He often tells stories about how when he was a boy, he got into trouble in church.

One of his most famous stories is about how a preacher asked in his sermon, “What shall we do with sin?” and Swanberg answered in the voice of Barney Fife, “Nip it! You got to nip it in the bud!”

But I found out that when the Big Swan’s own sons came along, it was payback time.

It seems that preacher Swanberg’s own sons got into trouble, too. Dusty Swanberg confessed to me that during Wednesday night supper at church, he and his brother would put brownies on forks and pop them up, so they would land on other tables.

Just like Jesus when he was 12 years old, Dusty had to be in his father’s house at age 12. Unlike Jesus, who went to Jerusalem when he was 12, Dusty went to First Baptist Church, West Monroe, Louisiana.

And unlike Jesus, who wondered about theology and discussed it with the elders, Dusty and his brother wondered if a paper bulletin could fly. While their father was preaching, the boys were sitting in the horseshoe balcony of the sanctuary, making paper airplanes. Then when Big Swan bowed his head to pray, the boys decided it was time to see if their handiwork was air worthy. Off they went from the balcony, and two of the planes stuck right into the back of some older ladies’ hair that was poofing up.

I’m a preacher’s kid myself, so I know how bad a PK can be. But just as Dennis Swanberg turned out well in the end, so did Dusty. Here’s a word of encouragement from the scripture for every parent: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6, KJV)

(Copyright 2012 by Bob Rogers. Email: Read this column each Friday in the Herald. Visit my blog at