By Kara Witherow, Editor
Those who know Bishop Richard Looney know he doesn’t take himself seriously, but he is serious about Jesus.
Well-known for his humor, Bishop Looney, who served the South Georgia Conference from 1998 until his retirement in 2000, has written a book of “holy hilarity” and inspirational stories.
“The purpose is to bring a little joy in the midst of all this darkness we’re going through these days,” he said. “I’ve always thought a little humor is helpful.”
All proceeds from the book will benefit the Foundation for Evangelism, whose mission is to promote, encourage, and provide resources for Wesleyan evangelism, inviting all people into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. Bishop Looney served as president, as Episcopal Director, and continues to serve as Episcopal Director Emeritus of the Foundation.
“The Fun of Being Looney” is an autobiography of sorts, Bishop Looney said, and the book documents the humorous stories and anecdotes of his life and 66 years in ministry.
Blessed to have served in several places where the Church is alive and active – South Georgia, North Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, England, Australia, Peru, Liberia, and Sierra Leone – amusing incidents seem to occur everywhere Bishop Looney ministers.
“I think the best humor is to laugh at yourself,” he said.
In his book, Bishop Looney recounts funny stories about appointment making, shares the joy found in relationships, and even tells a story about the time he sensed God laughed at him and how it changed his relationship with God. South Georgia readers will recognize several familiar tales.
“’The Fun of Being Looney’ is a very appropriate title,” said Dr. Don Kea, who, as superintendent of the Macon District, served for five years on South Georgia’s Cabinet with Bishop Looney. “I can testify firsthand to the humor found in this book.”
Laughter heals, said Bishop Looney, who has been entertained and amused by comedy shows during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think laughter helps preaching, too. I don’t mean telling jokes, necessarily, but seeing the humor in the religious and being able to laugh at ourselves. Most of us run from people who complain all the time and we’re attracted to people who seem to enjoy life.”
Quoting John 10:10 and John 15:11, Bishop Looney said Jesus came to give believers joy-filled lives.
“Jesus said he came to give us life and life abundant. Another time he said, ‘I tell you these things so my joy may be in you and your joy full.’”
A third-generation pastor who still preaches every Sunday at his retirement home, Bishop Looney enjoys life and people. He jokes that he’s now enjoying his fifth retirement. In addition to serving three churches and eight years as episcopal director at the Foundation for Evangelism, writing “The Fun of Being Looney” is just one more thing he’s done since he said goodbye to South Georgia 21 years ago.
The people and churches of South Georgia always remain close to his heart, though.
“South Georgia is a very special place to me,” Bishop Looney said. “The people spoiled us for 12 years.”
Find “The Fun of Being Looney” on Amazon. All proceeds will go to the Foundation for Evangelism.