State Auditor shows her funny side

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 3, 2005

Beth Chapman: a hometown girl, wife and mother, successful businesswoman, author and the auditor for the State of Alabama.

And there’s another accomplishment to add to her list: Beth Chapman, stand up comedian.

Over 100 senior adults from Baptist churches across the Butler Association came together Thursday night at Southside Baptist Church for their quarterly meeting.

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It proved to be an evening of food, fellowship, song – and a chance to get their funny bones tickled by the versatile Chapman, who grew up attending the church.

A little holy humor

She gently roasted many of her former classmates, Sunday School teachers and camp counselors during her talk.

Chapman poked fun at denominations, including her fellow Baptists (&uot;I’ve been a Baptist all my life and, of course, we aren’t allowed to do anything fun – so we have to laugh from time to time to get a little relief&uot;). She ribbed her mom, Joanne Killough (&uot;I will never forget the time my saintly mother was too busy to help me with a scripture quote and told me to look it up in the Book of Paul…yes, Paul.&uot;)

Chapman also reminded her appreciative audience humor is very much a part of the Bible.

&uot;After all, think about the time Jesus forced the demons out of someone and into those pigs and they all ran off a cliff – why, it’s the first recorded case of deviled ham,&uot; Chapman said.

The Greenville native, who performed stand up comedy a decade ago and has opened for Jeff Foxworthy, says she is trying to once again fit some comedy routines into her current busy schedule.

Her current job overseeing the state’s monies gives her plenty of inspiration.

&uot;Remember, I work at the State Capitol…it’s always hysterical, so I have more material than ever,&uot; she quipped.

While Chapman says she has no plans to run for governor, she did say she’d make a few changes if elected to that office.

&uot;I’d let people put the Ten Commandments wherever they want to… you could pray without ceasing in public schools,&uot; she said.

&uot;And for my inauguration, we’d have a Baptist preacher – not (Southside pastor) Brother Herbert (Brown), because he talks too long. We’d take up a love offering, sing all stanzas of ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘Victory In Jesus’ and have covered dishes with dinner on the grounds. And everybody would go home saved…do I have an amen?&uot;

On a more serious note, Chapman shared her experiences getting to know the late gospel singer Vestal Goodman and her family. Chapman has written a devotional book about Vestal as seen through the eyes of her sister, Bobbie.

&uot;Vestal was a big, imposing woman and she had a big faith. She broke her leg and they thought they would have to cancel the concert, but she said, ‘No.’ You see, she was busy praying for healing,&uot; said Chapman.

&uot;Vestal talked them into cutting that cast off and do you know, she put on those four-inch heels of hers and wobbled right out on stage and performed. Vestal always said, ‘If you don’t believe in God’s healing, don’t worry about it – because it isn’t going to happen anyway,’&uot; Chapman said.

She also spoke of how her first book, &uot;The Power of Patriotism&uot;, was written in only five hours. &uot;You don’t write a book in five hours, so I would say it was definitely God-inspired…my writing is a ministry for me, it’s a message,&uot; Chapman, who has long had a desire to &uot;impact the world,&uot; said.

Being an encourager

Chapman also shared the spotlight that night with two youngsters, Paula and William Tidwell, who are currently participants in the state 4-H Speakers Program. The two gave well-received speeches on the real meaning of a hero and how to create a positive ripple effect.

&uot;I try to help encourage young people like William and Paula – they call it ‘mentoring’ but I think it’s really just being a friend,&uot; Chapman said.

She fondly recalled youth rallies, singing competitions and trips to Shocco Springs.

&uot;The encouragement I got from some of you here today means so much…some of you think you are not needed anymore but there is always a place for you to serve,&uot; said Chapman. Chapman later signed copies of both of her books for those in attendance.

Long-time Senior Coordinator Pearl Horn said she would be leaving her position that night and was pleased she had the opportunity to both start and end her job &uot;right here at Southside.&uot;

The Butler Baptist Association seniors will meet again on September 1 at 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church.