Saturday, June 30, 2007

One Life Touched . . .

Jeannette Clift George, that wonderful actress who was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her performance as Corrie ten Boom in The Hiding Place, has written a delightful endorsement of My Father Was a Gangster: The Jim Vaus Story. . . .

"Like a giant sized Peter Pan, the memory of Jim Vaus will joyfully shadow the future. I am delighted that there is to be a new book about him. I recommend it as the continuing of his work, his echoing story deserves this generation’s full attention. The time I spent with Jim was short but its effect on my life will be long lasting. I first met him when he spoke to a group of Christians active in the business of New York City Theater. He was a champion of Godly newness and our stumbling beginnings responded to the certainty of this wise man who dared to begin and accomplish a new ministry. That ministry would shake up the world’s acceptance of the tawdriness of misguided young people and offer instead the surprising validity of hope. I returned to Houston to work as an actress in the Alley Theater and started a small group Bible study within Houston’s theater community. I asked Jim to come to Houston to speak to a gathering of that group in my home and invited a few guests. Jim’s name and the impact of his work brought a crowd to my house that immediately out distanced the amount of food I had prepared. Jim joined me in the kitchen and laughed at my dilemma as I divided the considered portions and literally watered the cups of soup. My living room was crowded and no comfortable chair was left for our guest of honor. He perched awkwardly on the arm of an undersized sofa and spoke to a wide-eyed group of under fed guests who never noticed the scant service in the midst of the wonderment of Jim’s abundant words. Later I realized how appropriate that evening was. Jim was seldom confined within the expectations of the ordinary and much of his work was spent in undersized accommodations serving those whom society had underfed. God had a special place for Jim. No other ministry served as Jim’s did and in a manner seldom equaled, Jim did not require agreement or fellowship; with or without it . . . he served in obedience to God . . . and that ministering service had and still has performance.

"Many years have passed since that season of my life. I have become the Artistic Director of a Christian Theater that began at a time when I knew no similar ministry offering the pattern of fellowship and scant recognition of its purpose. Now, in our 40th season I see my work as an outcropping of what I learned from Jim: when God calls unto a new ministry we dare not wait for the future to catch up with us. God had a word for Jim: authenticity. I am grateful for the men and women who have illustrated that word in my life. It is a demanding word. Jim was authentic in his faith, authentic in his friendship, authentic in his love for his family, authentic in his humor, authentic in his sorrows and authentic in his joy. That authenticity defined his ministry and reflected the One absolute God in Whom we can trust absolutely."

Jeannette Clift George

Founder & Artistic Director

A.D. Players

Houston, Texas

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