Worldly, vulgar and often obscene, the rotund 1980's comic had been a preacher's kid who, in following his dad's Pentecostalism, became a youthful pulpit-pounding preacher himself.
But along the way Sam transformed from pulpit-pounder into anguished comic, gaining popularity by playing to his angst in comedy clubs, on TV and appearing as a screechy college professor in Rodney Dangerfield's flick, "Back to School."
The observer knows the story well—
When famous, many believed Sam had fallen from God's Grace in becoming part of Hollywood's anything-goes culture, even Sam himself, and when faced with real freedom versus the bondage of 'the church,' I can understand his shift. I've almost slipped into Hollywood's nefariousness myself, as the town is quite seductive.
So at age 38, on April 10, 1992, Sam and his new 20 year-old topless-dancer wife were driving to a club date in Laughlin, Nevada. Having forsworn drinking and drugs months before, sober Sam was hit head-on by a drunken driver.
His car smashed and head broken by the steering wheel, Sam fell out of the driver's seat onto the pavement, he being the only one hurt. His nubile wife stepped out unhurt from her side. The drunken kid who hit him was unharmed and angry at the damage. Sam's producer brother and sister-in-law, who had been following behind, rushed to Sam's aid.
Sam's hometown newspaper, California's Upland Daily Bulletin, gave a more exacting account of events than were published by the national press. I'd saved the article and reread it many times.
In it, both relatives said that when they got to Sam's side, he was staring into the sky and murmuring to someone invisible, saying, "I don't want to die. I don't want to die..," and finishing with— "But why? Okay ... okay ... okay ..." -the last okay coming softly.
He died with his brother and sister-in-law telling the press that they became believers afterward -- whatever that meant. Their story was suppressed. However, Sam's new wife, happy to be free of him, went back to stripping. And it all got me to thinking about how God watches over us His loyalists.
It was obvious that Sam had once made a salvation pact with the Son-of-God, and that despite his leaving the church and its condemning ways, and his subsequent dalliance with Hollywood's druggie elite, that he was still saved.
It was obvious, too, that Sam was on the verge of destroying either other people's faith or losing his own, and that the Son-of-God simply brought him home before that could happen.Sam did not die the anguished fearful death as those without God often do, but in bewilderment that his Savior still wanted him, acquiescing to the angels escorting him directly into heaven.
It's obvious,too, that Sam never did blaspheme God the Holy Spirit in any way, but kept Him in his secret heart, while most of Hollywood, a Sodom-and-Gomorrah town, has denied God for their own ways and are lost forever.
The observer almost lost his way when in Hollywood as well. But thankfully, the Son-of-God saw him through it safely and will take him back to heaven despite human foibles and misdeeds. Because frankly, that's why we're here -- to get all that out of us.
And as our savior faithfully escorted Sam Kinison home, so he will with you. If you at some point want it. Because, just as Sam Kinison mattered to his—our—Creator, you should know that we matter to God, too.
Here to learn what it is to be without God in order to better appreciate Him when we return, therefore, Sam's life should remind us to just leave our lives to God and don't pretend to be godly.
Then those on the cusp of returning to God will more readily follow the example -- that there shall be hope for us, no matter what our life styles.