horses in the barn

Cowboys and Joy Bells

Cowboys have a tendency sometimes to be a bit less religious than civilians. Oh, I don’t mean they aren’t spiritual, it’s just that they may not be that into being part of a group, particularly one that meets inside a building, under a roof. That was the case one year during my time in college when Bill and Charlie Kimball urged me to go with them to highlands Baptist church One Sunday night to hear Dr. Kyle Yates. Apparently he was pretty important to them so I caved in and went.

After a couple of hymns and the usual church liturgy a tall man, and I mean probably six foot five, stood up at the pulpit. He had a head full of snow-white hair and a grin as wide as the prairie. He introduced himself as Kyle Yates and went on to describe a time in his younger years as a Hebrew translator for the revised standard version of the Bible. He had finished a translation of a passage that used a phrase he could only figure meant “joy bells.” There were something like thirty seven places in the chapter where “joy bells” were referred to. Well, the chief editor told him that there couldn’t be that many “joy bells” and he’d have to edit some of them out, say it a different way. He said “now, many years later I have to tell you I regret having lost that battle. I believe now more than ever we desperately need those joy bells, all of them we can get. “And he opened his six foot wingspan of arms and grinned and almost shouted “let the joy bells ring!”

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