I was ordained on 5/8/77.
I have not spent Mother's Day with my mom since.
And someday, like Marius, I will weep, "There's a grief that can't be spoken...a pain goes on and on..."
Fortunately, my relationships with mom, dad, and sister were restored to His intent about two decades ago.
I'm not saying it was ever really that bad; but it wasn't what He intended until I was regenerated.
Yes, it happened after ordination.
That's a hint to the problem as well as promise for the mainline.
A friend who also happens to be a clergyman went home to preside at his mom's memorial service.
He was encouraged by his parish board; but he didn't take kindly when one of the irregulars reminded, "Be sure to get back on Wednesday night for the sacristy guild meeting."
I can't count the times when I've been told to spend more time with my family; and then reminded about meetings demanding my attendance every night of the week.
Come to think of it, I can't recall spending any holiday with my parents or sister since 5/8/77.
I'm not complaining.
I knew what I was getting into when my pastor, The Rev. Dr. Harold F. Mante, warned, "If you'd like to know what it's like to be pastor, put on a deerskin and go walking through the woods on the first day of hunting season. But, son, if you're called, you may as well do it because you'll regret it if you don't. It's like church members who feel guilty about not tithing. They'll feel guilty until they're obedient. Same with you, Bob. He catches up with all of us sooner or later."
He directed my attention to Matthew 10 and John 10.
He always had good advice for me; and I've also remembered a special warning, "Don't learn how to use the ditto machine."
Think about it.
By the way, he'd often say, "Think about it..."
So I do; and it's a continuing inspiration for these KDs.
KDs aren't always right - I make lots of mistakes - but, at least, they cause me and an occasional subscriber to think about what it means to be His.
Maybe that's why I've softened to HRC, BHO, and JM.
It's probably the, uh, Christian thing to do.
My first mentor also liked to say, "Blessings on you!...Keep the faith!"
"Blessings on you" was his way of saying he was hoping and praying and wanting His best for us even though we don't deserve it.
"Keep the faith" was his way of saying to talk, walk, and look like His even when you're in the sale line at Wal-Mart or think nobody's watching or listening while you're saying something ugly about one of His children.
He was a blessing to me and a guide to keeping the faith.
I like to ask, "Are you psyched?"
Lots of folks ask, "For what?"
That saddens me.
Some folks just don't get it, uh, I mean, Him.
Go back to what Dr. Mante liked to say.
I've got a friend who gets mad at me whenever I pick on clergy.
He's a Methodist.
I do pick on clergy a lot; especially the ones who punctuate prayers with Jesus every now and then except when they don't want to offend non-believers because they believe it's O.K. to insult God in favor of non-believers and forget to mention Him at meetings or when it comes to morality or as folks face eternity.
Yeah, I'm so obnoxious.
I've got a friend who gets mad at me whenever I don't pick on clergy and say things like I said in the 5th section of this KD.
He's a Presbyterian.
I don't pick on clergy when they're hurting; even if they're at etiology's core.
Yeah, I'm a wimp.
A homiletics professor who got it from his homiletics professor said something to our introduction to homiletics class which I repeat for my homiletics classes: "Preaching/pastoring which is faithful to Jesus and Holy Scripture comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable."
Of course, the latter doesn't do much for job security and getting 12Gs.
That's why clergy need to remember who is really employing 'em.
See Revelation 2-3.
Now putting down your copy of Jonathan L. Seagull...
Salt spices or stings.
It depends on the need.
Remember that Baptist who sent GGGGGGGGGGGG to me?
Well, I got an anonymous letter with a Starbucks gift card: "Pastor Bob and Under-compensated Author, I was going to sign this since you dislike anonymous correspondence, but I find it more fun! And don't stop sending out those KDs. Enjoy!"
If this is the only way to get those 12Gs, I do "don't like" anonymous benefactors; and I don't want anyone to feel guilty, uh, unnecessarily.
So, uh, go ahead and send it if you've got because I don't want anyone feeling guilty at my expense.
We're about to launch a big expansion which will cost, I guess, under 3 million.
While that's pocket change for you folks in California, Florida, New Jersey, and North Carolina, it's a bigger deal out here.
What's wrong with you subscribers in California, Florida, New Jersey, and North Carolina?
Go back to the preceding section.
I've done building programs before.
The faithful give without much fanfare.
Then there are the folks who come up with lame rationalizations of why they're against it which is just a smokescreen for being too cheap, uh, I mean, uh, whatever, uh, go back to, uh, uh, uh...
I remember the guy who left the church because of some reason invented to cover up the fact that he didn't want to or couldn't afford to participate in the project. Whenever I saw him after that, he could never look me in the eyes.
That's what lying does.
So I told our folks back on Easter Day (go to www.belvpresbyterian.org for the whole deal) that it's O.K. if you can't afford to give to the project because you're barely making ends meet in your primary obligations to your children or something; but just don't come up with some stupid story about being upset about something stupid to cover up being cheap and unfaithful.
Getting back to 5/8/77, I'm as surprised as some of those who hate me more than I deserve and like me almost as much as my mom that I'm still in this gig.
I've tried real hard to love Him by loving like Him.
Except for some sinful detours along the way which weren't as bad as some advertised or as innocuous as some pretended, I've lived and ministered by the blessing of Psalm 91:14-16.
I attribute the good to the prayers, counsel, and benevolence of Him, His, mom, dad, sister, Dr. Mante, and...
I accept full responsibility for the bad.
Anyway, I love you, Mom!!!
I'll be thinking of you on 5/11/08.
I am and will be always thinking of you.
Blessings and Love!