Saturday, August 30, 2008

August 30, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Golf is a metaphor for life; and if my publishers would have been a little more creative in their marketing, Golf in the Real Kingdom (2000) would have precluded the need for me to beg to get out of debt.

Be that as it could be, life as well as golf requires adjustments; for it's long irons one day and then hybrids the next and then...

JM learned adjustments are necessary in politics; and his choice for VP proves he's learned his lessons well.


When the euphemistically put donkeys picked BHO for their, uh, race to the White House and heralded he has ended waiting for the parousia - Get a load of the Greek god stage! - and then coupled him with the way lefter serial plagiarist from the dinky state next to the big ones on the right coast, I predicted - and I may be wrong though I wouldn't have predicted it if I thought I am - JM's win on 11/4 will make RR's trouncing of JC look like a cliffhanger.

Actually, I've been saying JM wins since the inaugural KD (2/28/08).

Here's the sociopolitical reality without prejudice:

JM is awful and white.

BHO is awful and black.

JM's running mate is hot.

BHO's running mate is a retread who never came close
to a shot at the White House on his own; thoroughly
rejected by his own party after repeated runs.

JM will win because there's a lot of racism remaining in America and BHO has nutballs for friends, an astonishing record of accomplishing nothing in the Illinois Legislature and Congress, the most-left-in-the-Senate voting record, and vacuous eloquence; which, by the way, is why most Presbyterian pastors identify with him.


Speaking of Sarah, I dated her when I was a lifeguard in the Poconos.

Her parents owned an Italian restaurant if you know what I mean.

She brought Bob Seger's Night Moves alive for me.


Now to JM's running mate who is not the same Sarah, I've always said the first female or minority President will have traditional American values.

SP is an evolved soccer mom with five children, has a union card-carrying husband, young (44 which is kinda symbolic in a Biblical way proving messianic claims can be claimed by both sides now), hot (Alaska bumper sticker: "Coldest State! Hottest Governor!"), just gave birth in April to a Down Syndrome boy instead of joining the lead, uh, donkey who says some babies are punishment for mistakes/misfortunes and can be murdered even after birth, has a son who deploys for Iraq in a few weeks, and has made more decisions in two years as Alaska's chief executive than BHO has in his entire political career and, uh, dreams.

And she's a gun-toting athlete who drives a snowmobile!

And she inhaled!



She made her way to the top without stops in Hyannis or withdrawals from the Heinz fortune.


Now go back to the first KD.

When they start counting, it's gonna make Dukakis look viable.

Going back to the first sentence of the fourth section, she will be my President because I'm not voting for JM or BHO.


Getting back to golf, do you know why politicians like golf?

They're always working on improving their lies.

Do you know why they don't like golf?

They're always trapped by their lies sooner or later.


Gotta go.

I've got something in my eye.


Blessings and Love!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

August 28, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


If Satan were their party's nominee, most Democrats and Republicans would lionize and vote for him.

If Mother Teresa were the other party's nominee, most Democrats and Republicans would talk about her as if she were the false prophet to the antichrist.

Sheep are stupid.



C'mon, now.

Don't be upset by the third sentence of the previous section.

If you're not a mainliner and somewhat Biblically literate, you understand the metaphor.


Somewhat seriously because you can't take Democrats and Republicans somewhat seriously, isn't all of their hypocrisy just a little over the top?

Democrats can't be all bad no matter what Republicans say.

Republicans can't be all bad no matter what Democrats say.

Democrats and Republicans can't be as good as they claim; unless, you know, they're, uh, angels in disguise or something.

In other words, Democrats and Republicans have at least one thing in common: the inability to admit no one is as good as momma pretends or as bad as those SOBs on the other side accuse.


Going back to the first section, it's a problem in mainline denominations.

The sheep follow the last popular vote or whoever's in charge even if they insult God's holiness as enfleshed in Jesus and explained in Holy Scripture.

"Feed me, Seymour, feed me all night long!"


I understand people who keep sending $ to who and what are anathema to Biblical Christianity.

They're sheep.

They've been seeping in it for so long that they're drowning in a cesspool of apostasies and they're too stupid/lazy/accommodating/de-converted to look up, stand up, speak up, and act up for Jesus.


Mainline sheep remind me of the coach who asked an underachieving player, "Son, I don't get it with you. Is it ignorance or apathy?"

The reply: "Coach, I don't know and I don't care."

If that doesn't explain mainliners today...


I don't know how Democrats, Republicans, and mainliners can look into the mirror without turning purple.

I can't.

I know I'm a messed up hypocrite and don't try to hide it (Cave Canem!); because I learned from my VMTC mentors, "Dump your garbage before the throne of God's grace before someone digs it up who is less grace-filled."

It's a 1 John 1 thing with Luke 18:9-14 as an illustrative preface.


Getting back to the "Special Obama/Biden Bumper Sticker Ruse Edition" of KD, I'm having way too much fun (see what I've learned and laughed about in the 8/26/08 edition of KD).

Moretheless, here are some more responses to the ruse which you can interpret in a glossolalia kind of way:

"The Obamessiah's values are imperceptible and he says nothing
really well which means he'd be a lousy President yet fit in
quite well as a pastor in the PCUSA."

"You're wasting your time, _____! Nobody gives a _____ about
anything anymore except a six pack, HD, and other creature
comforts like nocturnal delights."

"I've been GOP for 22 out of the 37 years I've been on this earth.
I've voted Dem before, but I've never seriously contemplated
leaving the party altogether...that is...until now. I've grown
weary of the hypocrisy."

"Detractors argue that Senator Obama lacks the necessary
experience. But after eight years of Dubya, I've cultivated
a preference for 'trial and error' over 'casuistry and
deniability' to say the absolute least!!!!!!!"

"I don't care about the election and I don't care what
you think about it...but you are funny in a terribly
threatening way."

"I'm chairing a PNC and we would like to talk
to you about..."

"If you know so much, why don't you run?"

"America and the world needs Barack; so please
stop picking on him. But keep picking on the
other guy!"

"Only someone living in a Presbyterian glass
house would have the _____ to throw stones
at others! Why don't you just shut up and let
it be?"

"Thank you for making me think. I guess
I should think about who Jesus would prefer."


I liked this one best: "If you know so much, why don't you run?"

First, I don't know that much; but pretending there's no problem when there's a plethora of 'em - something which mainliners do which proves they took acid in the 60s - is like saying an elephant is a mouse with glandular problems.

Second, you'll find out why in Cave Canem.


A friend on the left coast is voting for BHO because he feels better about him; but he voted for JC (one time) for the same reason which proves some people don't learn from their mistakes.

A friend on the right coast is voting for JM because he feels better about him; but I remember he had lots of bad trips in the 60s.

I'm gonna hold my nose and vote for _____.


Here are some inspired sentences from a prophet/pastor who I really need to know better; and I'm sending 'em to friends who have forgotten what it's all about in life and ministry:

"Years ago I entered into ministry with the specific purpose
of ministering the grace, love, healing, and redemption
of Christ Jesus to those who need Him the most. My
love for Him birthed in me a great love for people and
a desire to see them grow in their faith, to live the life
of an overcomer, and to live the abundant life. The
greatest joys in life come when we can help someone
else. What matters in this life is more than winning
for ourselves."

I've got to stop now because my eyes are blurring and...


Blessings and Love!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

August 26, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


While studying in Heidelberg in the mid 70s, a professor shouted, "Don't just read what coincides with your weltanschauung! Read what challenges and stretches your beliefs!"

Didactically, he continued, "If you don't know what they're thinking, you won't be prepared to contend with them."

I did/do.

Being in the PCUSA, I don't have to search too far for folks spouting off stuff that's anathema to Biblical Christianity 'cause we're seeping in a cesspool of apostasies.

Anyway, I was reading about the infanticidal candidate's extremely partisan serial plagiarist running mate and came across this:

Want a free Obama/Biden sticker? MoveOn's giving
them away totally free - even the shipping's free. I
just got mine, and wanted to share the opportunity
with you. Click this link to get a free...

I clicked; and in the spirit of KDs (read John 3:19-21), I forwarded it to subscribers, family, friends, foes, and folks who keep telling me to remove their names from my mailing list because they're computer challenged and don't know how to delete or block.

The responses have been swift, serious, silly, severe, slanderous, and all of the below.


A guy who got the joke sent a joke to me which reminded me of some truth in lots of humor.

"I believe," he quoted or coined, "the Democrats have suddenly developed a keen sense of morality. John Edwards has been banned from making a speech at the Democratic Convention for having an affair and lying about it."

Scrolling down, I read the punch line: "Bill Clinton is speaking in his place."


When I think of BHO's incredibly inane choice for VP, two thoughts come to mind.

First, if I were a Republican strategist, I would be having a Pentecostal moment. While the old Senator from Georgia and current Governor of Pennsylvania could have made the race interesting, the doozie from Delaware means JM wins bigger than RR over JC unless he picks a moron (misspelling) or Paris Hilton.

Second, a story from the Boone County Fair comes to mind. A young boy admires prize-winning tomatoes; and asks, "What did you put on 'em?" The farmer says, "Horse crushed manure." The boy responds, "We use ranch dressing."


From those who, I guess, think I'm into BHO/JB:

"No thanks. I despise MoveOn and their despicable tactics."

"Have you finally lost all of your mind?"

"I know you like Hendrix; but you must have done acid too!"

"Why in the world would I want one, you _____?"

"Thanks. Already got one that says, 'Got Hope?'"

"You're a bigger ____ than I thought!"

While KDs use @#$%s to separate sections rather than express pejorative or profane pathologies, I received lots of unprintables.


From those who, I hope, know I was joking:

"Is that a free Obama/Biden sticker or a 'free'
Obama/Biden sticker?"

"I'd rather have a bumper sticker that says
I'm Presbyterian."

"Stop making me laugh so early in the morning!"

"You made me puke up my breakfast."

It ran about 50-50 in terms of who got it and who didn't.


Here's the best serious reply: "I believe we have the kind of relationship that can survive my broadside; and I wish that I felt differently. I am aware many honest Christians are for BHO/JB; but whatever happens, I hope we are still friends."

The broadside: "I am a little surprised, in this most critical Presidential campaign in American history, when from a Christian or even human point of view, there is no choice except JM because BHO assaults: (1) the value of human life; (2) the integrity of marriage; (3) the integrity of America as opposed to his idiotically naive views on world union and cooperation; and (4) the integrity of our courts."

He ended, "Maybe this is a joke, right?"

Yes, friend; unless they make it to the White House.


But my favorite comes from an increasingly dear friend who is also one of the few bravehearts left in the franchise: "You put that thing on your car and you can probably kiss all chances of raising funds to pay it off goodbye!"


I've received over 40 replies so far; and I'll provide updates to this KD until I get bored with the subject and, uh, move on.

I have omitted the congrats from the lefties because I don't want anyone important to me to think I'm leaning that way.

I have omitted the really slanderous attacks from the righties because I don't want anyone important to me to think I care.

The mission of this KD has been accomplished (see the next section).


Anyone who listens when I speak/preach/pontificate knows wild horses dragging me by the tongue couldn't persuade me to vote for 'em; and though I'm like that early morning radio guy in Chicago who says JM is really awful but BHO is really, really, really awful, I like BHO personally but just can't get beyond his buddies, inexperience, most-left-in-the-Senate voting record, and vacuous eloquence.

Be that as it is, it was fun in a lamentable way to disclose the true feelings toward yours truly of the recipients.

Specifically, it proved people are always looking for something in other people so they can pick, peck, pounce, denigrate, and damn.

We haven't learned the balance of Matthew 7:1-6.


The ruse revealed undisclosed relational realities.


Of course, that's what KDs are all about.


Let me put it another way.

If you understand the problem with idolatries, you're iconoclastic by, uh, spirit.

And getting back to Matthew 7:1-6, part of the balance which some folks miss is discerning right from wrong as exemplified in Jesus and explained in Holy Scripture is different from condemning which isn't part of our job description.

Loving is for us and judging is for Him.

In other words, just because you like somebody and pray His best graces for 'em doesn't mean she/he should be President.

Or something like that.


Blessings and Love!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

August 24, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


He did it.

The serial plagiarist is gonna be his running mate.

He coulda and shoulda and some day know he woulda picked the decent man who is strong on national defense and social responsibility from Georgia (SN) if he'd had more experience in national elections.


The only way the other guy can lose now is by picking a real moron.

Go back to the inaugural KD (2/28/08).

And go back to the first sentence of this section for a synonymous though Freudian spelling slip.


Speaking of character, I'm really getting tired of people who only call or correspond when they've got something or someone to criticize.

Shrinks call that relational imbalance.

I call it, uh, pastoral ministry.


Fortunately, I wrote the book on creative neglect; and because nobody buys or reads it, nobody knows how it's done.

Here's a hint from my daddy: "Tell people to go to hell in a way that they're looking forward to the trip."

Here's how to begin and end: "Thank you for sharing that with me."


I counsel lots of pastors; which is why some folks think I should be an EP or join the RCC and become a bishop.

That won't happen because I won't sell my soul for the company store if you know what I mean; and if you don't, you probably have!

Anyway, this recently ordained guy who I've mentored calls and says, "Thanks so much for everything that you've taught me. Currently, I am learning a lot from members who keep telling me how my predecessors messed up."

I said, "When you're not in the room, they talk about you."


Yeah, dear friend who will be joining our family of faith before Christmas, it's all about Jesus.


If it were all about Jesus, denominational infidelities along with congregational idolatries, lionizations, and demonizations wouldn't cripple the church's witness.


I quoted a guy as being in but not from West Virginia when he's really in but not from Maryland.

I'm always messing up.

I've got over 300 "worshippers" who are more than ready to remind me at the click of a "send" button.


I recall a round on a very early morning not too long ago.

There are 18 holes on the course and I was the only one playing with three grounds crew guys around.

I was on the 7th while one was on the 6th, one was on the 7th, and one was on the 8th.


Life is filled with distractions as well as metaphors.

Faith does not make us immune to 'em.

He enables us to overcome 'em.


Yes, dear friend, it is all about Jesus; and when we figure that out, the bridal party will be more appropriately attired.

But because it's not all about Jesus for too many in church as well as society, it's imperative to integrate, intellectually/spiritually as a preface to emotional amelioration/consolation, some advice from a corporate shrink in Greensboro, North Carolina: "You are not responsible for what others say and do; but you are responsible for what you say and do and how you respond to what others say and do."

He put it this way, "As long as it depends on you..."

As teams like the Bears understand, when it doesn't depend on you, punt.

Creative neglect.


And to my professor/pastor friend in Florida who pushes me in a redemptive kind of way, that's why it's taking so long to start Cave Canem.

The you messages must end.

Because, in the end, it will be very, very, very personal.


Blessings and Love!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 21, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


I went to see an old friend in a nursing home on Monday.

She said, "You're gaining weight."

I recalled a conversation with the proverbial father of the Confessing Church Movement who said fat pastors are a bad witness.


I went to see her in the hospital this morning.

I pulled into the "Clergy Only" space, got out of the car which I don't really own and can't afford to buy, and was stopped by somebody who must be important who barked, "These two spaces are for clergy only."

When I said I am one, he said, "Well, you sure don't look like one."


Thank You, Jesus.


I think it was William Jennings Bryan who said, "I would have become a clergyman if so many of them didn't look like undertakers."


I'm fat, bald, gaining weight, and don't look like a clergyman.

That's one for four on the good side of life.


This is turning into a great month.

I can't wait until October.


After reading my last KD, a subscriber in not from West Virginia wrote, "Don't beat up on yourself so much. Too many people are more than glad to do it for you."


Misery likes...


It is interesting/infuriating/nauseating/puzzling how people have this idea that they can say whatever they'd like to say about others.

From my ghettoed point of view, I'm always i/i/n/p by people who think they are entitled to say whatever they'd like to say about their pastors; recalling the obnoxious truism: "If you'd like to know what it's like to be a pastor, put on a deerskin and go walking through the woods on the first day of hunting season."

None of my clergy buddies say things like, "Aside from never realizing blue is a natural hair color, your perfume could knock over a bull at 50 paces."


Pearl came to me about 25 years ago and said with a smile, "I hate your beard."

I shaved it off.

As she approached me after the mowing on the following Sunday, I expected affection and affirmation; but she smiled again and said, "Now about your moustache."


If one of my sons ever says he's going to follow my footsteps into ecclesiastical employment, I will write 'em out of my will.

Forget that.

There's nothing there either.


Staying on politics, I've heard BHO is gonna pick SN or JB for VP.

The former is a really decent man who is strong on national defense and social responsibility.

The latter is another guy with short man's disease who makes TK and Northeastern Pennsylvanians look non-partisan; not to mention that I'd flunk him because he's a serial plagiarist.


I am feeling better about my three bets in a Christian kinda way about who's gonna win on 11/4.

Go back to the inaugural KD (2/28/08).

As a matter of fact, if BHO wins, I will host free coffee and dessert for our particular family of faith on 11/5 at Wicked Brew; and then cash out, play a round at PB, buy a Harley or Honda imitation, ride to Maine for lobster, and announce Apocalypse Now.


Two quickies from congregants.

One guy wrote, "Perhaps those who feel you talk too much about the building campaign feel what I felt - guilt. So I started to tithe. I feel better now."

One gal wrote, "Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."


Please don't be upset by any of the preceding.

I'm just trying to introduce foreign behavior into our socioeconomic and ecclesiastical cultures: thinking.

Or at least being unafraid to ask questions about why so much and so many are going to hell.


But you can blow me off like most folks do during homiletical offerings or when I write a book.

After all, I'm fat, bald, gaining weight, and don't look like a clergyman.

Again, thank You, Jesus...for that last one...and the other stuff.


Blessings and Love!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August 19, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


I've just had a nervous breakdown or Hebrews 13:2 moment.


Inspirations and indigestions can be difficult to distinguish.

Read Bainton's account of Luther's call to and from monasticism.

I'm just going to report the most transforming experience since being reborn about a decade ago.


Parenthetically, it completes the preface to Cave Canem.

I am now ready to begin what my pastor/professor friend in Florida prophesied pour moi.

My life and ministry will never be the same.


I have been increasingly frustrated by the meannesses, madnesses, megalomaniacs, and miseries of life in the modern world and church.

I have been increasingly edgy; transferring some of those feelings to family and friends.

I have felt like a failure as a husband, father, son, brother, friend, pastor, presbyter, and, uh, even golfer.

I have mourned old, new, and future sins.

Though never doubting forgiveness by the grace of God through faith in Jesus, I have wanted to quit life and ministry because I don't feel I've made a dent in the Devil's deceits.

I'm in debt, distracted by delusions, and part of a denomination increasingly distancing itself from Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture and upheld by its own constitution.

I've been pouring out and it's been trickling in.

I feel like a punching bag for pejorative pathologies; and some people only respond when they disagree or feel entitled to criticize.


A little girl said she liked the Son more than the Father.

When asked why, she said, "Because Jesus is God with skin on."

Is there anyone who does not tear up at the thought?

I do.


So I asked; and He answered.

So I sought: and He allowed me to discover.

So I knocked; and He opened the door.


The past 24 hours have been revelatory.

I have seen through the disguises and translated the tongues.

He has exposed their minds, hearts, and souls to me.

Then He turned to me.


He began slowly; prying from a campaign which was beginning to distract pastoral affections and effections.

He confirmed as subtlety as a Lightning Bolt sprint to victory; as a dear friend dropped in to say, "I hope this does not hurt our friendship; but people are saying you're talking too much about the building program."

He released me to laugh and rejoice: "Thank you for confirming what was confirmed. Let us rejoice together!"

We're closer now.

It always happens through Him.


The pace quickened with the calendar.

I've always been a slave to it.

I've felt like Groucho, "Hello! Good-bye! I must be going!"

Then he stopped me to save me.


I went to the hospital in the early morning because I had an early morning meeting before a middle morning worship service.

The hospital visits were to be quick because the meeting was to be long before the hour in the chapel.

My calendar was fixed and my spirit was paralyzed.


But the patients weren't in their rooms because they were in restricted areas for tests; so I went to the 2-3 hour meeting.

The meeting lasted 45 minutes.

I wanted to get back to the church with the unexpected time to plan for my next meetings; but a strangely warm compulsion to return to the hospital overwhelmed me.


The patients had returned to their rooms from their tests; and the conversations and prayers confirmed His compulsion.

Then I headed to the exit to stay on schedule; but did not make it.

She stood in front of the empty room, commanded my attention, and caused me to inquire, "How are you today?"

The answer: "You don't want to know what I did."

Instead of brushing her off with a gotta go for I had to go to stay on schedule, another warm compulsion overwhelmed me to say, "I do want to know."

I followed her into the room.


The room was so bright.

Everything seemed so...light.

"I tried to kill myself," she said.


I walked through the door.

The agenda was now set.

I could not retreat; and I was not anticipating the charge.


I am a more gifted than trained counselor if you know what I mean.

Yet it was she who ministered to me in short order in time stood still.

Her eyes did not blink as she talked in a tongue not known to me while massaging my spirit.


Before I left, she embraced me and kissed my cheek in holiness.

A warmth known to Wesley was now mine; and it stays as I try to recall what the apostle said is best left to sighs and groans.

I have not felt such a very, very, very long time.


The mind has cleared.

I am called to remain; but not as before.

Everything about Him is the same while so much about my approach to life and ministry has changed.


I am not called to lead but guide.


Enabling intimacy with Jesus.


I am in not before or looking after time.


I love now not sooner or later.


The angel kissed me with His affections alone.


The effect will be...


I don't know...for sure.

Incarnation of intimacy is hard to predict.

It is and will be and must be...different.


Prophecy more than warning was attached: "The warmth will remain as long as you do not exchange His intimacies for another's affections."


Discernments penetrate through prior shields.

To guide.

To love.


Sensational yields to the simple.


Nothing more or less...until the next kiss.


Blessings and Love!

Monday, August 18, 2008

August 18, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


The Cubs are my third favorite baseball team behind the Yankees and Mets.

So I'm objective about 'em; and unlike their "fans" who keep waiting for their September swoon despite almost two weeks remaining in August, I'm sticking with my pre-season prediction that the lovable losers will be in the World Series in October.

While the Yankees won't make it this year, we know it won't be long before we're back.


Free enterprise.

Yankees fans are true Americans who don't believe in that socialistic revenue sharing stuff.

So we're gonna rebuild the American way by buying the best from the rest of 'em.


A friend expressed relief to discover I've always been a Yankees fan.

He feared I was one of those guys who hitch my wagon to whomever's in first place.

If that were the case, I would have left the PCUSA during any of the recent exoduses.


My professor/pastor buddy in Florida who is getting his way as I turn to Cave Canem in about a month introduced me to Edmund Clowney who wrote the Eutychus series for Christianity Today before I was ordained; which means he's dead or in a nursing home cashing in on his pension credits.

I like both of 'em.

Indeed, EC is an ecclesiastical version of Kurt Vonnegut; and I suspect he was an inspiration for Frederick Buechner.


EC has helped me to understand the majority of mainliners who aren't far left or far right or, uh, far anything; but rather, uh, moderate as in moderately committed to Jesus.

Anyway, he described 'em as Predicandus Amorphus: "All things to all men. An evangelical-liberal with leanings toward and away from neodoxy and paleoism. Heartily concurs in both sides of every argument - with minor reservations. Man of many deep convictions which last for days."

Now I get it.

Mainliners are like golfers and their putters: deeply committed...for about a week or two; or as I tell hackers, "Putters are like girlfriends in 10th grade: fast, furious, and fleeting."


EC wrote, "Many Americans crave a big church because their God is too small."

A few lines later, he added, "God's saving power operates not by addition, but by transformation."

It's too bad too many pulpiteers and pewsitters don't wrestle with stuff like that anymore.


Get this from EC: "Americans spend 3 billion for their churches and 6 billion for cigarettes...Churches have done well, considering their modest advertising budget and extremely soft sell...Or perhaps in the church news column we might read: 'First Church has reduced theological irritants to the lowest level among all leading pulpits. First Church preaching is smooth. It's First for filtered truth."


I like this guy.

I'm sending that last quote to a friend who followed a "professional church statesman" who said nothing when he preached but said it so eloquently yet boringly that nobody was offended from left or right or up or down or holy or debauched so that he was idolized for agreeing with the last person that he talked to which has made my friend with convictions so terribly uncomfortable by comparison.


"Committees," concluded EC, "are essential to our society as centers of indecision. The allegations that a camel is a horse put together by a committee is a manifest fabrication, since no committee could formulate anything less compromising than a swoose."

Preach, brother, go on!!!

He did: "Sometimes a red or green light shines from the pulpit, but usually the amber is timidly blinking. The preacher is neither modernist nor fundamentalist, but is dialectically hovering somewhere between a conservative liberal and a liberal conservative. Following the amber gleam, the church can move toward the sublime uncertainties of better adjustment."


I'll bet back to baseball.

Or as Kurt Vonnegut said after preaching in an Episcopalian church which is indicative of their problems, "People don't come to church for preachments, of course, but to daydream about God. I thank you for your sweetly faked attention."

Play, uh, church!


I grew up in New York City while my dad was in some war; and I went to Yankee Stadium a lot with Grandpa Jacob to watch Yogi, Whitey, Elston, Mickey, Roger, Bobby, Tony, Moose, Clete, and countless other clippers who hardly make room for anybody else in Cooperstown.

I've been a Yankees fan all of my life.

I've been blessed to root for a winner.


Yankees fans don't understand Cubs fans.

When the Yankees are losing like this year, we expect 'em to start winning soon or buy better guys for next year.

When the Cubs are winning like this year, their fans expect 'em to start losing soon and do nothing about it.


Actually, our parish nurse explained it to me: "You get used to it after a century or so."


But can you reimagine a Cubs-Yankees World Series?

With everybody loving the Cubs except all four or five White Sox fans in America not to mention Chicago and everybody hating the Yankees except their fans, it would set attendance and viewer records that would even exceed the ratings for Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, and Rick Warren.

I could lose my job over it.


Maybe that's why I'm a Yankees fan.

Maybe that's why I like EC so much.

If everybody likes you, that includes the bad guys.


Primary allegiances never acquiesce to secondary affections; unless, of course, you're a damned fool.


Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

August 13, 200

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


It's hard to hit a golf ball with mosquitoes flying up your nose.

Have you ever tried to sleep when there's just one mosquito in the bedroom?

As an old friend (RIP) warned many years ago, "Just one flea can make a big dog itch."


Speaking of pests, do you think JE is still BHO's first choice for VP?


You gotta love JE.

His wife is dying of cancer, he pontificates about the immorality of GWB and his buddies, and talks so condescendingly about the right's insensitivity to the poor while knocking up a blonde (?), getting $400 haircuts, and looking like the latest poster boy for hypocrisy.

You gotta wonder about BHO's ability to lead the USA if "friends" around him like former VP A-lister JE make Paris and Britney look like good candidates for a forthcoming issue of People featuring Americans with integrity.


JE's blonde babe says she won't submit their, uh, her baby to any of those tests to prove paternity even if that means they get to be guests on Maury.

Does that mean she's trying to protect JE?

Or does that mean she's been about as faithful to JE as JE has been to...?


A friend who I'll call Chuck because that's his name says I'm a "Titleist Snob."

That's because, uh, I like to play with Titleists; especially ProV1s or ProV1xs or any of the NXT models.

I like 'em because, uh, they're really good balls; and they must be good because they're so expensive.


That last line was just to aggravate as well as encourage cheap skates who say "motor oil is motor oil" to keep reading.

Actually, I only play with Titleists if someone gives 'em to me.

I'm about 40% Scot; like too many members of our family of faith who ain't forking over big enough for our expansion, renovation, and elevator.


Just because something costs a lot doesn't mean it's necessarily better.

I tell relatives who want to buy golf balls for me but are too cheap to buy Titleists that I really like Maxfli Noodles and Nike Juice(s) because they're, uh, almost, uh, I repeat, uh, almost as good as...

Besides, if there's anything we're learning from JE, it's that more expensive doesn't necessarily mean better.


Take a few seconds to digest the last sentence of the previous section.

It'll come to ya.


Getting back to pests, JE reminds me a lot of JJ.

Now there's a poster boy for hypocrisy.

He's made millions by threatening to label rich white folks as racists if they won't fork over to keep his face in lights.

Then he's caught with his pants down and a love child while counseling WJC to overcome the temptations to marital infidelities, caught using the N-word in reference to the guy who could actually become the object of his lust, and recorded musing about castrating a brother in a way that makes KKKers proud.


Speaking of hypocrisy, it's time to stop blaming the Arabs for gas prices.

I may be wrong yet I don't think so or I wouldn't say it but I think there's a really dark conspiracy involving Americans in government, business, and Wall Street who are playing footsies with Muslims who hate anyone who ain't Muslim to drive up prices to satiate their insatiable greed.

In other words, selfish Americans are sticking it to us!


Some guy out of KDKA TV in Pittsburgh called Dr. Knowledge cites one example of who's really behind this crisis: "The federal tax on gas is 18.4 cents a gallon...some states currently add as much as 46 cents a gallon to gas with their tax. The average state tax across the country is 28.6 cents a gallon."

Greedy Americans who really don't care what happens to us and hate-filled Muslims who want to destroy the West for not joining their religion and dedication to Israel's destruction remind me of the Churchill-Stalin tag team.

Short-term personal gains (avarice) without long-term universal considerations (benevolence) spell cultural collapse.


I think of churches which forget the Church is more about serving others than consuming for themselves.

When we baptize babies or, uh, dedicate 'em - That's just to mollify my Baptist subscribers! - we pledge to provide for their nurture by providing an example, education, and environment which will help 'em, uh, grow in the Lord.

In short, we build upon the best of the past for better tomorrows.


I thought about that while greeting a friend after surgery earlier today.

Incarnating the service above self which is supposed to distinguish Christians from, uh, others, she asked, "How's the campaign going for expansion and everything else?"

I almost cried.

She was coming out of surgery and expressing concern about the mission of the church to expand, renovate, and increase accessibility.

Every once in a while...


I said we're not doing too badly for starting a campaign in the summer; while noting the next few months will determine if we're gonna be a mission post, museum, or mausoleum.

She asked if I'll leave if we don't make it.

Here's what I said: "If we make it, I'll praise the Lord with you and thank people for their faithfulness to the vision entrusted to us. If we don't make it, I'll say we've made a big mistake that will translate as the end of Gospel ministry on the corner of Lincoln and Main in about 20 years or less. I'll say we blew it. I'll say we have not been faithful to our baptismal promises and His call to build upon the best of the past for better tomorrows. Then I'll preach on Sundays, visit the hospitals, help enable intimacy with Jesus during the week, and continue doing what I've always done."

She said I appeared pretty calm about it.

I said, "Well, you can lead a horse to water..."


I'd rather be the pastor of a mission post than a museum docent or mausoleum chaplain.

But I'd rather be playing in the Ryder Cup than the Clergy Cup too.

Mosquitoes and fleas are a pain; but we've survived 'em before and we'll survive 'em again.


Maybe it means I'm not the right pastor for this family of faith.

Maybe it means I'm a docent.

Maybe it means I'm a chaplain.


We'll, uh, see.


But I'm not worried about it.

All I can do is tell the truth as I see it, admit I'm wrong when I'm wrong, and let the, uh, chips fall...

Maybe I am a Calvinist after all.


One more thing.

Once I start Cave Canem (around 9/14), it will be clear that I'm finally seeing my logs more than their specks.

So when I talk about hypocrites like JE and JJ, I know I could just as well be talking about myself; for I've been a pest to Him and His a lot more than I'd care to consider.


Maybe you can't relate to these lines from The Shack; but I know I can and hope JE, JJ, and...: "You have judged the actions and even motivations of others, as if you somehow knew...You have judged history and relationships. You have even judged the value of a person's life...Judging requires that you think yourself superior to the one you judge."


Chuck - the one who says I'm a snob - wrote: "Meet RRK - Midwestern pastor with a heart that loves Jesus and His people. He has seen the storm coming for many years; but like Dorothy in Kansas, it crept up on him before he knew it. What was once a flock of lambs has turned into a wooly monster; and now he and his fellow shepherds find themselves in...The Twilight Zone."

I'm increasingly feeling like that in the PCUSA, America, youth sports, too many relationships, this KD, and, uh, uh, uh, own skin.



Regardless, I'm prayin' and laborin' to live by the counsel provided by the first female (or male) black elder in a congregation which I left too soon and miss so much though I'm where I'm supposed to be for better or worse, richer or poorer, mission post or museum/mausoleum: "You love 'em and let God judge 'em!"

I'm itchin'.

I hope I'm not...


Blessings and Love!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

August 10, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


I love Harold and miss him a lot.

When we were looking for an associate pastor in Pennsylvania and couldn't afford a Presbyterian or find one who still believed in Jesus, He sent this AGer to us who was disenchanted with institutional Christianity, tired of playing the clergy game of hide and sin, and foolish enough to swallow everything that He ever said as Gospel.

My kinda guy.


He was always getting me into trouble.

He wouldn't compromise Christianity for temporal lauds, professional perks, and pension credits; and he salted me to do the same.

I think He used him to cultivate the seeds of salvation in my life which were planted so long ago by my parents and another Pastor Harold (viz., The Rev. Harold F. Mante who was the first "home" pastor who He used to capture my attention!).


God knows I'm not saying I'm that hot; but I'm a lot better than I was.

I hope that doesn't shock you.

While our Lord uses us in spite of ourselves - read some Bullinger - I know I knew something about Jesus for the first 15-20 years after I was ordained; but it wasn't until Harold showed up that I started to wrestle with the serious sins remaining in me.


I'll say more about that in Cave Canem which gets into serious print sometime shortly after 9/14.


Anyway, I'll never forget when Harold really ticked off an elder who accused him of using her as an example of, uh, how, uh, not to be a Christian.

She interrupted him in front of a whole Bible study class and blurted out, "You know you preached Sunday's sermon just for me."

He said, "Please don't flatter yourself; but if the shoe fits..."


That's my Harold.

Clear, concise, compelling, surprisingly comprehensive, and radiantly, uh, Christian.

Maybe that's why I stopped referring to him as my associate pastor and just called him Pastor Harold.


If the shoe fits...

After just over three decades in this gig, I've realized people who feel guilty usually are.

I think it was FDR's Harold-like wife who said, "No one can make you feel anything without your consent."


When someone says the prayer of confession or sermon or whatever made 'em feel guilty, I usually respond, "Would you like to pray with me about it?"

I don't like to pile on; and, besides, He always has a better way of making folks feel better by helping them to get better.

Of course, in the front of my mind, I'm thinking, "Why don't you just confess and get the restoration thing going while there's still time?"


I thought about Harold the other day when the first reports came in about our expansion, renovation, and accessibility campaign.

It's O.K.

Starting in the summer without a lot of high pressure marketing, we're about 15% of the way to our goal with a few months left before we decide what we're gonna do.


What gets me is I know a few folks who could write a check and just about fund the whole thing.

I shouldn't be surprised.

If I can't get 12Gs after some, uh, subtle (?) hints with close friends...


I'm hanging out a lot more with God these days in prayer and fasting.

I've got a long way to go; but it's better than it used to be.

And I can sense I'm starting to think a lot more like Harold; which means I'm gonna get into trouble really soon.


I'm starting to say, uh, truthful things like, "What you believe is betrayed by how you behave."

To the older folks, I'm saying, "Don't tell me that you're keeping your baptismal promises and that you really care about children if you're not investing in their future..."

To the younger folks, I'm saying, "Don't tell me that you care about seniors if you won't put in an elevator for 'em to get into the sanctuary because you'd really rather warehouse 'em..."

We're not supposed to live off the past.

We're supposed to be build upon the best of the past for future generations.


Did you hear about the woman who went to the memorial service for a soldier who just died in Iraq?

She did not know him.

When asked why she went, she said, "He did not know me; but he went over there for me."


Our predecessors did not know us; yet they provided for our well-being.

Unless I'm missing something, aren't we supposed to...?


Two sentences from The Shack come to mind: "Jesus chose to die because He and His Daddy love you and me and everyone in the world. He saved us from our sickness, just like the princess."


I better repeat that story too which is a metaphor for the story: "She didn't have to die. She chose to die to save her people. They were very sick and she wanted them to be healed."

Read the book.

Yes, that book too.


Harold burst into my study and shouted: "It's right here in the book! We're supposed to care more about the needs of others than our own."

Well, now I'm really going to get into trouble; telling people that real love is more about compassion for others than consumption for ourselves and that there's no such thing as being selfish for Jesus.

It reminds me of how we'd joke about today's unholy trinity which has replaced the real one: Me, Myself, and I.


Thanks, Harold.

I'm gonna catch hell because He told you to insist on heaven for us.

Do you have a shoe horn?


Actually, it will be worth it in the end; because these blisters are part of the birth pangs...


Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

August 6, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


She is drop-dead gorgeous with long and curly black hair, gentle yet firm features, and penetrating while comely coal-fired eyes - a stunning beauty who stood two feet in front of me and said without shame or hesitancy and no inclination to conceal fresh affections, "I could love you!"

I met her on Monday at the regional qualifying tournament for the Special Olympics State of Illinois Golf Championship on 9/13-14.

She was a competitor who didn't seem to care as much about winning as loving.


I went to caddie for my favorite Special Olympian.

Play was cancelled because of rain.

But before the lottery to determine who would advance, I learned more about love in those seven hours than I'd ever seen at any college, seminary, church, or clergy pow-wow.


The smiles and laughter and hugs were intoxicating.

I don't think I've ever spent seven hours in one room for anything and been so lost in wonder, love, and praise.

I bathed in unrestrained joy; and for the first time in a long time, I felt clean.


Why don't I feel that way when I'm with people who aren't so challenged?

Maybe that army guy in King of Hearts was right.

Maybe those who have been designated as challenged are really exceptional and don't fit in with the unchallenged who are so selfish in their love and retarded in their joy.


Maybe I was in heaven for seven hours on Monday; knowing I've often felt like I've been in hell with...


I can't figure it out; but part of the answer comes from the desert: "If we become blind, there is no reason to be upset. We have lost one route to distinction, but now we can contemplate God's glory with the interior eyes of the soul. If we become deaf, then be grateful that small talk will no longer be a distraction. If you have lost the strength of your hands, you will still have the inner strength to resist your enemy's assaults. If disease affects your entire body, you have an opportunity to increase your spiritual health."

I never understood by seeing that until Monday.

I had been blinded by normal behaviors.


Today, in prayer, it hit me.

Our normal behaviors are abnormal to Christianity.

"Their" abnormal behaviors are normal to Christianity.

It may sound crude, but I must now ask, "Who is retarded?"


I thought of the Philippian jailer who asked how he could be saved.

The apostles said, "Believe in Jesus and you will be saved."

They didn't talk about the merits of Calvinism over Arminianism and vice versa.


I've read Arminius and Calvin.

They're not as Arminian and Calvinistic as their cults.

They come off as more, uh, Biblically Christian than, uh, Arminians and Calvinists.


Isn't it supposed to be all about Jesus?

Not Arminius or Calvin or Catholics or Protestants or...

Isn't Jesus enough to be, uh, saved?


Or do we have to be some kind of normal, uh, whatever...?

Is it normal to add more prerequisites to salvific admissions?

Is it abnormal to reduce it all down to loving Jesus by loving like Jesus (agape)?


Why did I feel closer to Jesus on Monday than...?

I did not see contentions, disputes, debates, overtures, polity, property clauses, smirks, disdains, narcissism, conceit, angst, pathos, and...

I saw love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness/humility, and self-control.

I felt and experienced and bathed in...Jesus.


It hit me again on Monday.

You can be right about everything but wrong about Jesus and you're in heaps of trouble.

You can be wrong about everything but right about Jesus and you're, uh, saved from heaps of trouble.


Yes, I learned something about that in college, seminary, church, and clergy pow-wows.

I saw it and gloried in it on Monday.

I think we need more Special Olympians in college, seminary, church, and clergy pow-wows; because they've obviously got lots more of Jesus in them than...


I saw my black-haired beauty in front of a woman, then another man, then another woman, and on and on; and she kept repeating, "I could love you!"


Jesus, thank You for an experience of Church on earth as it is in heaven.


Blessings and Love!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

August 5, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Fred's funeral is today.

I will miss him.

I look forward to seeing him later.


He was one of my heroes.

He never wavered on Jesus; even when life's challenges tested him.

He never wavered on me; even when I did not practice what I preached.


Christians are like that.

They know we can be good; but never good enough not to need His delivering graces.

Fred knew God does not keep law and Gospel in balance; for Jesus proved He favors the Gospel side.


Bob, Eddie, Frank, and Fred were role models of ministry for me as elders in that New Jersey church over 30 years ago.

All but Eddie are now home with Jesus.

Eddie and I look forward to seeing them later.


So many have taught me so much about life and ministry.

More than less and less than more as happens to all of us, I've followed their counsel.

I only hope to pass on His goodness through them for me to others.


Dad taught me that most moral decisions are not made in the gray zone.

Whenever I think of Mom, I think of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Simple Man.

My sister proves faith and fun are part of the same fabric.


Dorothy urged, "Please tell people to tithe! If you don't, you'll be cheating them of the opportunity to experience the extraordinary blessings of obedience."


The Rev. Harold F. Mante, the first home pastor who caught my attention, exemplified agape; especially when it comes to church irregulars. He said, "Some people just need a little more understanding."

He also told me to never check church financial records or I'd develop unhealthy prejudices about people.

He also told me to never learn how to use church office equipment or...


I don't recommend too many "Christian" novels.

I figure people don't read the Bible enough to distinguish fact from fiction.

But Joseph Girzone's Joshua has always been a favorite; and here are a few lines which won't make it into too many sermons: "Jesus came people from...regimented religion where people are threatened if they don't obey rules and rituals invented by the clergy...You have kept...Christian people away from one another and forced them to be loyal to your denomination rather than to Jesus...Church officials are concerned about order among the people, prophets are concerned about people's relationship with God...The church teaches beautiful things, but it is all on paper...The church is supposed to be the living presence of Christ..., but often all the people see is the aloofness and arrogance of ill-tempered shepherds who have little feeling for the people when they are hurting or when they have fallen."

I like Joshua.


Another good "Christian" novel is William Young's The Shack.

LuAnn just gave a copy to me; and I was struck by the hero who reminds me of other heroes in my life: "He doesn't say much unless you ask him directly, which most folks have learned not to do...He usually makes uncomfortable sense in a world where most folks would rather just hear what they are used to hearing, which is often not much of anything...And when he does talk,...they are not quite so satisfied with themselves."

I won't say too much more about it; because it's really worth your time.

It pushes you into the deep waters.


So many heroes in my life; and I'll mention more of them in forthcoming KDs.

They have one thing in common.

They dove into the deep waters; and after years of fear, I'm diving into...


Grandpa Hayden died many years ago; though I still wear the increasingly tattered robe which he bought when I picked up my last academic degree.

He called to say he was heading home to Jesus; and I said I'd fly to the hospital to see him.

He said, "That won't be necessary. When I die, then you'll come back and preside at the funeral; and then I'll see you later."


My heroes will always be in my heart; and in the time left which won't be as long as the time spent, I will pray and labor to prove I paid attention to them.

I find comfort in my Grandpa's last words to me; because I have such a hard time with good-byes.


I'll see you later, Fred.


Blessings and Love!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

August 3, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


My dad stopped smoking about two decades ago after his personal physician told him that he'd die if he didn't.

Whenever I've asked him if he misses it, he says, "Every damn day of my life."

Addictions are like that.


Bad things taste good.

That's why they're so, uh, tempting.

They taste good but don't digest well.


Getting back to my favorite nuns at the Scriptorium in Maryland, they like to say, "When tempted, turn to the right!"


Somebody said, "Sex is the greatest temptation for a young man, money for an older man, and power for a mature man."

I don't think so.

I see human nature through Pauline and Freudian filters; assuming any of the three can pop up at any time which is so reminiscent of those embarrassing moments when called to the chalkboard in 8th grade without warning.


I may be wrong but I think mainline bureaucrats and jingoists are so addicted to the way things never were or maybe were but are no more that they're not sober enough to see what's happened to their formerly faithful franchises.


I think of the guy down South who rationalized his employment: "Tobacco built this church."

Then there was one of the smartest women who I've ever met who is now home with Jesus but once said to me in one her less bright moments, "There's no proof that tobacco causes cancer."

That's why I still think JM should pick RB as his running mate.

He's right smack in the middle of tobacco country; yet he said a few days ago, "We do not need another government bureaucracy to tell us the obvious: cigarettes are not safe."

That's the kind of courage we need in church and government; saying what's true regardless of the responses from those who are false.

By the way, he's also against government regulating tobacco.

I'm with him on that too.

I mean if government is going to regulate tobacco, it should also regulate rap music, women who shouldn't wear two-piece bathing suits, and fat guys who wear Speedos.

Government regulations remind me of golf courses which require collared shirts but let guys wear cut-off blue jeans and women wear tank tops.

Of course, common sense in government and church is like those single guys in carts speeding around golf courses who think it's the number of holes played rather than the quality of each hole that matters; and I won't mention their ignorance about singles not having the right of way.

It's all so addicting.


I'm really into this "Ask Jesus" strategy for discerning His will for life and ministry.

If you've got a challenge or temptation or decision before you, just ask Jesus.

Unless He's lying, He promises to answer; but, of course, once He answers, we better...


Have you ever meditated on that old Gospel hymn "Trust and Obey"?

Go back to the previous section.

Now go to the hymn and meditate a while.


I asked Jesus what He wants us to say to mainline bureaucrats and jingoists.

Before the answer came, I started thinking about the Sanhedrin and its Biblical kin and how so many mainline bureaucrats and jingoists remind me of 'em and tempt me to believe in reincarnation.

No joke.


The answer came: "Tell Pharaoh, 'Let me people go!'"


I started singing Jason Upton's "Freedom."

You can hear/see it by going to YouTube and searching for Jason Upton's, uh, "Freedom."

But stay away from the other tempting stuff.

No joke.


Getting back to tobacco, it's addicting.

As one comic concluded, "You could put a skull and crossbones on every package and call 'em Tumors and people would still line up to buy 'em."

Yeah, that's about right.


Addictions are like that.

The only way to get rid of 'em is to turn to the right.

But be careful because they can pop up again at any time like a...


Blessings and Love!

Friday, August 1, 2008

August 1, 2008


There has been an incredible response to the addendum to Not One Penny noted below in section 5: "Legal Defense Fund for Persecuted Presbyters" who are remaining to be faithful or have separated to be faithful.

I have heard from many folks from around the country who are now praying our "renewal" paradenominationals will consider something like this at their next pow-wow; or somebody will step forward who knows how to do it.

While the Not One Penny movement with this addendum does not claim to be the only way or even the best way to encourage confession, repentance, and restoration in the formerly faithful PCUSA, it is one way.

JY and I applaud, affirm, and advocate anyone who is praying and laboring to "new" our franchise which has so despicably distanced itself from Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture and upheld by our constitution so far yet so precariously.

We are chastened by Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12.

We will not be silenced by those who advocate, enable, and accommodate apostates who insult the holiness of Jesus and seek to cripple pastors and congregations who challenge, resist, dissent, protest, and otherwise exercise their constitutional rights to remain or separate faithfully.

We are stunned by the fainthearted clergy, sessions, and judicatories which have not come to the aid of presbyters who are being targeted by this unconscionable "war chest" and its "per capita" supported precursors to enable litigation against those who have separated to be faithful or have defended the integrity of those who have separated to be faithful even if called and committed to remaining to be faithful.

JY, PR, and I have made our remaining to be faithful intentions clear and conclusive for many years despite the threats to vocational security.

If anyone can show us from Holy Scripture as upheld by our constitution so far yet so precariously how we have erred, we will confess our sin, repent, and seek restoration to His best intentions.

If criticism is about this particular method or any other which we have and will embrace in this movement to "save" the PCUSA from the dark forces which have slithered into its leadership, we urge you to do something for Christ's sake rather than using your gifts, energy, and time to criticize those who are doing something.

If criticism employs inane rationalizations about disturbing the peace, unity, and purity of the franchise by refusing to fund connections increasingly disconnected from Biblical Christianity, please...

Blessings and Love!