Monday, December 29, 2008

December 29, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



I'll never forget the speck-inspecting trustee in my first church over three decades ago who met with me so regularly to report the sins of others.

When he died, his sons found a stash of porn in his workshop that would make Paris Hilton blush; and his wife turned the whiter shade of pale at the funeral as several women unknown to her or anybody else in the church showed up.

I learned two lessons.

First, the best way to prevent folks from noticing that your house is burning down is to light fires in their backyards.

Second, anyone who trumpets her/his morality and how "All-is-well-with-me-and-mine-nothing-to-see-here" is like WJC who didn't inhale or have sex with ML.

It goes back to the garden.


One of the neat things about Christianity is His forgiving Spirit; which His people are supposed to extend if they want some for themselves.

Read Matthew 6:12, 14-15.

As long as we don't ignore the personal ingredient in that recipe, a buddy in Missouri is right on: "I sin. God forgives. What a great deal."


Speaking of pardons, GWB can't even get that right!

He pardons a guy one day and then unpardons the same guy the next day; reminding us why lots of folks still question what he knew or didn't know when he took on Iraq.

Regardless, which is how you gotta look at that kinda stuff or you'll get hooked on St. John's Wort, GWB has been real stingy about pardons; ranking way behind JFK, LBJ, RMN, GF, JC, RR, and WJC.

Maybe he'll pop for one for his VP before 1/20/09.


Do you remember how Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon before he was indicted for anything?

Well, considering how everybody would like a break from the past and fresh start coupled with the messianic delusions surrounding PBHO, I think GWB should pardon everybody related to PBHO in a pre-emptive kinda way; including, uh, him for any dots which can be connected to the Blago mess.

Yeah, I know VP JB has reported that an internal investigation of PBHO and his transitional/emerging/whatever staff by his transitional/emerging/whatever staff has cleared PBHO and his transitional/emerging/whatever staff of any wrongdoing with Blago or any of those other really bad guys in Chicago which PBHO and his transitional/emerging/whatever staff really don't know in any close kinda ways except for obligatory photo ops and an occasional cup of coffee at Starbucks on Michigan Avenue or game on the South Side; but if you believe that, you're a good candidate for membership in the Manson, Jones, Koresh, or Jackson(s) families.



I think GWB should just pardon 'em right now, and, while he's at it, pardon PBHO for not being born in the USA if that's true; which will save us all from all of the aggravations of litigation that will inhibit him from delivering.

Or something like that.


Speaking of fresh starts, here are the KD power rankings for the NFL playoffs:

1. Giants (12-4) - I sang it around this time last year and
I'm singin' it again: "Eli's Coming!"

2. Colts (12-4) - Big brother is hotter than Jennifer Aniston's
latest photo shoot.

3. Steelers (12-4) - With a serviceable QB surrounded by
superstars and a superb head coach who would
have won several SBs with his predecessor's
rosters, Iron City may need more fingers over
the next few years.

4. Eagles (9-6-1) - DM may not know the rules, but he's
flying high and that thrashing of those criminals
from Dallas was no fluke.

5. Ravens (11-5) - Speaking of criminals, they've got a
real killer at LB; and Pitt will always be remembered
for sending Flacco to Delaware because Palko can
lead teams to the next level.

6. Panthers (12-4) - Who? North Carolina is about
basketball, baby!

7. Titans (13-3) - They're not Young enough and
more overrated than the blonde chick who
can't even get custody of her kids from the
wannabe rapper.

8. Cardinals (9-7) - While the Patriots can't figure
out how an 11-5 team with the best head
coach ain't playin' in January, watch out
for this team! With Eric Liddell at QB
tossin' the loaf to the NFL's two best
wideouts, this team is a spoiler!

9. Dolphins (11-5) - The Big Tuna is back!
I wonder how the owner/GM in Dallas
is feelin' about now?

10. Vikings (10-6) - Considering how they
piled up wins in the NFC's North,
they have about as much of a chance
as Sarah Palin in 2012.

11. Falcons (11-5) - Their future is not now;
but they've got the best young QB
in the NFL. Didn't Vick play in
Atlanta at one time?

12. Chargers (8-8) - If PR were QBing the
Steelers, Iron City would forget the
Steel Curtain days! I'm glad Ed the
referee is off the hook, but please...

If that imbecile in jail were still on the roster, I'd bet my motorcycle on a repeat.

Of course, I don't have a motorcycle; so your guess is as good as mine.

Go Giants!


Everybody wants/needs a fresh start in some way.

Too many people think they're doomed to stay stuck in the past:

Jesus has something better in mind for anyone who embraces Him:


I'm praying your new year is filled with 'em in any way you need 'em!

Jesus is always as close as your heart to a fresh start.

As my old friend and former Chaplain of the US Senate (LO) likes to say, "Let God love you!"


A friend who tends to my soul was provoked by yesterday's KD, which highlighted the simplicity of Christianity which is too often obscured by the darkly unenlightened, sent some encouragement to me for the new year which I'm heralding to you:


Blessings and Love!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

December 28, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



We are pastors in the same franchise.

He leans one way and I lean another; meaning we rarely vote together on anything dealing with Biblical faith and morality.

He sent a "Motorcycle Mania" 2009 calendar to me for Christmas with a note: "I hope this helps until you get a chrome pony."

I wept.


We live in ghettoes of homogeneity; and it's very comfortable.

Bikers, golfers, athletes, Rotarians, Kiwanians, and the like are glued together by common interests overcoming segregating idiosyncrasies.

While the tie that binds is even stronger in the Church, many churches go about their more than His business in devilish ways; obsessing over the incidentals and enabling discriminating distances so alien to why He came, died, rose, and reigns.


If I am weary of holier-than-Thou-and-thee-hyper-theologies which divide and dissipate energies, emotions, and resources to advance the Kingdom, I cannot begin to fathom His pain after loving us to death.

Increasingly, I cannot bear reading Matthew 23:37-39.

I am convinced churches are ghettoes of homogeneity which insult His reconciling sacrifices: enfleshment and crucifixion.


One of my favorite things about Christianity as patterned in Jesus and prescribed in the Bible is its inclusiveness with no allowances for favoritism by color, class, culture, or holier-than-Thou-and-thee-hyper-theologies.

I like the Church being easier to join than most fraternities, sororities, clubs, and other "exclusive" sociopoliticoreligio, uh, organizations.

All you gotta do to get tight with Him and His is love Him and love like Him.


You can be right about everything; but if you're wrong about Jesus, you're in a heap of trouble.

You can be wrong about everything; but if you're right about Jesus, you're gonna overcome life's damnable homogeneities and wake up to a life even better than this one can ever be after the last breath.

It's the difference between the homogeneous bastardizations of Christianity and the rainbow-colored heterogeneity of the faithful.


Paul and Silas were pretty simple about it.

They were asked, "What must I do to be saved?"

They answered, "Believe in Jesus and you'll be saved."


Luther said, "Good works don't make a person good; but a good person does good works."

Calvin talked about showing the signs of being saved.

In other words, if you're headed to heaven, you behave more heavenly than hellishly.


How do you live more heavenly than hellishly?

While it will come as a surprise to our holier-than-Thou-and-thee-hyper-theologians who write volumes on belief and behavior consistent with belief, I don't know anybody who can improve on Matthew 5-7; and my guess is there's enough for us in there to keep us busy now until then.

Whenever anyone asks what to believe and how to behave as a believer, I tell 'em to get a Bible with the words of Jesus in red letters; and then read 'em, meditate on 'em, memorize 'em, and pray and labor to imitate 'em.

I don't know of a more clear, concise, comprehensive, and compelling course on Christianity.

In fact, and I know I'll catch, uh, hell for saying this, anybody who says it's more complicated than that is full of, uh, her/himself.


I didn't get a chrome pony for Christmas.

I got something much better.

A friend of Jesus reminded me of our friendship through Him; and with so many segregating temptations, my hope in Biblical Christianity's peace, unity, and purity was refreshed.



Blessings and Love!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December 23, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Christmas is celebrated on December 25 to commemorate the enfleshment of God
Lord and Savior!



My children and wife have complained about Kopper being on the wallpaper/screensaver of my cellular.

I said it's because he always greets me with body shaking, tail and tongue wagging, inviting whimpers, and passion for hugging and cuddling.

My youngest: "Oh, now I get it."


I've been a pastor for over three decades; and over those years, folks have dropped off books for me to read and, admittedly, I haven't read them because the stack of what I've wanted to read has always been high enough without any help.

Surely, the intentions have been noble; except for the occasional recommendation scarcely concealing passive-aggressive contempt to reshape my life and ministry into an image/icon more palatable to the bearer so often related to a predecessor or religious personality like the inaugural intercessor or toothy guy in Texas.

I've become a tough old boy after too many years of spiritual warfare in our sociopoliticoreligio culture. I've got lots of calluses and my naiveté along with romance for life and ministry have dissipated over the years. When you're always putting on the armor and heading off to battle the darkness in this world and worldly church...

Be that as it is, there's a friend in our family of faith who our Lord keeps touching to touch me through books that I need to read for the joyful edifications in 'em. She has a precious and sensitive sense of what He wants me to read and absorb into my soul to increasingly align my heart with His.

Recently, she gave Kevin Alan Milne's The Paperbag Christmas to me; and His Holy Spirit of Christmas has been refreshed in me!

While I won't spoil the story for you, it's about receiving what you never wanted for Christmas.

Some excerpts: "Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas. All else is outward display - so much tinsel and decorations...Christmas began in the heart of God. It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man."

The author quotes Dickens: "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."

He also quotes Whittier: "Somehow, not only for Christmas but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing the poor and lonely and sad, the more of your heart's possessing returns to you glad."

Here are my favorite lines which I think the author got from Him: "One day, this child will tell those who follow Him, 'If you love me, keep my commandments...Love one another, as I have loved you'...There is no worldly gift that He needs. He does not ask for gold, or wealth, or money. He asks only that we love others."

Those are teases around a theme that drove me to my knees in tears, thanksgiving, wonder, love, praise, and passion to hug and cuddle.


I've been preaching on Christmas Eve and Easter Day for so long; but I still feel like a just reborn Christian when it comes to preaching about Christmas and Easter.

Christmas and Easter.

You can't have one without the other.



Pretty divine stuff.

I'm just too human to grasp all of it.


Of course, I've been seeing glimpses of what it all means for as long as I can remember.

Even years of formal education haven't ruined it for me; and there's always that cautioning echo from an early mentor: "Don't separate yourself from God and His people by degrees."

Come to think of it, all of my memories point to the meaning of it all.


Easter Day or, better said, the day of our Lord's resurrection, certifies Christmas as the enfleshment of God: Emmanuel (viz., "God-with-us").

John 1:1-18 provides the best definition of enfleshment.

But it's Christmas; so we'll concentrate on those memories and get back to Easter when the weather warms up.


My earliest memory is spending a lot of time after Thanksgiving in the book that seemed to capture so much of the season for me; paging through it with so much excitement, anticipation, and amazement: the Sears Christmas Catalogue.

Actually, I'd spend lots of time in that catalogue after Christmas too; which reminds me of a friend who confessed, "Anyone who thinks Christmas doesn't last all year doesn't have credit cards."

Shirley Temple: "I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph."

Maybe that's why I often return to my favorite prayer book when the meaning gets confused with its marketing: "We ask, Lord, for ourselves the most meaningful Advent season we have ever known...And grant that when Christmas morning breaks for us this year, we may have something more to show for our much running about than tired feet, wrapped presents, and regrets for cards not sent" (Ernie Campbell's Where Cross the Crowded Ways).


I know Christmas is about Jesus, but the holly spirit seems to squeeze out the Holy One a lot; which reminds me of the sign that I saw in a hardware store display window so long ago: "Artificial Trees with Real Christmas Spirit."

Even Kopper looks for trees.

We need Spirit.

Some merchants even substitute "Happy Holidays" for "Merry Christmas" and some critics refer to Advent as "Sparkle Season"; which brings an exchange between Lucy and Charlie Brown to mind. Lucy says, "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown. Since it's this time of the season, I think we ought to bury past differences and try to be kind." Charlie Brown asks, "Why does it just have to be this time of the season?" Lucy looks at him incredulously and shouts, "What are you, some kind of fanatic?"

Charlie Brown would have liked Charles Spurgeon: "To a renewed soul, every day should be the birthday of the Savior."


Lots of folks don't get it; like the woman who called in to a talk show, "I wish the church would just stay out of Christmas."

Even those who are getting close to the meaning can miss it.

I've heard of the old wealthy woman who wanted to leave her entire estate to a televangelist in Texas; but when she visited him and saw how he was living such a lavish lifestyle, she questioned how he would use the money. He said, "I will use all of the money for Heeeeeeiiiiiim; and I know you wouldn't expect Heeeeeeiiiiiim to live in a barn."


I know Christmas is about Jesus, but I remember shoveling snow on Christmas Eve and waiting for Grandma and Grandpa Kopp to drive in from NYC.

They always brought the best presents.

I remember sneaking some of that special egg nog, eating all of those cookies, and avoiding that darn old mistletoe.


I stopped avoiding mistletoe in around 11th grade.


We'd go to midnight mass together.

It meant something to addition to the mistletoe.

Bess Streeter Aldrich: "Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart...filled it, too, with melody that would last forever."


Getting back to snow, Christmas and snow have always gone together for me.

Maybe that's why I'll never move to Florida.

I like snow because it covers up holes, junk, trash, dead plants, scarred landscapes, and other unsightly and depressing things.

Yes, I like snow.

It reminds me of Christmas.

It's a metaphor.


I almost forgot about waiting for my dad to come home from war at Christmas.

Maybe that's why I always think of Christmas when I hear about wars; especially when we celebrate Him as the Prince of Peace by buying toy soldiers, plastic assault weapons, and those terribly violent video games for our children.

Maybe that's why I keep going back to those words from Henry Van Dyke which the first pastor to make any sense to me used to repeat almost every Christmas Eve: "Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children; to remember the weakness, the loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you and ask yourself whether you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear in their hearts; to try to understand what those who live in the same house with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you? Then you can keep Christmas. And if you can keep it for a day, why not always? But you can never keep it alone."


The 60s and 70s weren't the best times for Christmas.

I remember a Doonesbury cartoon from 1970 that had Megaphone Mark falling asleep with this thought above his head: "It's Christmas Eve as a tired, disappointed and disillusioned student activist drops off to sleep."

The next frame shows him sleeping; but then the frame after that has him stirring awake as he's startled by noise as he exclaims, "I thought I heard reindeer."


I think everyone, deep down inside 'em, is like Megaphone Mark; waiting and hoping and anticipating Someone more than something to wake 'em from slumber.

Come to think of it, I don't remember many Christmas gifts.

Yes, I liked 'em and was always appropriately thankful; but I don't really remember many of 'em.


I do remember most of the warm stuff that I've already mentioned; and Who was behind it.


Truth is all of my memories point to Him; or as Christina G. Rosetti put it, "Love was born at Christmas."


Yes, Christmas is about Jesus.

Him loving us.

Us loving Him.

Loving Him by loving like Him.


But it begins with Him.

He loves first.

John 3:16 amplifies John 1:1-18.

We've been celebrating ever since.

Charlie Brown is right!


Michael W. Smith often talks about "Smithizing" music for popular consumption; meaning he soups up old Gospel songs and converts the secular to sacred.

He got that from Luther who used to put Christian lyrics to bar tunes.

Be that as it was/is/should/be, I remember an old Paul McCartney song that sounds like the ultimate romance sealed by Christmas and Easter: "Maybe I'm amazed at the way You love me all the time...Maybe I'm amazed at the way I really need You...Maybe I'm amazed at the way You're with me all the time...Maybe I'm amazed at the way You help me sing my song...Right me when I'm wrong...Maybe I'm amazed at the way I really need You..."


Yes, I've been preaching on Christmas Eve and Easter Day for a long time.

Here's what I remember most: "Don't be afraid! I bring good news of great joy for all people! A Savior is born for you!"

He's all I need to remember for now and then.



Merry Christmas!


Blessings and Love!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

December 21, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Driving into church much earlier to make sure the temperature in the sanctuary satisfies no one for our annual joint service featuring our Doves (i.e., children's choir), it was -5 degrees; but I am feelin' much hotter now.

Finishing my Christmas shopping on Friday and heading home from a few hospital visits, my Caliber, which I can now buy brand new for less than I owe after nearly 40,000 miles, started riding roughly; so I showed up at my favorite local Chrysler dealership and service center at 7:15 a.m. on Saturday.

The good news is it was just some ice caught somewhere that was causing the rough ride.

The bad news is my chrome pony fund now stands at -$998.35: $157.34 already laid out for replacing spark plugs and "setting everything back to factory specifications" - Whatever the heaven that means! - and new tires - "Hey, buddy, these tires are balder than you! Ha! Ha! Ha!" - on Monday or Tuesday or...

Ho! Ho! Ho!


O.K., Bobby, get with Him:


I'd like to thank a continuing subscriber in North Carolina for the preceding return to the reason for all seasons.


Speaking of seasonal specials, California's Senator Diane Feinstein, Chairwoman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, announced the program for the 56th Presidential Inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on 1/20/09.


Here's the liturgy with a few italicized KD inspirations/indigestions:

Musical Selections by the United States Marine Band as over
50% of America cross their hearts while less than 50%
cross their fingers.

Musical Selections by the San Francisco Boys Chorus and
the San Francisco Girls Chorus which begs a joke or two
but now's not the time.

Call to Worship - I mean Order - and Welcoming Remarks
by Senator Feinstein.

Invocation by Fuller D.Min. Rick Warren; and while Jesse and
Jeremiah are still hotter than I was at 4:28 a.m. and MSNBC's
aspiring Pennsylvania Senator Chris Matthews says Jeremiah
is "way left" and Saddleback's pudgy pastor is "way right," I'm
wondering with that Calvinist club if he's gonna pray in Jesus'
name or just do a promo for February's simulcast of his
forthcoming book on The Purpose of the Presidency. You
gotta believe in tune viewers are gonna count how many times
he says purpose like visiting mainliners to our family of faith
count how many times I say Jesus.

Musical Selection by Aretha Franklin which reminds me that
I love to sing "A Natural Woman" unless I'm around my
homophobic peers or gay friends. Anyway, I wonder what
she'll sing. If it's a tribute to PBHO's non-connections in
Chicago, it could be "Chain of Fools" or "Who's Zoomin'
Who?" But if she stays with the, uh, purpose, I'm thinkin'
it'll be more like "Dr. Feelgood" or "Mr. Bigstuff" or
"I Never Loved a Man Like..."

Oath of Office Administered to VP Joe Biden as Scranton
throws coal at the tube and the rest of America kneels
in prayer for PBHO's health.

Musical Selections by some Classical Types which
____ off the hip-hoppers.

Oath of Office Administered to PBHO accompanied
by a releasing of doves by

Inaugural Address which will say nothing eloquently.

Poem but not by Frost.

Benediction by The Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery who has
paid enough dues to elude sarcasm.

The National Anthem by The United States Navy Band
Sea Chanters with words escaping a lot of those non-
connections back in Chicago.


Staying on politics for another moment, Al Franken has stolen - I mean taken - I mean seized - I mean forged into - I mean assumed - I mean, uh, geez, I dunno - the lead in the Minnesota Senate race.


That proves American politics are certifiably a joke.


Speaking of jokes, Caroline Kennedy really wants to carpetbag her way to NY's Senate seat to succeed carpetbagging Hillary Clinton.


That proves Americans are really like formerly Great Britain's subjects who like royal families in pseudo-charge of stuff: Kennedys, Bushes, Clintons...

But not to worry, while she has no political experience at all and no opinions on anything except being for same-sex nuptials which is actually the most important issue in the world as well as mainline denominations, sweet Caroline has not voted in so many elections, including at least one race for the job she covets (1994), that she just may be incompetent enough to fit right in with the current cast in D.C.

Her spokesman Stefan Friedman: "Caroline Kennedy [Hey! Hey! Hey! What about her legal last name? Is she gonna drop it for political reasons? Say it isn't so!] recognizes just how important it is to vote and has a very strong record of going to the polls...She has not voted on a handful of occasions over the last two decades."

Yeah, she fits in quite well.


Help us, Jesus!



Blessings and Love!

Friday, December 19, 2008

December 19, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


I was featured in "Get to Know Me" on page 4D of yesterday's Rockford Register Star (12/18/08).

I made 100 copies of it for my mom.

Kathie has provided links via so you can check out the preparations and what ended up in print; and don't forget to use those other links when you're buying books from along with so many other opportunities to make the season bright for, uh, us (Check out what happens with 35% of all receipts!).

I took a copy to my cheerful friends at Starbucks; and they didn't offer a discount for my favorite blend (Venti!).

They did point out that the paper's obituaries began on page 5D.

It was a reality check.


Yesterday's KD, which devoted a lot of space to music and those proverbial worship wars, was another reality check.

From Michigan: "While I'm a regular reader and subscriber, which means I must be interested, yesterday's edition on 'worship wars' was especially good and helpful to me even if some of your tastes in music suck."

From North Carolina (a woman who asked to be added to the mailing list before hit cyberspace): "Please remove me from your mailing list."

Back to pops of Moonstruck: "I'ma so confused."


Speaking of confusion, PBHO picked Rick Warren for the invocation at his inauguration on 1/20/09.

Though his ministry seems more like an industry these days, I've always kinda liked him; and God knows people like him a lot more than they like me as witnessed by his book sales alone! I think he's running about a zillion sales ahead of me. Reality check!

Be that as it is, I'm wondering how Jesse and Jeremiah are feeling about being left off the program.

Oh, I forgot!

PBHO doesn't really know them that well; or just about anybody else in Chicago which, uh, is really helpful about now.

Parenthetically, it seems Jesse's son did offer to buy PBHO's Senate seat from Blago; which proves the apple doesn't shakedown far from the tree.

Again, it's good to know none of those dots connecting all of those fruitcakes in Chicago include you know who!

Anyway, gays and a lot of straights are ticked by the inaugural intercessor.

Here's a sampling:

Joe Solmonese, a gay guy with the Human Rights Campaign:
"It's a genuine blow (sic) to LGBT Americans."

People for the American Way: "It's a grave disappointment.
He has said that the real difference between James
Dobson and himself is one of tone rather than

Stephen Walt, Harvard Professor: "The decision tells you
two things about PBHO. First, he has terrible taste
in preachers...Second, PBHO may claim to be
influenced by Niebuhr, but this step is more
worthy of Machiavelli."

Greg Dworkin, a Contributing Editor for the Daily Kos:
"The problem with Rick Warren is his anti-gay agenda.
That's simply unacceptable in modern society."

Julian Zelizer, Princeton Professor: "This is a bad
decision...Warren has made many statements
that are deeply offensive to women and

Christine Pelosi, Attorney: "On a national day of unity,
I would have vastly preferred someone who respects
women's reproductive freedom and full equality for
LGBT people...This is tough to accept."

Joy Behar, The View: "I don't think it's appropriate.
It's like putting, you know, Cheney in charge of
gun control. It's wrong."

You gotta love Behar! She thinks Ralph Nader is "sexy" and talking about faith in public is "impinging on the Constitution"; which prompts me to say having Warren pray on PBHO's big day is like putting Joy in charge of Mensa.

Moretheless, PBHO's honeymoon seems be drawing to a surprisingly quick close; or as KD predicted on 12/3/08: "PBHO is gonna be a pleasant surprise to those who voted against him while an increasing frustration for those who voted for him with celestial expectations."

People who voted against him don't expect much while those who voted for him expect too much.

It's the difference between reality and fantasy; which is confusing to folks with meager discernments.


The Yankees come to mind.

Everybody's bantering and moaning about the Yankees being up to their old tricks of buying the best players.

You gotta look at the bright side!

It means we're coming out of the depression already!

It also means PBHO's socialist buddies may not be able to kill free enterprise as soon as they'd hoped.


Getting back to 1/20/09, a question from Missouri: "Do you think it is possible that the invitation of Rick Warren to do the invocation at the inauguration and the pseudo-outrage of the gay community over it more reflects a strategy of deflection on the part of PBHO from the enormous controversy festering over the 'Chicago Way' (I'm getting as good at run-on sentences as you are!)?"

I dunno.

I'm so confused.

Confessionally, your question wouldn't have made the final edit if I didn't discern some merit in it.


Ann Curry of NBC's Dateline interviewed the pudgy pastor from Saddleback:

A: "Your position on gay marriage has raised the specter
that you are homophobic."

R: Laughs.

A: "You laugh, but that is why gay people are angry."

R: "Well, I could give you a hundred..."

A: "Are you homophobic?"

R: "I don't know any church in America that's done
more to help the gay community, particularly
with AIDS, than Saddleback. But the hate speech
against me is incendiary."

A: "If science finds that this is biological, that people
are born gay, would you change your position?"

R: "No, and the reason why is because we all have
biological predispositions. I'm naturally inclined
to have sex with every beautiful woman I see.
But that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do."



There's an interesting "pool" going around Calvinistic circles: "What do you think? Will 'evangelical' Rick Warren offer his inaugural prayer in Christ's name; or will he succumb to the theology of accommodation?"

The OGD wrote, "America cannot celebrate its diversity by reducing all things to their lowest common denominator. Rather, the beauty of being multi-cultural comes from each being faithful to his own while respecting others. So the question is: 'Will Rick Warren be faithful to his?'"

An addendum: "It seems our new President is already having a unifying effect on the country: just about everybody, left and right, think this was a poor choice."


Speaking of poor choices, I know some folks ain't gonna like what's reported in the first section of this KD.

One guy wrote already: "I didn't know you were a biker. You don't look the part."

O.K., they come in sheep's clothing...

I wrote to the editor: "Thanks so much for a great summary of what you asked me to provide for you! You're an accurate, caring, and competent journalist...Also, I'll keep sending editions of Kopp Disclosure to you because: (1) There are nights when all of us have a hard time falling asleep; (2) everyone needs a little salt in their diet; and (3) I keep praying someone will actually bite at the opportunities..."

Where's the address for that woman in North Carolina?

Maybe she'll reconsider...


Recalling another biting experience, I had a very disheartening moment with the editor of a major newspaper about seven or eight years ago which seems almost apocalyptic juxtaposed to the media manipulations of our current sociopoliticoreligio culture.

I suggested it would be nice if the editor, a pewsitter in our franchise, reported on the Confessing Church Movement's growth and influence in the PCUSA.

Response: "I am against the CCM and I will do everything that I can to make sure it doesn't succeed."

Response to response: "I thought your job was to report the news and then maybe comment on it rather than decide what is to be reported with or without comment."

Come to think of it, that was our last conversation.

Now where's that book by Coleen Cook which explains all of this (viz., All That Glitters - A News-Person Explores the World of Television)?


God only knows why a song just came to mind:


Blessings and Love!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

December 18, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Music aligns the heart for better or worse.

Some for the better:

Some for the worse:


My tastes are eclectic.


Mozart:; and here are two from Wolfgang that peek into my soul (and don't take the bait for the obviously pejorative): and








That sampling explains why shrinks stand no chance with me.


Tastes differ; causing collisions in the church called "worship wars."

Some churches approach the problem through education; reminding folks that God works through different styles in a 1 Corinthians 12 kinda way.

Of course, I recall the fellow who said, "Yeah, I've learned a lot about classical church music, learned I still hate it, and decided to change churches if you keep playing it."

Some churches acknowledge the differences and allow for different worship experiences every Sunday: monastic, traditional, contemporary, and, uh, whatever.

Of course, that can cause different constituencies who never really connect in the same church. For example, we had a great joint worship service last week for our annual chancel choir cantata with pretty good attendance and we're going to have a great joint worship service this week for our annual children's program and expect really great attendance; but at least half of our 7:30 regulars, about a quarter of our 8:30 regulars, and over half of our 10:30 regulars did not adjust their calendars or tastes to come together for, essentially, one style of worship. We'll see what happens this week.

Some churches, especially those with one service, try hybrid styles which means the same people are psyched or p___ during some parts of every service and often end up drifting off to a church with a more palatable style; and some churches, especially those with one service, change styles as often as they rotate leadership which means they're in a constant state of decline as the people who leave always exceed those who stay because the people who stay only stay as long as...

Or something like that.


Personally, I like most styles; and as long as Jesus is Lord in a Biblical kinda way, I can usually hang in for an hour or so even if I think the music is really awful.

Prophetically, I've always believed we must endure different styles as long as the substance is consistent with Biblical Christianity in cognizance of one inspirational source.

Practically, people come and go...


I asked some worship leaders to comment.


From California: "The style of worship music is a reflection of the attempt by the church to balance the reverent and the contemporary. As a result, polar examples abound including really meaningful or really terrible music."

The studied San Diegoan continues, "Traditional hymn worship is essentially linear, meaning it tells a story...Contemporary worship music is essentially circular, meaning it often uses one basic theme and repeats it again and again..."

"What is missing," he insists, "in every church I have attended is worship education. There is no coherent explanation of worship from the pulpit or in adult education classes..."

He concludes, "What is also missing is a dedication to eclectic worship. There is room for all styles of worship - as long as they are reverent...In all cases, worship should be sung from the depths of your heart. Timid or tepid worship is a reflection of the lack of a believer's fire."


From Missouri: "We started a contemporary worship service which experienced strong growth in just four months. While it never outgrew the traditional service, the powers that be were determined to elimnate the service and did. Why? Their answer: 'We don't want that kind of worship as our musical legacy.'"

He laments, "That's the idiotic mindset of so many mainline churches. We lost all of our young people when the contemporary service was dropped. And where are the young people in the PCUSA? Smart, very smart."


From Oklahoma: "I see a lot of 'worshippers' exposing who they really are worshipping...themselves! You see that when 'performers' receive their inevitable praise and forget to give the glory to God!...Oh, can't forget this one! The war between the generations! The younger generation is always saying how the older crowd needs to get with the program, blow the dust and cobwebs away, and bring in fresh, new worship. The older generation often resists the changes in worship styles; calling the new stuff too disrespectful, too loud, and too hard to learn."

"Thankfully," she, uh, gives thanks, "we have bridged the generation gap in our church and our younger crowd loves to sing older hymns and our older crowd will worship with as much enthusiasm with the new style as the younger crowds do."


Near the Football Hall of Fame in Ohio: "Jesus wants more people to come into church to worship Him and learn how to love each other. Yet I suggested buying a bus to transport folks without transportation from a local rest home. An elder (?) scoffed, 'Sonny, you're crazy if you think we're going to do anything like that even for Jesus Himself!'"

After the preceding metaphor for "worship wars," he provides another, "I was asked, 'What are your ideas about changing the service, Pastor!?' So I said something about how the church where I was ordained always stood up for the reading of the Gospel Lesson. The patriarch of the church shot me down: 'All this is very interesting, Pastor, but you don't understand. The people of this congregation just won't stand for the Gospel!'"


From Chicago: "I heard Leonard Sweet talk about a church that wanted to reach young people for Jesus. So he asked these questions: (1) Would you be willing to give up your retirement years to see your grandchildren come to Jesus? All of them raised their hands enthusiastically!; (2) Would you be willing to give everything you own to see your grandchildren come to Jesus? All of them raised their hands without delay!; and (3) How many of you would be willing to change the music you use in worship to see your grandchildren come to Jesus? Only a few hands went up; and there was a great deal of rustling around and murmuring."

"Sweet," he reports, "told them that changing the worship music is actually the easiest and least sacrificial way to reach their grandchildren for Jesus. He said they should do it. He was not invited back."

"No wonder," he ends, "we have a problem being relevant."


Near Cleveland as in Ohio: "Worship wars expose people who worship themselves instead of God."


Speaking of music, Jeremiah Wright is really into it by all accounts; but a lot of subscribers aren't into him.

Except for a mentor and continuing inspiration in New Jersey, that's clear after mentioning him in the last edition.

A representative response from Washington (not D.C.): "Jeremiah Wright may not be 'as bad as crackers say he is' but he does have problems with history; which should cast a long shadow of aspersion on his other alleged qualifications to stand in a pulpit. He was invited back to his church on December 7; and, apparantly, he believes the US dropped the Hiroshima bomb to kill Japanese civilians. What a revision of history! That happened but it was not the intent! This man continues to show he is either a moron, a liar, or badly deceived...Didn't Paul advise that not many should become teachers; for as such they would incur stricter judgment?"

I don't think he receives McCormick Notes.



So many strong opinions; unlike me.

Be that as it's not, there's a friend in our family of faith who seems to know when I'm feeling kinda down; which I am about now after some of the preceding commentary.

Anyway, he came in to see me not too long ago and asked, "Who ministers to you?"

I said, "Well, I've got about four peers who care and bear and share with me; but just you asking brings great comfort and encouragement to me."

Then he sent something to me which I often use when my heart needs some holy alignment:


Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

December 16, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


It's been colder than America's relationship with Republicans in Northern Illinois over the past 48 hours.

It's so cold that I put out a bucket of hot water to wash my car windows, went back into the house, came back out, and the water froze so quickly that the ice was still warm.

What do you call Santa's helpers?

Subordinate clauses.



Grandpa Jacob comes to mind because he's the inspiration for those lame attempts at humor in the previous section.

He went home to Jesus when I still had a motorcycle and didn't have to beg people to use our website to google or buy books from those Amazoners so I can get another one before the parousia.

My favorite story, a metaphor for mainliners and everyone else exercising ostrich ecclesiology/politics, comes from Grandpa Jacob who told it to me every night before bedtime on 59-26 Grove Street in the Ridgewood section of NYC.

Anyway, Mutt and Jeff decide to build a soundproof room to make their fortune.

After completing it, they test it.

Jeff goes into the room, closes the door, and Mutt calls out, "Can you hear me?"

"No," Jeff responds.


Speaking of folks who turn off the truth in favor of fantasies substituting for realities, I predicted the PCUSA - a typical mainline denomination for sideliners - would invite Jeremiah Wright to speak at its biennial big meeting aka General Assembly last summer; recalling how they embraced Angela Davis when she was pooping on America and traditional values.

Two publishers wouldn't print my prediction because they said it was over the top, cynical, sarcastic, obnoxious, fictitious, hyperbolic, hysterical, and just plain awful.

Round one.

He didn't speak at the PCUSA's GA last summer.

Round two.

Yesterday, I received my copy - maybe last one - of McCormick Notes (Fall/Winter 2008); which is the PR rag of Chicago's McCormick Theological Seminary which is one of the PCUSA's official seminaries or educational/spiritual institutions called/dedicated to nurturing women and men with a beruf to honor Jesus in a Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 kinda way.

Guess who is featured on page 9?

Heeeeee's baaaaaack!

When our pastor for children and youth saw it, he exclaimed, "We're always doing our best to make new friends."


I wrote to MTS:

Dear ___,

Though I am not an alumnus of Chicago's McCormick
Theological Seminary, I have appreciated receiving
McCormick Notes.

I was rather stunned by the timing of featuring
Jeremiah Wright in your Fall/Winter 2008
issue which arrived today (12/15/08): "Learn
Something About Their Story. That's Your

Back in the summer, I joked with friends about
our denomination (PCUSA) inviting him to speak
to our General Assembly as continuing evidence
of our thanatos libido.

While these particular excerpts from his
presentations at McCormick last spring as part
of the Paul Allen Lectures are rather innocuous,
I'm puzzled by the motivation for publishing his
comments at this time.

Regardless, I appreciate being on your
mailing list; and you certainly caught my
attention with this edition.

Blessings and Love!

Response: "Thank you for reaching out and reading! The timing was simply a matter of adjusting our publication date to coincide with another project. We ran an excerpt for the published article on our website some time ago and just haven't had the opportunity to run it in print until now. Fortunately, the subjects of our conversation were 'timeless' issues so I think it worked well."



Admittedly, aside from the excerpts being mostly innocuous which may be a part of some kinda image rehab program, one caught my attention in a very positive way: "Don't buy into the stereotypes. Learn something about their story. That's your job."

Truth - that word again - is Jeremiah Wright is not as bad as crackers say nor as good as people who hate America and traditional values assume.

A mentor and continuing inspiration from New Jersey knows him personally; and says he's a much nicer guy than I've reported.

I guess that's why I like that quote in the first sentence of this section.



Speaking of stereotypes, did you catch Saturday's SNL sketch on New York Governor David Paterson?

It pokes fun at Paterson who is blind and has a notorious reputation as a womanizer and drug abuser; not to mention his predecessor who resigned because he was deeply into, uh, hookers.

Parenthetically, am I the only one who thinks America's sociopoliticoreligio culture has become just one big sitcom?

Be that as it was/is, Fred Armisen's Paterson - he also does a good PBHO - talks with Amy and Seth about his prerogative to replace Senator Clinton who's now cozy in PBHO's Cabinet and provides three prerequisites for her successor: economic experience, upstate influence, and somebody with a disability who is as unprepared for the job as he was when he took over for the last, uh, John.

Well, the National Federation of the Blind didn't/doesn't like it.

I saw it:

If I were blind, I wouldn't see the humor either.


Staying on hyper-sensitivities, Charles Barkley ripped his alma mater for picking an European-American over an African-American as Auburn's new football coach: "I think race was the #1 factor...You can say it's not about race, but you can't compare the two resumes and say Chizik deserved the job over Gill. Out of all the coaches they interviewed, Chizik probably had the worst resume."

Calls to Notre Dame for a complementary comment were not returned.

Keith Ubermacht and Rachel Maddening blamed GWB while Chris Matthews felt that strange tingle coming up or down his leg again and reported PBHO will heal, uh, everyone/everything.



Speaking of PBHO, what a relief to hear an internal investigation by PBHO's staff proves no inappropriate behavior on his part in Illinois' Blago mess.

BTW, anyone see or hear from the Jacksons or Rehm lately?

Word on the streets is U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's life insurance policy has expired.


And so we close another KD with a tribute to Blago and all of those Chicago miscreants who are not PBHO's comrades or connected to him in any way other than affection for the Bears:


Blessings and Love!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

December 14, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Do you remember when Florida helped GWB gore environmental guru Al about eight years ago?

Well, America is now blaming Illinois for the "Chicago Way" and 2nd City cellar dwellers like Ayers, Blago, Durbin, Jackson(s), Wright, The Boss' offspring, organized crime, Ryan(s), Calypso Louie, and just about everybody but PBHO who isn't really close to any of 'em for, uh, I guess, the collapse of Western Civilization as well as our nation's economy; which comes as a great relief to GWB who had been considered the chief culprit.

Truth is most folks in Illinois are like most churches; claiming "they" don't really represent, uh, them.



I went to an executive "Self Awareness Workshop" in Greensboro, North Carolina about two decades ago; and one comment has really stuck with me: "You are not responsible for what others say and do. You are only responsible for what you say and do and how you respond to what others say and do."


That helps if you're living in Illinois or captive to a mainline denomination in which self-perpetuating-out-of-control-no-real-accountability-to-anybody-but-themselves bureaucracies have seized power over the purse strings as well as previously held standards of Biblical orthodoxy.



Staying on the subject of control, I think the Yankees are proving we're not really headed into a 30ish kinda depression.

So I'd assume folks are pleased with their recent dip into the market for free agents.

BTW, those folks who ain't pleased with the Yankees doin' their usual thing must be socialists.

Hey, it's all about free enterprise.

Is this a capitalist country or what?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, revenue sharing will save MLB and the good old USA.

Can you say Soviet Union?


Getting back to politics, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford got the 74th Heisman Trophy last night.

He's really good; but, uh, the season ain't over yet.

What if Florida's Tim Tebow leads the Gators to another title over the Sooners in the big game?

I thought the trophy was awarded to the best player of the year.

The year ain't over 'til it's over!


It's like PBHO's legions who want GWB to get out of town before 1/20/09.

That's not how those games are played.

Though I've disagreed with USA Today's founder Al Neuharth on several occasions, most notably on Joe Torre (google it), he makes me think which is a KD objective; and I agree with his assessment on the eve of the presentation: "The idea is great. The timing is terrible...Both have had a great season so far. But it's not over. To select one over the other before they face each other in the BCS finale in Miami on January 8 makes no sense."


Speaking of senselessness, PBHO does not qualify for this year's "Man of the Year" because Time has already compared him to Jesus.

He's too pure and perfect in every way for such a human award as witnessed by his rising above the ubiquitously incestuous politics of Chicago.


If you think Presidents Reagan and Clinton were coated with Teflon...


Whenever I've just asked questions about his past or motives, his disciples react like I'm spewing blasphemy or something.


That's why my "Man of the Year" is Tiger Woods.

Here are the nominating speeches:

Rocco Mediate: "He's just so hard to beat. He is
who he is. There's nothing else to say."

Hank Aaron: "As great as Jim Brown was, and as
great as Michael Jordan was, and as great as
anybody you'd want to keep mentioning,
I don't know of anybody who was as great
at his sport as this man is now. I mean,
he's totally incredible."

Geoff Ogilvy: "I just hope they've taught the
engraver how to put an asterisk on the
trophy" (speaking about the British
Open which was the first major in
10 years to be played without Tiger).

O.K., maybe he's more than human too.


I've received one complaint about some of my links to youtube; as people have looked down to the comments which youtube lists after some of their offerings.

Yeah, they can be pretty profane - kinda like Blago and Patty and Cubs fans in October.

Go back to the first paragraph of the third section.

Remember, I take full credit for what I say and do but not what others say and do or think I say and do; and I'm always ready to admit when I'm wrong and publish your contradictions if you don't insult my mother or Kopper.


Blessings and Love!

Friday, December 12, 2008

December 12, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


A BSA executive asked if I'd like to crawl into his sleeping bag with him because it was so cold.

A perky, stout, stacked, and self-righteous college church camp C-I-T proved one of Freud's theories by shelving her public holiness with a very private invitation into her sleeping bag on a very hot night.

Watergate made me feel good about my vote in that Presidential election.

Mainline denominations have been trying to demythologize and demote Jesus and Biblical revelation since I've been ordained.

Yeah, I've been connecting the dots for a long time; ruining any romance about our sociopoliticoreligio culture:

I don't need any convincing about original sin or total depravity.

Some say that's cynical and pejorative.

I say it's honest; which is why I'm more into the vertical solution (Jesus) than the, uh, horizontal one(s).


So I'm not shocked by the potty mouths of Illinois' first family.

Of course, you gotta remember I'm a pastor, professor, police chaplain, and president of a youth football league.

I hear that kinda language all of the time; especially when people think I'm not listening.

As Patty and Rod learned, "You better watch out...You better not..."


I'm really psyched about the dots of the totally depraved and politically incestuous "Chicago Way" not being connected to PBHO.

Evangelicals in mainline denominations know how he feels to be surrounded by such scoundrels.


Evangelicals in mainline denominations accommodate the scoundrels by confessional silence and financial support.

And while I know this is going to be really hard for his fans to entertain this, PBHO is either oblivious to what's happening around him like lots of pastors pretend to be about their denominations/congregations just to keep those pension credits piling up or disingenuous about what's happening around him like lots of pastors are about their denominations/congregations just to keep those pension credits piling up.


My dad called from Pennsylvania: "What the hell is going on in Illinois?"

He went on, "Are you people in Illinois trying to tell us that PBHO has no close connections with Ayers, Wright, Jackson(s), Blagowhat'shisname, The Boss' offspring, organized crime, and Ryan(s)?"



Bambi comes to mind.

Mrs. Rabbit reminded Thumper of an important lesson from his father: "If you can't say something nice...don't say nothing at all."


But Bambi asked, "What happened mother? Why did we all run?"

She answered, "Man was in the forest."

Then the Great Prince of the Forest warned, "It is man. He is here again. There are many this time. We must go deep into the forest. Hurry! Follow me!"


I don't know if Walt Disney drew a Christological metaphor or Calvinistic nightmare.

Now go back to the last three sentences of the first section.


When asked if he was aware of any dots connecting his staff to Blago, PBHO said, "Let me stop you there's an ongoing...investigation."

How transparent.

Such a refreshing change from the last eight years and eight before that.

Oh, that line from LN: "Nothing to see here! Return to your homes! Nothing to see here!"


Dr. Cullen IK Story went home to Jesus on 11/29/08 at 92.

He taught Greek at Princeton for a really long time; and made sure Rus, John, Paul(s), and so many others were ordained by going way over the top to help 'em with it.

He was among the most Christlike men in my life and so refreshingly confessional/committed compared to too many in his vocation; reminding me of John's observance, "I love Dr. Story so much. He prays with me. He's always encouraging me. He really believes in Jesus, Bob. And he also told me that I'm still flunking and he'll see me in summer school."

My favorite memory: "Bob, you get A's on all of your tests and I know you've got a good memory and can memorize the material. But I have to give a C to you because you only come to the lectures and never go to precepts."

He was right.

Connecting the dots, I look forward to our next class together.


Mail time!

From Missouri: "Hi, Kathie! I sure do appreciate the work you've done on the website...I believe the time is right for RRK to get his own radio show going. He's done TV in the past. His presence is excellent and his wit so quick. With the 'Chicago Way' a scourge on the nation, this is a great time to intro him as a commentator on current culture, politics, and religion with the latter being a very significant component with thousands of churches in a shambles across the nation...On the website, you've got to get rid of that out-of-date-pseudo-intellectual-old-fart-poser-picture-in-front-of-the-books thing. That went out sometime in the 80s. Also, while he's got lots of impressive credentials, ask him to make comments on them like he does in KDs. Have him poke fun at his credentials."

I'm up for the radio gig and I come so cheaply as current employers know. I'm just waiting for local subscribers to do their thing; and, yeah, I think it would fly and maybe even provide a link from a local to a national. Geez. I must be having a flashback or something; and I never even did acid. Hey, back off on the picture, dude! It's a chick magnet! That's what my wife doesn't say. Anyway, I'm all for a side by side with a musical link: "Those were the days..." Credentials? We don't need no stinking badgers! They're there for the hate-mailers who call me names! But, yeah, if Kathie bugs me about it...

From Florida: "I'm with the Missouri statement. You would be great on the radio and some of us need to be stirred up more than we are. I for one would listen. Course, many times, you hit me where it hurts. I would probably have to listen on my knees!"

Psst. The reason I can write so much about our idolatries and sins is because I'm so intimate with 'em. Don't tell anybody! I don't want to blow my self-righteous cover because that's the meal ticket for parish clergy in America. It's like I tell my boys (and parishioners), "If you're thinking about it, I'm discerning it; and even if I'm not discerning it, I know you're thinking about it because I've been there and done that."


Illinois is a mess.

If those dots are ever connected...

Somebody said, "Sometimes it's better to talk to God about someone than to talk to someone about God."

I'll start with the mirror's reflection and then move on to...



Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

December 10, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Heeeeee's baaaaaack!

No, I'm not talking about KD with first editions only going out once to old friends and foes now that is up and running thanks to Kathie; and if you've got corrections or compliments or even suggestions aside from dropping the other member of her staff, just contact her via the address on the site.

Jeremiah Wright, who was never as close to PBHO as he fantasized despite a wedding and baptisms and a couple of decades of worship attendance and other incidental stuff (Hey! Pastors dig that!), was back in the pulpit of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ last Sunday and ripped some new ones for the media, the good old USA, and even Elizabeth Hasselback; referring to the latter as "that dumb broad."

Here's what he said about PBHO: "The hatred of the media and the haters in politics may have caused him to distance himself from us, but the love of Christ will never allow me to distance myself from him...I can no more disown him than I can disown any other child of mine who makes a bad decision. He made a bad decision, but he's still my child."


Is this an updated version of the Christmas story or what?

Or as Kathie asked over coffee with the Belvidere Brewers at Starbucks where we're always welcomed with good cheer, "If he's now claiming to be the father and PBHO is the son...?"


Speaking of relatives, Governor Blagojevich is heading to the slammer with his predecessor Governor Ryan for trying to sell PBHO's old Senate seat to the highest bidder.

Of course, Blago isn't as tight with PBHO as he thinks he is despite Chicago's ubiquitous political incest; so don't even try to connect those dots.

If we can't find that birth certificate, there ain't no way we're gonna...


I'm beginning to wonder if PBHO has any friends; or it must be a real surprise to people who thought he was/is/could/be their friend to keep hearing him say they weren't/aren't/will/never/be as close to him as they pretend.

Somebody has to get a grip on reality.

Or maybe we're just in a reincarnational time warp in which Capone and The Boss' old mafia/machine are baaaaaack in, uh, fresh attire:


Speaking of getting a grip, I'm still looking for hints of ch-ch-ch-changes in the new administration; especially since the next 4-8 don't look like the most recent 8 but seem hauntingly reminiscent of the 8 before that.

No wonder Bill Clinton seems so much happier these days.

Can you imagine how much fun he's gonna have in DC without any of the responsibilities?


Connecting some "relative" dots, I'll never forget when Bubba said, "I tried it but didn't inhale."

That's when I knew the boy had a hard time tellin' the truth about anything; for if you lie about little things...

O.K., maybe he didn't inhale.

Yeah, right!

Then how do you explain Monica Lewinsky?

O.K., maybe he didn't inhale; which prompted Kathie to say over that same cup of coffee, "I knew he wouldn't be a good President. For goodness sake, he didn't even know how to smoke a joint."


Staying on the subject of substance abuse, I know the dominoes are falling and we're heading for a depression: stock market, housing, banking, Big Three, news media bankruptcies, Boston Legal, and the Yankees not getting that pitcher from the Brewers.

But what's up with these stimulus packages and bail-outs?

If whoever's runnin' the show really wants to stimulate the economy, let's have a Year of Jubilee or something like that; which means I could get that chrome pony a lot...

And how come those bail-outs don't include the rank and file?

I've been looking over those plans to bail-out all of those falling dominoes and I see a lot of reductions of the work force and nothing about taking care of my plastic (see preceding sentence preceding the last one).

I may be wrong but(t) it seems to me that the guys who are being bailed out are the guys who messed things up in the first place and the ones who are [will be] suffering the most are women and men who live from paycheck to paycheck.

Is there anyone out there who shares my, uh, underwhelming confidence in Barney Frank (Does he sound like Elmer Fudd or what?), Nancy Pelosi (Help me, Jesus!), and those financial dolts in the GWB administration to reverse the inertia cited in the first sentence of this section?


Speaking of gifts, one of the three links on our site who never links us to anyone sent out this warning:


Mail time!

From one of the kindest friends in our family of faith (quoting somebody else): "Pride is perhaps the number one sin problem affecting the human race. It is usually at the heart of our relational difficulties with God and with others. Our pride makes us self-centered instead of Christ-centered...Pride keeps us from admitting our mistakes and our share of the blame for disagreements and misunderstandings. Pride feeds our unforgiving spirit and fertilizes the seeds of bitterness."

Amen! I thought of at least two folks and a few family members and, uh, that dang reflection in the mirror.

From Missouri: "I think it's time for KD to hit the radio waves. You really love people but don't let them get away with their idolatries. Your self-deprecating comments seem genuine and you have a way of sucking people in, slapping them upside the head, and then pointing to Jesus to save them. I think one of your local radio stations can hit the jackpot if they give you a few hours a week."

I'd do it; but no one is asking. And I'm not into calling 'em up for a shot. I do come cheaply; which is apparent to any church which ever hired me. But, yeah, I'd do it. I think people are hungry to wrestle with stuff in a Christian kinda way without the sanctimonious veneer of so many in our sociopoliticoreligio culture. I know I'm messed up and need a Savior. I like to paraphrase Fred Rogers, "God loves you just the way you are but too much to leave you just the way you are." I'm wrong on lots of stuff, which church folks feel so inclined to note for pastors these days, which is why I'm so thankful that He's always right in the end.

From a pastor in Virginia: "It was said in the 60s that the marijuana issue could be settled by a joint session of Congress."

Or a real confession from Bill Clinton.

From a pastor's wife in Maryland: "Our church's officers decided 'in light of the economy' that they would not offer my husband or any of the staff a raise for 2009. Now keep in mind that every one of those officers drives a big car or SUV. Every one of them owns their own home. Every one of them goes on vacation. Every one of them has more money in the bank than we will ever dream of having..."

Well, darling, that's just the way it is for church employees. A few quick hits. You gotta remember that church giving is discretionary for most members and even officers; kinda on the same level with club dues, vacation, and other amenities which they deserve and you don't because a vow of poverty was imposed on your husband when he was ordained at the expense of your family. Why do you think I beg richer people to send donations to KD? Besides, if you haven't noticed yet, people with very little control over what's happening in their lives like to take control over other people's lives and the church is a breeding ground for that kinda stuff. So if they're ticked off about something, they just transfer it to your husband and family. That's why we've got so many of those proverbial PKs who hate the church after seeing what it did to their parents. Truly, I will pray some kinda financial relief for you through the mercy of some saints who must still remain in your church.

From that same pastor in Virginia: "Did you say you had a 'joint' meeting of officers on Monday?"

From a very, very, very bright guy in our family of faith who shares the gift of sarcasm: "I gained insight today from a KD: 'Those symbols [@#$%] are not intended as profanities but as profundities. That helps me. What I thought all of my life as shortcomings of mine have really been moments of great insight."



Getting back to Christmas gifts,


Blessings and Love!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December 8, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Running into one of our shut-ins at the mall, she asked how things are going at the church.

Fortunately, she cannot read my mind.

Cubs fans know all about life's frustrations.

Empathy is more easily experienced than defined or, uh, confessed.


Our deacons and elders (aka church leaders for KD's heathen subscribers) are having their annual joint meeting tonight which is highlighted by a little business and lots of fun.

Now that I'm, uh, crossing over into my 4th year of life and ministry at First with the honeymoon ending thanks to our building program and folks who don't really believe in Jesus and can't handle the high Christology because they think First is an annex for Rotary or couldn't get past their idolatries to my predecessors or, uh, just hate me for being such a jerk have left, we're gettin' down to His business.

The trickle out is being replaced by a slow, steady, and solid flow in and the solid remnant are being encouraged by a family of faith increasingly devoted to loving Jesus by loving like Jesus.

Of course, every day isn't a hot fudge sundae.

The annual budget comes to mind.

Session (heathens need to refer to the parenthesis in the first sentence of this section) "adopted" 2009's budget in November and the congregation will "receive" it at the annual congregational meeting (aka a meeting of a bunch of Christians who belong to a particular church for KD's heathen subscribers) which is held in February or almost two months after we've already ascribed to the new budget without congregational input; parenthetically, sessions "adopt" and congregations "receive" annual budgets which means sessions can do whatever they want to do and congregations just choose to receive or not receive 'em which doesn't change anything unless sessions are reckless enough to proceed with their wills against the wills of...

Anyway, God only knows what's gonna happen between now and then with America's economy; which, obviously, will have some kinda impact on whether we proceed with what's been adopted or needs to be adjusted or...


Speaking of frustrations, I noted back on 4/15/08: "@#$%s are not intended as profanities but as profundities. It's my way of saying I could be wrong but here's what I'm thinking. I'm trying to provoke thought in the context of our confession. But I'm not cussin' at you or anyone else."

I'm just Manny being Manny.

Be that as it is, I just got my second complaint about using @#$%s to separate each section of KD: "It's so juvenile for you to use those symbols to express frustrations; because they look like an 8th grader venting."

Sticks and stones will break my bones but names...


It's just my emotional/intellectual/spiritual/whatever Selah - pause and ponder - to separate muses/meanderings/inspirations/indigestions.

But I'll offer the same deal to that, uh, frustrated subscriber that I offered to the other one over 100 editions ago.

I'll change the sectional Selahs from @#$% to !!!! or ???? or #### for anyone who will put up the $$$$ to pay off the Caliber so I can bring a chrome pony into my barn and be a really hip pastor like my Baptist peer in town.


In an antonyminously @#$% kinda way, my wife vented, "Why do people think they can complain about everything to me?"

Reply from yours truly: "Because they think you'll squeal to me even while knowing I really care about people and their real challenges but don't waste any energies or emotions on silly or stupid stuff which are only bait to capture attention and sound the alert for some deep hurts within 'em which they're too afraid or not ready to confess so they complain about silly or stupid stuff."

When people come to me with silly and stupid stuff, I think about playing golf with my dad or riding a chrome pony which I can't afford until I pay off the Caliber.

I pretend to listen while waiting for the opportunity to pounce and probe for the real pain causing the silly and stupid venting/transference.

It's like I learned long ago: "If you've got a problem with your watch, don't look at the hands. Look deeper!"

Hey, Honeybear, don't bite the bait - the silly and stupid stuff which people say just to catch your attention! Wait for what they really want to admit which they'll eventually cough up if you're patient!


Continuing with frustrations, lots of KDers didn't get the last two editions because I had a bunch of youtube musical links which their school/work/church/geezer filters blocked.

That's too bad because those who got 'em said they betrayed KD's innards.

Not to worry.

While all KD's are being archived via the website ( which debuts 12/12/08 (another hint to sponsors/advertisers), I think Kathie will be featuring a few of the most recent editions every day and I hope that'll include the two preceding this one.

So if you don't get one or two or more KD's via e-mail every week, it means your computer or "the man" is blocking 'em and you'll just have to go to the website; which, uh, I think will be a good idea because advertisers count clicks to determine if they'll, uh, advertise.


Weis is gettin' another year at Notre Dame even though Willingham didn't with a better record.

A friend who really keeps up on this stuff says it's because Weis cut a better deal and gets many millions if cut loose before his contract ends.

O.K., but I still think NBC, ND's #1 cheer squad, is gonna have a hard time dodging charges of racism.

If it looks like a pile of poop and smells like a pile of poop...


The bowl schedule came out last night.

Notre Dame gets a bowl at 6-6.


Texas is riled and Penn State is nervous.


Northern Illinois is ecstatic.



Speaking of sports, O.J. can't believe he's goin' to jail for armed robbery when he got away with murder.

In one of the funnier lines from the bench in recent years, Judge Jackie Glass said, "I'm not here to try and cause any retribution or any payback for anything else."

The families of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman winked at each other.


Another wink to Oprah the Baptist who denies any aspirations to work for PBHO: "I have a few full-time jobs already and a few full-time commitments...It never occurred to me...Even if I was offered, I still have contractual commitments and what could I do?...I do what I do best on TV every day."

Obviously, Oprah is really good at getting what she wants - like $ and Presidents.

That makes her a lot more viable than Ann, Laura, Sean, Rush, Bill, and the rest of the Republicans.

So I think she should join PBHO's team.

God knows the planet needs to be, uh, saved.


First, it's Chris Matthews who's gonna run for the Senate in Pennsylvania.

Now it's Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg who's gonna go for HRC's New York Senate seat.

And I hear Al Franken is conspiring to Bushwhack Coleman in Minnesota in a Goreing reversal of political revenge.

Sorry, Dad!

I laughed and scoffed when you said, "Celebrities are running this country."

No wonder more folks watch MTV than PBS.





Blessings and Love!

Friday, December 5, 2008

December 5, 2008

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


It was 1969 and I was driving down Sans Souci Highway from Nanticoke to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on my first motorcycle, wearing a brown flying-fringed leather jacket from Juarez that Ollie got for me when he crossed over from El Paso during his freshman year at UTEP, and shouting along with John Kay:

Actually, uh, it was a Honda 50.

Gotta start somewhere.


Jay Leno and I have one thing in common: "The first bike I ever got was a Honda 350 back in 1971...I remember getting on the freeway, thinking, 'This is fun!'"

Yep, my first real bike was the same as his; and though I didn't run into him when I bought it, riding a motorcycle is something that never quite leaves your, uh, system: "The baby boomers were the driving force behind the new interest in motorcycling...These were the same people who had bought all those little Hondas in the 1960s, who had terrorized the highways on thundering Kawasakis in the 1970s, and who had spent the 1980s raising kids...Now their kids were grown up, and they once again found themselves..."


Getting back to 1969, I think I saw Easy Rider at least a dozen times:

It's still one of my favorite soundtracks; though I've got to be careful with music.

Music aligns the heart, head, gut, and...

For example, when I listen to Sarah Brightman, Grace Slick, or Alanis Morissette, I'm not inclined to think about Jesus.

Susan Sarandon evoked those kinda feelings; until she started makin' Joy Behar look like the queen of traditional values.

Be that as it was, I'll never forget Wyatt (Peter Fonda's "Captain America"), Billy (Dennis Hopper's hopped-up simpleton), and George Hanson (the alcoholic ACLU lawyer portrayed by Jack Nicholson in his first major film role); especially recalling a scene which continues to haunt us:


Wyatt became the archetype of the poet-biker in search of America's soul.

Billy was just a drugged-out-live-for-today-because-he-had-no-clue-about-anything-except-a-physical/emotional-rarely-intellectual-erection.

George was close but confused.

Some metaphors are timeless.


As I warned in the last KD which didn't make it to a lot of folks because cyberspace can be as consistent as the Republicans' search for meaning/identity, going back to Wyoming Valley Pennsylvania for my dad's 80th has evoked lots of good/bad/innocuous memories and resurrected some dreams.

Yeah, I still want to ride again; and once I pay off...

At least one of my older sons, a brother-in-law, and I are planning our own search/ride/whatever before the parousia.

That'll be fun.

But the big dream resurrected on dad's 80th was my romance with pastoral ministry; which I'd kinda lost over three decades in an increasingly apostate franchise and modern ministry more in keeping with babysitting than discipling.

I ceded to the compelling call despite my first mentor's warnings (The Rev. Harold F. Mante) because I wanted to share good news of existential and eternal security through faith in Jesus as personal/corporate Lord and Savior.


Yeah, I thought about that night under Wilkes-Barre's Market Street Bridge after the junior prom, Mountain in concert at King's in 1969, a few pop festivals, driving to Binghamton for beer at 18 because the law said 21 in Pennsylvania, and what it meant to lose when you won the lottery and then stand at the gravesides of peers who fought in a war that must not have been that important because we just walked away after sacrificing so much for our nation's innocence.

But what I've really been thinking about is gospeling; or communicating good news in bad times.

A friend who got fired after being the church's "best preacher and pastor that we've ever had" for reasons which will be debated for the next decade or two in a paralyzing way for that church landed in another church and wrote after I got back from Wilkes-Barre, "I received this e-mail today...'Thank you for coming to our church...So many left before you came and I know you've got your work cut out for you...The remaining members...have held together...with optimism and Jesus as our only leader, which is really the way that it should be...Even when the future is in jeopardy, only praise Him that Christ died for us...We are thankful for you as a human leader...Thank you, in spite of your credentials to be in a far more prestigious place, for listening to God's calling and coming here.'"

As I wiped the tears from my soul's eyes, I read, "I am humbled and thankful to be here."



Last Sunday morning before my dad's 80th surprise birthday party and roast, I went to worship at the First Baptist Church in Pittston, Pennsylvania.

Pittston is the city that didn't quite make it as big as it wanted to be because it was between Joe Biden's Scranton and Flood/Kanjorski's Wilkes-Barre.

I was drawn to worship there by a big banner covering the franchise label: "Spending Eternity in Heaven: Priceless!"


Parenthetically, even mainline denominational bureaucrats who train new church development pastors whisper to 'em to keep the franchise labels as far away as possible from their marketing because today's believers and even curious are turned off by 'em.


If I've got to answer that for you...

I think of the church near Chicago which changed its name.

A few clueless denominational jingoists met with 'em and asked why.

The elders and pastor laughed.

The visitors still don't get it.

Doesn't the Bible say something about eyes/ears that don't...?


Getting back to the Baptists, the Pittston church is in transition.

I figured that out as soon as the African-American pastor appeared behind the pulpit of the, uh, all-European-American congregation.

Immediately, the pastor had problems with his microphone; which made me feel at home.

He was young ("Those were the days...") and bold (I like my coffee like Jesus likes His disciples!) and had no problems talking about Jesus by name as if he had some kinda personal relationship with Him; which proved I wasn't in a mainline church.

He made some comments about people leaving the church without mentioning the, uh, white elephant; and then said, "Let them go! We love Jesus! We're going to follow Jesus! If they don't like it, they need to go! They can come back if they invite Jesus into their hearts so they can get right with Him!"

I knew I wasn't with mainliners; which is a really, really, really big clue to why...

Though I'm a Professor of Preaching at CEDS in addition to my primary call to First, I can drop those facades and worship with/under anyone who loves Jesus and doesn't disrespect Biblical authority for some egocentric ideology; which is why I ended up with the Baptists last Sunday.

Be that as it is and will continue to be until mainliners are born again, here are a few bytes/bites: "We pray today's offering is only used in ways that will honor Jesus...Stop resisting His pulling you to your destiny...If you're not smiling and laughing with me for Jesus, you do not have Him anywhere near your heart...You can't be who He wants you to be if you're stuck in the past...It's time to start drinking deeply of His cup instead of those faith-fainted bottles with nipples on them...I am not called to coddle you in your ignorance and rebellion; but I am called to change you into conformity with Jesus...If you got God, you'll get along...God wants to birth something in you today; but if you won't see Jesus, you can be as pregnant as you want to be and you'll still never deliver...God is telling you to move out of your comfort zone like Mary; but if you won't move, you'll never deliver and it will be all pain and no gain...If you will love God, then you will stop thinking about those people who left because they didn't really love God and you'll start praying for them to be delivered."

It's a tough thought for Baptists, but I know my time with 'em was predestined.


Some folks buy motorcycles and go searching for what only He can reveal and provide.

I'm gonna ride again because I'm done searching and only begun to celebrate.


Blessings and Love!