Friday, January 16, 2009

January 16, 2009

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


My favorite authors include Blackaby, Buechner, Burton, Chambers, Nouwen, O'Rourke, Paul, Thompson, Vonnegut, and the Desert Fathers.

I don't always agree with everything I read or even write.

The director of a college egghead program taught me to study as much as I can about as much as I can and then


I thought I should mention that because someone scolded me about some of the comments below some of the links to youtube.

She was upset by some of the bad language; as if she had never heard, uttered, or entertained such violations to her purported proprieties.

She reminded me that it's O.K. for a Christian to go into a brothel, bar, or the like as long as she/he isn't a customer.


Continuing on the theme of being in but not of the world, it's hard for Christians to stay, uh, connected to mainline denominations.

While I have decided to remain in but not of the PCUSA as a missionary to the mainline, here are some excerpts from a younger pastor near Kansas City who faced the challenge and chose a road increasingly traveled:

When I was searching for my first call in the PCUSA, I
championed myself as a "turn-around-church" pastor.
Realizing that 85% of the congregations in the PCUSA
were on their way down, I figured it was a safe strategy.
Besides, the seminary I attended filled our hearts and
heads with a passion for renewing crumbling
denominational structures. Though it may not be
important, it was not a denominational seminary.

What I didn't realize was the old foundation of Biblical
Presbyterianism had eroded to the place where the
majority of those left in the ruins preferred a sandy mix
for the thin mortar they were using to make repairs.

While I was successful, the presbytery hierarchy
had very little tolerance for a gospel that called for
Christ-centered discipleship. Tragically, the moment
our congregation made progress, the denomination
insisted on more sand in the mortar. In time, the call
to rebuilding churches on the solid Biblical foundation
of Jesus Christ became a lesson in futility, frustration,
and depression.

Growing older with no experience outside of the PCUSA,
what could I do? Coming to grips with the realization that
my six-figure paycheck, status, pension and other benefits
didn't compare to risking my life for Jesus, I quit.

That's right. Without any worldly safety net, I jumped
off the Titanic and started a new church.

This went against everything that made sense to me.
I lost financial security. I made less than I made as
a youth director! Sunday mornings could be fairly
sparse. The first summer almost killed us. I was
mocked, mistreated, and slandered by the presbytery
and many local Presbyterian pastors and elders. My wife
was humiliated, wounded, and deprived.

Even so, our core people were loving, supportive, positive,
faithful, sacrificial, gracious, energized, and solidly committed
to Jesus Christ.

Slowly but surely, we found out footing. One by one, God
added people to our church.

Today, we have a significant outreach to the poor, medical
community, and local university. By the way, we don't use
"outreach" like the PCUSA uses it. Yep, that's right! We
actually talk about Jesus! In fact, the whole congregation
is excited about sharing Jesus with others and every Sunday
we are seeing more and more people show up to worship.

The congregation is dynamic. Every person has a ministry.
People are excited. Guests are welcomed like prodigals
returning home to a fantastic party!

As for me, I still don't make much in the way of salary; but
my bills are paid and I don't have any debt other than the
house. And the Lord has just provided us with a wonderful
24,000 sq. ft. building!

God is good. He provides; especially when we trust Him
by doing the right thing and not settling for anything less than
His will, His way, His time.

Believe it or not, I'm having more fun, fulfillment, and
happiness and joy than I ever experienced in a denomination
with a death wish.

Oh yes, I'm not opposed to denominations. They can be
terrific; especially the small but rapidly growing denomination
with which we recently affiliated. It's the difference between
hell and heaven. I mean that quite literally.

I've written these words to encourage those of you who live
in the fear, torment, and chains of the PCUSA. Those of us
who have left know you really want to get out. But you fear
for your future, your family, and your reputation. I understand
your situation quite well. To you, I say, BE NOT AFRAID!
There is life beyond the PCUSA and life abundantly. Trust
Jesus and not your paycheck, your status, or your pension.
He will bless your faithfulness.

That's not my call; but God knows the integrity of his.


Thinking about call, the pudgy pastor giving the inaugural prayer next week has extended an olive branch to Bishop V. Gene Robinson who reacted angrily when PBHO picked Rick for it: "PBHO has again demonstrated his genuine commitment to bringing all Americans of goodwill together in search of common ground. I applaud his desire to be the President of every citizen."

Trying to temper the bishop's tiff, PBHO picked him to deliver the invocation at the inaugural kickoff on Sunday.

The bishop doesn't think PBHO picked him to pander to, uh, whatever constituency is panting for pandering; and the bishop has promised his prayer will be much different from Warren's.

Am I the only one who thinks the daily news is getting better than re-runs of Soap?


Speaking of sitcoms, why won't GWB pardon Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean?

If you've been watching MSNBC or MTV and missed it, they're the border agents who are serving 11 and 12 years for shooting a wetback drug smuggler in the line of duty. Get this! The drug dealer, who suffered only minor injuries and appears back in business, was given full immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony against the agents.

Despite several Senators - including California Democrat Feinstein and Texas Republican Cornyn - along with many Representatives from both sides of the aisle joining thousands of petitioners, GWB must be so busy telling us how he's kept us safe since 9/11/01 so we'll pardon him from his otherwise disastrous two terms to, using the words of Cornyn, "show mercy and use his clemency power to give back Agenst Ramos and Compean the next 10 years of their lives."

I just don't get it; but, of course, there's a lot about the last eight years that I just don't get.


One of my favorite books comes to mind: Harry G. Frankfurt's On Bullshit.

Seriously, that's the title from the renowned moral philosopher who is Princeton's Professor of Philosophy Emeritus via Princeton University Press.

I picked it up because I'm trying to figure out what's happened to mainline denominations and the title seemed to provide a clue; but, truthfully, it's about the, uh, crap in our sociopoliticoreligioeconomic culture.

Like other KD recommendations, it makes ya think: "One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit...Each of us contributes his share...Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it...In consequence, we have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves...So far as I am aware, very little work has been done on this subject..."

"Enunciating the essential characteristics of bullshit," Dr. Frankfurt draws on Max Black's definition of humbug: "deceptive misrepresentation, short of lying, especially by pretentious word or deed, of somebody's own thoughts, feelings, or attitudes."

He asks, "Is the bullshitter by his very nature a mindless slob? Is his product necessarily messy or unrefined? The word shit does, to be sure, suggest this. Excrement is not designed or crafted at all; it is merely emitted, or dumped."

Then he, uh, discloses the meaning behind the method: "Yet there is something more to be said about this. However studiously and conscientiously the bullshitter proceeds, it remains true that he is also trying to get away with something' [italics added].

Ah, ha!

So it is about mainline denominations!



I spend so much time in the aforementioned as a card-carrying mainliner that I need to remember why I stay.

Here you go:


Blessings and Love!

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