A staff member left a note for me: "There are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball."
I didn't get the point...until yesterday.
I thought it was gonna be another typical day in life and ministry; but it turned out as one of the more apocalyptic adventures of my life.
I figured it out at the end of the day while on the can with my custodian's metaphor in mind.
4:15 a.m. - Out the door for a mile or so with Kopper to pee, poop, peek, and pray; noting he did the first three and I did...
5:05 a.m. - Arrive at the church to get some annoying administrative stuff done before the phone starts whining, check e-mail (refusing to "Facebook" with anybody though the requests are getting increasingly cumbersome, ignore the ED ads and beggings for money from Beverly Hills, wait forever for the latest picture of Jesus' face in the clouds to download, and then respond to the important, incidental, inane, and insane), write yesterday's KD, figure out how to condense 30 pages of the next chapter in my book about biker culture as metaphor and challenge to the church into something palatable for Sunday, leave a voice message for the staff about my day so they don't guess/suspect, read some Oswald, pray a bit, make my own coffee, eat some dry cereal, and try to head out before the saleswomen/men, hangarounds, drop-ins, and other solicitors who think I just sit around all day with a jug of lemonade on my desk with nothing to do but show up just for them and send my schedule of hospital and nursing home visits, counseling appointments, meetings, and so on into apoplexy.
7:30 a.m. - Head off for Belvidere Brewers, which meets at one of my two favorite coffee shops in town because of the convenience and countenance of the employers/employees, to discuss anything that comes up that's related to, uh, anything that comes up. It is the best source of care and constructive counsel in my life and ministry at the moment. The folks who gather between 8-10 every Tuesday morning are faithful, direct, redemptive, and kind. They can tell me to go to hell in a way that I'm looking forward to the trip. They were especially helpful yesterday about the need to prune - personally and corporately.
10:00 a.m. - Head off for quick check-ups in a nursing home and hospital.
11:30 a.m. - Lunch with someone who is especially profound, really likes the summer summary sermon series on biker culture as metaphor and challenge to the church and actually may buy the book when it comes out and wishes the sermons were a little longer, and is confident enough not to be defensive/offensive. Yeah, we talked about other stuff; but that's none of your business because it's in the realm of pastoral confidentiality.
12:35 p.m. - Head back to the church and check e-mail (see 5:05 a.m. for the agonies), snail mail (see e-mail notations), voicemail (though took care of 21 of 'em between time slots above), and dig into the book and summer summary sermon series that some appreciate, some detest because everybody's got their pathologies and prejudices, and most ignore despite my sense of call and pouring out my heart, soul, mind, and gut into it.
5:05 p.m. - Leave the church to visit two friends who really love me and don't abuse me like so many others who pretend to love me but drop me from their lives whenever I don't buy into or enable their prejudices and pathologies. They wanted to see me to encourage me because I've been pretty tired lately and burdened by worldly and ecclesiastical cultures that have become increasingly difficult to differentiate.
6:15 p.m. - Gobble down some pasta by myself.
6:32 p.m. - Pick up the youngest from baseball to drop him off for basketball.
7:00 p.m. - Go to school with Kopper for the first obvious apocalyptic moment of the day: "If your dog barks or misbehaves in any way, don't give your little darling a treat! Turn around, fold your arms, look the other way, and ignore your dog until your dog learns to respect your place in her/his life and treats you as well as you've been treating your dog."
That dog trainer must have spent a lot of time with Jesus.
8:17 p.m. - Pick up the youngest from basketball and go home to take out the garbage; which, confessionally, is what I do all day anyway.
The rest is a blur...like most of my life and ministry.
To protect the innocent/guilty by bunching 'em together, just a few comments from the above for the below that provoked those reflections/revelations on the can:
You've got to stop being so hard on yourself.
You've got to gear down a little, take a day off, and
stop bearing all of the burdens of so many folks.
You try to get too much into your sermons. Why not
say less and say it slower?
I understand your biker metaphor; but some are tired
I love your biker series. It's making faith come alive
for me as I see how practical the Bible and Jesus
really are to my life. I hope it never ends. And
I can't wait until the book comes out.
You're in my prayers. I know you're a target for
darkness. I just hope your joy which has been
so contagious isn't stolen from you by that
darkness. I sense a real heaviness in you
and a real struggle to stay joyful.
They've been like that for years, always
threatening to leave if they don't get their
way, and they've got that air of superiority
that we all feel. We love them and want
them in the church but...
Why don't you...?
Your sermons and prayers are too long.
I just love your sermons and could listen to
you all day long. I wish you wouldn't be concerned
about how long the service goes. Your prayers
are so calm and reassuring.
You're a little too transparent. People like
to pretend their pastors are more than they
know they're not.
I really like how you don't hide being human.
That's why I pay attention to you.
As the emperor said to Wolfie, "And there it is."
The responses to yesterday's KD were also apocalyptic:
Missouri: "I am one of those wandering in the wilderness...looking at the church and wondering WHY I would work to bring people into a place where they will be witness to Christians behaving in abominable ways toward each other, their pastor, and their church. It is not a place for those interested in loving like Jesus. I have come to believe the church is the LAST place someone seeking Jesus belongs. I now participate in a group of about 15 Christian women, who love Jesus and reflect that love in their lives. We come from different denominations, but we have a common desire to love the Lord and study the Bible...I do want to thank you for your continued efforts to awaken the complacent and arouse the brain dead!"
Florida: "75% want to quit? I don't think I have the option of telling our Boss, '___ it, I quit!' I know you won't quit and you've helped me not to quit in the past. I remember some wisdom: 'Expect the worst of people. That way you will never be disappointed and occasionally you will be wonderfully surprised.' It was good advice when I was a young cop and still helps."
Michigan: "What the ___ is wrong with your church? You're complaining about money with a pile of it in the bank! You selfish bastards! If you love your
staff and mission and Jesus as much as you say you do, why not spend the money given by really faithful people years ago and hope that someone in the future will be as generous as they were? But stop complaining about money when you're stockpiling it! You make me sick!"
Florida: "We spent all of our reserves to do ministry and it was the best thing that we ever did. People got engaged, concerned, serious, and stopped relying on previous generations to pay their bills. We hired an associate pastor, drained our reserves, and flourished in hope and faith. Worshipping in the dark one Sunday because we couldn't pay our bills helped too. Bequests started coming in again after that."
Oklahoma: "A shepherd boy with a slingshot. An old man with a rod. A woman with a nail. A fanatic with a boat. A dreamer with a coat. A woman in a beauty pageant. At first glance you wouldn't think much of these folks, but follow their stories..."
Illinois: "The only thing that keeps me sane is prophetic revelation from Messiah. It is hard but I confront very strongly the spirits that work through people like you described. It is time for men of God to have some backbone and stand our ground, advance the kingdom like never before. You know what the greatest thing about times like these are to me? IT REMOVES THE CLUTTER! Remove problem people from leadership and even membership. I do. We do...I would rather die fighting than live or run like a coward! I would say to your church and others like I say to mine every Sunday in Poplar Grove, 'Men of God, arise and remember who you are in Messiah!'"
California: "Immediately after 9/11, church attendance jumped 25%...One pastor asked, 'Yes, they turned to the church but what church will be there to greet them?' Sadly, the limp and distorted Christianity of modern America greeted them. They quickly stopped coming...People turn their passions toward other things. They start demanding their own way in every little venue. Being 'offended' is elevated to a lifestyle. Daring to 'offend' is elevated to a felony...So, we come to the church. With PC thinking all the rage among the socially entitled, is it any surprise that bitching is loud from them? Not to be outdone, the conservatives are equally hair-triggered. There is no room for grace when all that matters is winning. When you have always had a job, a car, a house, a career, and education for your kids, national security, electricity, water, food, and medical care...you turn your energy to bitching...Hey, KD! You are an American hero for suffering this storm of self-centered condescension. Be blessed."
As if I don't have enough to do, somebody who caught a peek at my biker manuscript and actually read Fifteen Secrets has asked me to write a biography.
I asked if there was any $ in it because I've been telling our staff that nobody's gettin' a raise in 2010; and he said, "Since when have any of your books made money?"
I said, "O.K., but I'm going to include a lot of it in editions of KD because that guy was really screwed up and really needed Jesus and..."
He said, "You've got it!"
Here's the first two sentences: "His 8th grade music teacher asked on the first day of class, 'How many of you have Robert as a first name?' When all of 'em but Eddie, Ernie, and Melvin raised their hands, Bobby began to wonder how special he really was."
Now where's my custodian's golf ball?
Blessings and Love!
Ain't gonna be another KD for about a week; so check out www.koppdisclosure.com in
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