Sunday, July 12, 2009

July 11, 2009

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


I received an invitation to attend Pat and Harold's 50th in New Kensington, Pennsylvania on August 28.

While I've got to check with all of my bosses if you know what I mean, I should and want to go.

Along with Rod and another who almost made the list but flunked over time as associate pastors, he was always loyal to Jesus and loyal to me as long as I prayed and tried to be loyal to Jesus.



I'll never forget when Harold was confronted by an angry woman who accused him of using her as a bad example to illustrate a Biblical truth: "You were talking about me in your sermon!"

Harold replied, "While you'll never believe me that I wasn't talking about you and while it's very arrogant of you to think that I was as if you're always on my mind and the center of everyone's universe in the church, maybe you're feeling guilty about something Bob and I don't know about; so if the shoe fits..."

I thought about that when five people from Ohio, Missouri, and Pennsylvania wrote to ask if I was thinking about them when I wrote about Harry in the 6/25/09 edition of KD; and I'm sure someone who hears me mention Harry again in tomorrow's sermon will assume...


Yeah, I should go to their 50th.


This is gonna be the last KD for a few weeks as I'm headin' off with my main babe and younger ones for almost two weeks of, uh, whatever.

This is a good time to catch up on all of the neat stuff that Kathie packs into the website; and assume a lot of the salt's been sprinklin' on...

Speaking of, uh, stuff like that, I was really gettin' depressed/wasted/depleted/sucked/dry/burned/out/bummed/out/emotionally/suicidal a few weeks ago; as I was blindsided by one of those occasional betrayals so typical to my vocation - and before you try to guess, go back to the first video and Harold's wisdom with the guilty in the aforementioned and don't even bother because I've already forgiven 'em and feel like Aslan with Edward which the literate will understand - and lamenting my idiocy of opting out of last year's family vacation and January's covenant group retreat/continuing/education causing me to limp through much of the year.

But then we had a session meeting that was an overwhelming watershed in the history of our family of faith; confirming my call and choice to remain as pastor of our family of faith for the duration. It was among the most positive, hopeful, caring, and Biblically Christocentric meetings that I've ever experienced. Coupling that with some caring counsel from three elders, covenant brothers, and a few staff members about the need to expand my wineskin as I urge others to expand theirs, I'm so thankful for the prayers and support of so many as I've cried, tried, labored, and prayed to be a good pastor in obedience to Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture.

Truth is - and don't tell anyone in Belvidere because it could tip the balance of my prophetic/pastoral responsibilities to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable - I am privileged to be pastor of a family of faith dominated by women and men on staff and in leadership and membership who really love Jesus and really pray and labor to love like Jesus and treat me like Alma did (scroll down to the 7/8/09 edition of KD).

So I'm feelin' pretty good as we stuff the van with more, uh, stuff than we'll ever need while away.



Before signin' off, my book on biker culture as metaphor and challenge to the church is ramblin' to the end of the road as I've completed six of the nine chapters.

Considering how my previous publishers botched marketing - especially on Golf in the Real Kingdom - and how this one is way out on the edge in a John Hall Riding on the Edge (great read for bikers and folks who grew up in the backyard of Pennsylvania's Pagans in the 60s and early 70s) kinda way, I'm looking for an agent and if you...

A really famous biker business guy said it's bold - What a shock! - and bound to attract attention.

While I'm not tellin' the title or releasin' much more about it than what's part of the summer summary sermon series at First, here's a very mild out of context excerpt:

Bikers don't like to fight unless they're drunk, someone's messin'
with their old lady or old man, or one outlaw MC has violated
another's turf...

But if you want to start a fight with bikers, just say something
like this: "Everyone who rides a motorcycle should be required by
law to wear a helmet."

That'll start a war that would make the Outlaws and 81ers proud!

Though I started biking a long time ago in Pennsylvania when
helmets were required by state law, I'd always take it off as soon
as I crossed into a state that didn't require one; and now that I'm
living in a state that doesn't require me to wear one, I don't for
several practical, rebellious, and ideological reasons: (1) I feel more
at-one with my surroundings without a helmet; (2) I am convinced
an experienced rider is safer without one because peripheral vision
is expanded along with increased awareness of sights, sounds, and
smells that are integral to increasing margins of safety; (3) I have
an, uh, overriding aversion to anyone who isn't educated or
experienced telling people who are educated or experienced how to
do what they don't do; (4) I'm weary of the intellectual inconsistency
of cultures, for example, that threaten the safety of the unborn but
wanna make me wear a helmet for my safety; (5) Farmers are
right: "Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none!";
(6) Actually, I wear one when riding through big cities just in case
some smart ___ thinks bikers are good targets for drivebys and
from overpasses; and (7) I wanna give hope to people who hate
me in a Christian kinda way.

While this counsel to my preaching students ain't in the book, it seems appropriate about now: "If you're in a mainline denomination, it's hard to rouse 'em from their well-conditioned slumbers. So talk about Jesus! That'll shock 'em!"



And then there's the biography - scroll down to the last section of the 7/1/09 edition of KD - that I'll really start getting into and excerpt for KD a lot after finishing off the biker book.

From Genesis:

His 8th grade music teacher asked on the first day
of class, "How many of you have Robert as a first

When all of 'em but Eddie, Ernie, and Melvin raised
their hands, Bobby began to wonder how special he
really was.

The question never left him; and he spent most of
his life trying to find the answer.

It didn't help when his maternal grandmother shouted
at him from the steps up to her bedroom in that same
year, "You'll never amount to anything!"

He had it coming.

Not really.

The penalty of that permanent scar that drove him to
try too hard too often at the expense of forfeiting the
moment for monuments was so much more severe
than the offense.

He had poured water into the flower vase where she
hid her Chesterfields after her daughter forbid her
to smoke in the house because she had a habit
of falling asleep with a butt in her mouth.

Lex talionis.

Things spiral out of hand and hurt so much if
folks don't jump off rather than pile on.

Yeah, it's time for a vacation.

That's another metaphor.


Anyway, I'll see you in a few weeks unless Jesus comes back.


Now what am I thinking?


Blessings and Love!

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