Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 8, 2009

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Girl Talk

"Yeah, Bill thought he was the President, too..."


A pastor in Ohio wrote, "PBHO must be going nuts with a dead Michael Jackson stealing his spotlight for almost two weeks!"

While I've always thought MJ was a little off as if I'm not not to mention some folks who are pseudo-supernaturally so adept at speck-inspecting at the expense of log-detecting - that's a Biblical metaphor for people in the mainline who need hints - you'd think he was God's other son by the preachers, performers, and, uh, others who gathered at the steps of the crypto-chancel in LA's Staples Center yesterday; though I dug The Rev. Lucious Smith's verity: "The King of Pop has gone to meet the King of Kings!"



I've never been a big MJ fan; especially after he sang that love song to a rat.

I thought Billie Jean wasn't his lover because she's gay.

And he seemed to change, uh, colors and, uh, noses more than I've changed golf clubs over the years; and considering how sick that makes me...

Surely, I feel badly for his children if, uh, they are his children...

Seriously, if I held sleepovers with the boys in our church's junior high youth group...

Yes, I feel badly about him dying before he could settle on a color or nose and I feel badly for his, uh, children and I feel badly for his parents and siblings and I feel kinda badly for his sycophants and...

No, I don't feel any more badly for MJ than I feel badly for anyone who forfeits the joy of life for whatever reasons/rationalizations.

I'm into fun!

I'm into living life abundantly.

Someone really divine urged it; unlike too many folks who have revised the first answer to the first question of The Shorter Catechism: "Our chief end is to horrify God and annoy Him forever."





I like that one; and I don't mind hearing it over and over and over in the, uh, wake of MJ's matriculation.

It reminds me of a note that I got back on May 21, 2009 that only now can I read and savor without weeping uncontrollably:

Dear Rev. Kopp,

I thought you would like a prayer card from Alma.
You were very important to Alma and Fred and
Matthew. They had your picture hanging in their
den and saved many of your sermons.

I was with Alma as she passed and want you
to know that her end was peaceful. She was
eager to rejoin Fred.

God bless you for your friendship and comfort
to them.

(Alma's sister-in-law)

While I have been vocationally rejuvenated in the past few weeks after another one of those occasional betrayals that beset gals/guys like me in the church business by the prayers of the authentics, counsel of elders and covenant brothers, support of staff, and a few better rounds on the links along with a few miles on the mule, Alma and Fred along with Eddie, Hope, Frank, Carol, and Jim remain so important to me as continuing cheerleaders, mentors, and friends from formative days in ministry.

Yes, MJ, they were/are there/here.


Alma was about my age now when I first met her.

She was on the pastor search committee that called me to Clark, New Jersey's Osceola Presbyterian Church and served as an elder without interruption or indigestion during my tenure.

I was about 27 when she said, "Bob, I will be your mother while you're away from your mother. I will tell you the truth about how things are going and how you're doing; but no matter how things are going and how you're doing, you will always be able to count on me to trust the best in you for Jesus and the church. I know you love Jesus and love us; so, like your mother, I can handle you not being perfect."

That was about 30 years ago.

We never lost touch over the years.


I learned so much from Alma and Fred.

They never stepped back or away from Osceola no matter who, what, where, when, or why; incarnating a truth that I'd heard but rarely seen before or since: tough times expose rather than build character.

They loved more than the souls of people; loving people themselves with warts and worse just like Jesus did.

They loved me like that; and how they loved me provided an enduring paradigm of how to love like Jesus: compassionately, mercifully, and, succinctly, unconditionally.

They never stepped back or away from any of us even when their children were ill or delinquent, Fred's job security was threatened, or things didn't go their way.

They were so, uh, Christian.



I've come to that place in my life knowing nothing happens by accident.

He has a reason for it all; placing authentics and even inauthentics in our path to force choices to honor or abandon Him.

Yes, I've been shocked by the inauthentics whose inauthenticity is exposed during tough times.

But, even more, I've been surprised by the authentics whose authenticity is exposed during tough times; and how their witness, unlike the false ones of the inauthentics, stick with us to continue cheerleading and mentoring.



Just about the time that Alma was going home to Fred, a young woman in distress met with me after our 3rd Sunday worship service.

She had sinned.

Alma came to mind while meeting with her; and I became parental in a Christian kinda way.

She wrote to me a few days ago:

Dear Pastor Bob,

I really cannot thank you enough. I had been
battling with my conscience...I was going mad.
It was eating me up inside. But then you came

You said I cannot fix what I won't face. You
said Jesus is like a mom or dad who will
never say bad is good but will never dump
me if I confuse the two. You said all I have
to do is say I'm sorry and try harder and
that's enough for Jesus and people who
love Jesus.

After our talk, I felt like a bird that had
been set free from a cage. I can fly

Thanks for telling me the truth about
me and how Jesus loves me no matter
what. I hope I will be like that to others.

With all the love there is,

Thank You, Jesus!

Thank you, Alma, for showing Jesus to me.



And so unto the mercy of Almighty God, we commend...


Blessings and Love

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