Thursday, October 29, 2009

October 29, 2009

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Whenever the Yankees lose, especially in the World Series, I receive several calls to remind me as if I didn't know.

Usually, they come from fans of teams with about as much of a chance of playing in the fall classic as the Lions have of playing in the Super Bowl or Republicans have of getting back the title to the White House.

I guess I'm supposed to be in anguish whenever the Yankees lose; which, admittedly, happens with such infrequency that it's hard to relate to anyone who isn't a Yankees fan.

Let me set the record straight.

Yankees fans don't lose their minds/lunches over losses in October/November because we know we'll back again soon.

Can you say 40 times and counting?

C'mon, admit it!

Deep down in places that non-Yankees fans don't want to admit, they want/need the Yankees to be in the World Series...


Sounds like a line from...


Speaking of expectations, a saint in our family of faith gave a testimony during worship that included kudos to the church, her husband and family, and me.

Every once in a while, she would look my way along with the rest of the congregation and say nice things.

Of course, uh, she kept referring to me as Bill when she looked my way along with the rest of the congregation while saying nice things.

Bill remains my predecessor before two interims.

I love Bill.

Our family of faith loves Bill.

Frankly, I did not feel uncomfortable with being called Bill; because Bill was a great pastor for our family of faith and worthy of esteem and emulation.

I prompted his being named our pastor emeritus while others who said they loved him so much caved under the pressures of a very few to withhold that distinction.

Moretheless, I didn't feel the need/inclination to correct her because any comparison to Bill is a compliment.

Even more frankly, in a Romans 12:9-21 kinda way (especially the last few verses), I liked it because being mistaken for Bill must have been especially anguishing for the people who idolized him at the expense of his successors.

They must have felt like anyone who isn't a Yankees fan.



I had to read Dodson and Stetzer's Comeback Churches.

I'm in a covenant/study/prayer/shadow-judicatorial group that, uh, reads books and then discusses them before lunch and after whatever it is that we do.

It was our book of the month; and I read it in about an hour in a local non-Christian bookstore.

The book says a lot of what's already been said but very neatly: how to bring back a church that's going down the toilet.

Some sad facts: (1) churches are dying at a rate of 8 per day; (2) coming back requires change which is hard when churches can't even change worship times or supplement the organ with a guitar/drum or vice versa without folks rolling and spitting in the aisles in a non-Pentecostal kinda way; and (3) "Most churches love their traditions more than they love the lost."


How to, uh, come back: (1) renewed love for Jesus; (2) renewed attitude of servanthood; (3) more prayer; (4) removing meaningless traditions and practices that repel the unchurched; (5) fall in love with the church again because you can't love Jesus and hate His bride; (6) distinguish between personal prejudices and discipleship patterned by Jesus and prescribed by Holy Scripture; (6) psyched leadership in keeping with the preceding; and (7) "The pain of staying the same has to become greater than the pain of change...The pain to be inflicted is they have to fall in love with lost people again...They've got to fall in love with seeing men and women come to faith in Christ..."


I think the Lions and Republicans have a better chance of...



Speaking of turnarounds/turnovers/do-overs/comebackers, our family of faith is getting ready to elect new officers.

We have a nominating committee that makes recommendations to the congregation that elects 'em for better or...

I send out an annual letter about it; auto-suggesting some inspirations/indigestions (italics) that never survive final editing:


Our nominating committee has begun the annual prayer and process
of discerning who our Lord is calling into our family of faith's leadership
as deacons and elders. Help us, Jesus! Please not...

You are invited to share your nominations with them. The committee
will examine all nominations, pray discernment, and present their
slates to the congregation for confirmation at our annual meeting.
No, electing someone as a deacon or elder isn't how you get somebody
interested in the church after years of absence, bantering and moaning,...

Essentially, deacons are responsible for our ministries of sympathy
and service while elders review and chart the whole life and ministry
of the church. That's why you gotta keep creeps off the boards!

Some elders are appointed to chair session committees which include
deacons and invited members. Entrusted with leadership by our Lord
through the vote of the congregation, "chairing" elders select committee
members subject to the review and recommendations of the session.
See italics after the preceding paragraph!

Paul said a church leader...[read 1 Timothy 3]...Our franchise's
constitution says "those who undertake particular ministries should be
persons of strong faith, dedicated discipleship and love of Jesus Christ
as Savior and Lord. Their manner of life should be a demonstration
of the Christian gospel in the Church and in the world." O.K., apart
from Mother Teresa...

I'll never forget an elder who read all of the Biblical and constitutional
requirements for church leadership and then asked, "Who's left? I don't
think I've ever met anyone who meets all of those qualifications." I
replied, "You're right! Jesus came because we need Him to save us
from the penalty of not meeting those expectations. That's the Gospel!
He's the Gospel! God knows nobody's perfect. I believe our Lord
expects officers to do their best by His grace while not being notoriously
suspect in matters of faith and morality." That's how ___ got on back

While I have never told a nominating committee who to present to the
congregation for election, I offer the following as basic qualifications
for a church leader: (1) a clear confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior;
(2) regular worship attendance; (3) a record of faithful stewardship;
(4) participation in the whole life of the church; (5) Romans 12:3;
(6) 1 Timothy 3:6; (7) teachability; (8) cooperativeness; (9) openness;
and (10) 1 Thessalonians 5:12ff. So how in God's name did ___ ever
get nominated in the first place?

Among the texts which are recommended reading during this prayerful
process are Ezekiel 34:1-10, Matthew 20:20-28, Romans 12, 16:17-20,
1 Corinthians 12-13, Ephesians 4:1-16, 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9,
and Hebrews 13:7. Mainliners don't know where to find Genesis.
This could take a while.

The bottom line is an officer must love Jesus and pray and labor to love
like Jesus. This is especially hard for people who can't distinguish
what they think, feel, and want from what He has revealed in...

There's only one question which should shape our life and ministry
together: "What would Jesus say and do about it?" The earth is
the Lord's and fullness thereof no matter what ___ thinks!

Please pray for our nominating committee, pray about your
nominations, and pray for me as I pray for you. Go back to italics
after the first paragraph

Blessings and Love,

Are the Yankees playing tonight?


Blessings and Love!

Monday, October 26, 2009

October 26, 2009

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


So-called Christians who can't/don't/won't distinguish between hating the behaviors that insult God's holiness that always injure others and yet still extending unconditional agape don't really love Jesus as evidenced by not really loving like Jesus.

I no longer make excuses for myself or others who don't love like Jesus while pretending to love Jesus.

My patience for that kind of hypocrisy has diminished.

I'm tired of left and right winging "Christians" who parade around like they're that much better than their counterparts as they more than hint at an unseemly self-righteousness bordering on blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

It's O.K. to hate PBHO's barely detectable principles when they contradict the righteousness of Holy Scripture; but it's never O.K. to hate him personally and not pray His best graces for him.

It's O.K. to hate the Yankees because they buy all of the good players in the spirit of free enterprise; but it's never O.K. to hate 'em personally like some Christians hate each other for Christ's sake.

Parenthetically, if you hate the Yankees because they buy all of the good players, what does that say about your commitment to capitalism as the catalyst of America's pre-eminent position, prestige, possessions, and power? I've always thought revenue sharing as opposed to free enterprise was straight out of the Communist Manifesto; or, uh, Acts 2 which nobody really takes that seriously.

Besides, with the Yankees back in the World Series for the gazillionth time, order has been restored to the universe and free enterprise is safe for another year or at least until PBHO proposes another government takeover.

I have a theory.

If the Yankees aren't in the World Series on a regular basis, it's just another metaphor for the end of our empire.


Some people actually reason like that.



The pastors in our family of faith were treated really well on October 25.

We got nice notes and generous gifts from everyone except for those who hate us in a Christian kinda way for calling out their boorish behaviors.

Our Doves (youth choir) and congregation sang a song to us that was awkwardly disarming and touched us in deeper places to know we're not as bad as some people have been saying.

While I don't like to boast even in a Christian kinda way about what's happening in our family of faith because, uh, well, geez, holy cow, KDs, as I tried to explain to our family of faith recently, are for everybody who wants to read 'em, these are exciting days on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois as we receive His fresh wind and fire to be a beacon pointing to Him and pray/labor to be a safe haven for everybody. Truly, His Holy Spirit has been sweeping us up into unprecedented unity and unconditional love.

Be that as it was on Sunday and is every now and then, I wrote a personal pastoral letter to our family of faith last Friday that may mean something to ya'll:


Though I often fail, I pray and labor to be sensitive to the, uh,
sensitivities in our family of faith; especially when writing KDs
which, for better or worse or whatever, extend far beyond the
boundaries of our family of faith that is so cherished by moi.
I hope that was addressed to your cognizance in the last
few editions.

I also know many of our family of faith friends do not receive
KDs because they are not cyberspaced-out.

Be that as it is, I thought you'd enjoy these two comments
that arrived very early this morning from Ohio and Minnesota:

Buckeye: "You wrote, 'No one forced me to act like a
self-righteous...' I didn't realize you were freed
already! Tee Hee! Just HAD to say it!"

Gopher: "You have the strength and understanding of
grace to know the power of forgiveness. I am still
seeking to find it and someday will cherish it.
Thank you!"

While I have grown a great deal in the latter over the last
decade, the former brings out the Pauline confession in

Truth is I know I fall and fail and still need Jesus; which makes
me just like you.

When we dare to assume we don't fall, fail, and always need
Jesus, we blaspheme against His Spirit.

I must also confess to you that my greatest struggle these
days is with people who are judgmental speck-inspectors
who see everybody's faults but their own; inhibiting the
forgiveness expected from all of us in honor of His forgiveness
extended to us.

It's a journey, friends; and when you think you've arrived, you
haven't begun.

Yes, the graph of our lives and ministries should show gradual
improvement; or as I like to say in a Vonnegutian gutting of
grammar, "More intimacy with Jesus makes us more better
than more badder."


So here's the deal in the words shared with me by an old
African-American elder many years ago after I lamented
the racism that she had suffered: "You love 'em! Let God
judge 'em!"

Blessings and Love!

P.S. BTW, the deal is an offer we can't refuse from Jesus.

I got two responses:

A regular worshiper: "A big thanks from one imperfect
soul to another. I should start every day reading
this. I am going to put this on my desktop."

An irregular worshiper: "I don't have anything to
confess! Before you came over four years ago,
everybody followed my ideas and nobody
questioned my judgments. They knew how
faithful I am until you started asking everybody's
opinions on how to run the church."




Some quotes from notes directed at moi on October 25:

Anonymously attached to a can of Chock Full o' Nuts coffee:
"From one forgiven nut to another! I appreciate you!"

Anonymously attached to a Harley-Davidson mug: "I know
you're into freedom but I still wish you'd wear a helmet
so you can be our pastor for another 20 years."

Postcard slipped under study door: "God loves you and
I'm still trying!"

Adult: "I actually miss you when you're away."

Matthew: "Thanks for preaching to me in church and
at home. Thanks for loving me unconditionally."

Child: "See you on Wednesday! And thanks for
bringing Sunday School back! I need it."

Child: "Thank you for letting new people come to
the church."

Child: "Thank you for always taking time to talk
to me."

Adult: "I appreciate you all year long because
I know you try to be like Jesus and love
and care for me and my family without
judging us like some others in the church
who were leaders and hurt us because
they talked like they were so much better
than us."

Adult: "Thank you for not making me fit into
a predetermined criteria to be your special
friend in Christ."

Child: "You make church fun! Isn't that what
Jesus wants?"

Adult: "Thanks for hanging around with us!
Now is the time to break loose!"

Adult: "We're happy you're happy!"

Adult: "You probably don't remember this,
but thank you for returning Him to His
place in our church and putting them
in theirs! I don't know if you've got guts
or are just crazy in love with Jesus!"

Now that's a lot to pray about.



Speaking of prayer, I haven't written out a whole prayer since I heard Him say, "Bob! We went over that on Friday! Don't you have anything new to say this morning?"

Be that as it was, I don't have anything against folks who write out their liturgical prayers; but I just outline 'em these days and let...

Well, too many folks have asked for a copy of yesterday's pastoral prayer for me to ignore repeating the outline:

When we grow up, O God, we will worship together with
all flavors and fancies; respecting all people who love You
and all giftings for worship that come from You...

When we grow up, O God, my way will yield to Yours
and silly words like traditional, contemporary, Baptist,
Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Methodist, whatever, and
even Presbyterian will be replaced by Church...

When we grow up, O God, I, me, ours, and mine will
be replaced by You and Yours in selfless, sacrificial,
serving, and cross-bearing...

When we grow up, O God, we will be more prone to
give than take, love than hate, forgive than hold grudges,
and recognize our judgments, angers, rages, discontents,
and contentions cannot come from You; but, rather, as the
apostle warned, satiate sick appetites...

When we grow up, O God, we will love like You - mercifully,
generously, indiscriminately, inclusively, unconditionally...

Yes, there is a day coming when we will say with the apostle,
"When I was a child...When I grew up..."

Until that day comes, we will not experience the fullness of
Your grace or glory but only hints of the heavenly...

Until that day comes, we will forfeit the rivers of living water
for trickles...

Until that day comes, Your lament will increase, "O Jerusalem..."

In the meantime, we beg Your mercies for...

...knowing it's infinitely good that Your love is so much more
inviting, welcoming, including, and unconditionally loving
that its reflections through Jesus with Whom...




Blessings and Love!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

October 22, 2009

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Monsignor (1982), a movie about a corrupt priest played by Christopher Reeve, didn't win any major cinematic awards; but it caught/catches my attention.

Essentially, Father Flaherty (Reeve) compromises his discipleship for ecclesiastical advancement; finally confessing, "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I have killed for my country, I have stolen for my church, I have loved a woman, and I am a priest."

But here's the line from Father Flaherty's confessor that continues to sober me: "God gives us our choices; but we, ourselves, must choose."

Tony Campolo put it this way for me years ago: "You know you're growing up when you stop blaming your bad behavior on poor potty training."



While I try to blame others for my mistakes or try to convince others to share culpability for 'em, the mirror doesn't lie.

I can write and preach so well on sin because I am so familiar with the subject.

I can counsel others in sin because, well, I've been there and...

No one forced me to commit adultery; and I was not freed from its chains until I assumed full responsibility for it.

No one forced me to leave a church or two prematurely for professional/personal gain; and I was not freed from those chains until I assumed full responsibility for it.

No one forced me to misuse plastic and live with that humiliation; and while still, uh, paying the consequences of that sin, I was not freed from those chains until I assumed full responsibility for it.

No one forced me to act like a self-righteous-self-centered-egomaniac-jackass so often in my life and ministry; and I was not freed from those chains until I assumed full responsibility for it.

No one will be responsible for my head splitting open if a cager pulls out in front of me and hurls me to the pavement; for I bear full responsibility for my rationale for not wearing a helmet when riding my mule.

And because so many people in my life and ministry refuse to take responsibility for their sins against Him and each other, I have learned, after a very hard look at the cross, that following Him to that cross requires bearing it for those who...

The apostle was right about the freedom that comes through confession.

Jesus requires us to bear the sins of others who cannot bear to bear their own; which is why I often say in many contexts, "I will assume the blame for you so we can move on."

That's the kinda grace that He's given to us to move on.

That's the kinda grace that He requires from us to help others move on.

Or something like that.


I often refer to some salt from Mark Twain that must be sprinkled on the church too regularly: "The church is always trying to get other people to reform; it might not be a bad idea to reform itself a little by way of example."

I think of that whenever I pick up the broken pieces from churchfolks who have been especially nasty to each other.

It's a recurring theme of ministry.

How can churchfolks expect people in the world to get along when they don't/can't/won't?

When people look at church spats and the like, they aren't persuaded to join the church.

They don't want what we've got.

If the church isn't a safe haven of unconditional love and just more of the same being offered in the world...

And, confessionally, it's hard to prove you love Jesus when you're treating His children like...

That came to mind during last night's apocalyptic moment.

I always like to interrupt choir practice because, well, uh, geez, I love 'em and like to talk with 'em and then pray with 'em.

Anyway, I was asked why we only have one worship service when we have a guest preacher.

While you'll have to decide if it was an inspiration or indigestion, I felt a rush of His Spirit moving through mine and the words gushed, "It's rather abusive to make a guest preach three times for three different services - two are less than half-filled and the other one only looks filled because it's in the chapel...Besides, Jesus loves all music. Jesus loves all liturgies. Jesus loves the organ. Jesus loves guitars and drums. And when we grow up, all of us will be able to worship together and rejoice in all of those gifts."

Here's the neat part.

As I spoke, I felt so close to Jesus and I saw the glowing faces of our chancel choir and organist and choir director.

We had tasted His glory while bathing in His truth.

Of course, now we'll see if...



I got a note from a subscriber about the last edition of KD that included a few sentences on the mutual affection/affirmation in our family of faith: "Hey! Your ministry through KD extends far beyond your family of faith in Belvidere! Your passionate commitment to preach, teach, and pastor at...[some nice things were written about this witness that lack juxtaposition to this edition's confessional bent and, ergo, are omitted]...I pray that First's Family of Faith appreciates your ministry and service and that they also understand the sacrifice that your wife and children make by allowing you to be available to your immediate and now much extended congregation."

Most do.

Some don't.



I am still struggling to overcome the consequences of my last big sin (plastic).

I am old enough to know there will be more in the future.

Except for those who blaspheme against the Spirit, we never outgrow our need for Jesus.



Blessings and Love!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October 20, 2009

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



I inhaled; and when WJC said he didn't/tried/couldn't, I knew integrity would not be a part of his legacy.

I stopped because I was spending too much $ at Burger King, decided to finish seminary, and realized I act stoned, uh, naturally.

With the Feds joining California in making medicinal marijuana almost legal in a don't-ask-don't-tell kinda way and heads winning more seats in Congress than ever before, it won't be too long before recreational weed is being sold next to your favorite brew at Sam's.

Legalizing and taxing all drugs will erase the national debt overnight, deal a KO to organized crime, force 81ers to sell more T-shirts, and send the heads in Congress along with their enabling lawyers and law enforcement agencies back to Saudi Arabia for graft.

Or something like that.

As for me, I was asked if I'd toke up again if it were legal; and I said, "Absolutely not...unless, I, uh, had to review the minutes of an ecclesiastical meeting or watch re-runs of anything involving Joy Behar."



Staying with that theme, KD conducted a nationwide survey: "Who is the most embarrassing politician in America?"

While presenting residents of California, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania with an endless possibility of candidates, respondents were limited to one nomination with a one sentence rationale.

There were 258 replies.

There was a second question: "Who is the most admirable politician in America?"

There were no replies with these comments being representative of those who even acknowledged the question: "I have no candidate for most admirable. I am just this side of 're-elect nobody'...A tie between the four guys on Mt. Rushmore...They all died with Miss American Pie!"


Getting back to embarrassments like the Tennessee Titans, here's a sampling of the selected winning losers in no special order with memorable quotes:

PBHO - "Because nobody in his right mind would be a White Sox fan...Can you spell c-u-l-t?...Makes Jesse Jackson look like
a hermit...Says so little about so much..."

WJC - "He's why PBHO was elected!"

GWB - "He's why PBHO was elected!"

JM - "He's why PBHO was elected!"

Kay Bailey Hutchison - "She responds to inquiries from vets with form letters."

Burris and Durbin - "They prove Massachusetts isn't the only brain dead state."

Barney Frank - "He gives gays like me a bad name."

Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer - "One was hot and one's still not."

Tammy Baldwin - "What a waste...and I'm not talking politics!"

Robert Byrd - "A racist dressed up in the clothes of a jackass."

Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe - "They're the evolution of the GOP."

VPJB - "Did you notice what he was drinking at the beer summit?"

Arlen Specter - "The word chameleon comes to mind."

Christopher Dodd - " in fraud..."

Alcee Hastings - "The poster boy for everything wrong in Congress!'

Many nominations were discarded because of unprintable rationale.


Getting back to being stoned, members of the church that I pray and labor to serve with some integrity while failing so miserably so regularly as if anybody needs to remind me have confused many of my comments about PAM which I am no longer mentioning because my wife said enough is enough as being about them which is not true and hardly in context though perception is reality for people who like perception as their reality.

Or something like that.

Anyway, please scroll down and re-read the first section of KD's 10/8/09 edition as a necessary preface for what follows.

First, I write KDs for, uh, anybody/everybody who reads 'em.

Again, go back to the first section of the 10/8/09 edition.

When I talk about churches, that may or may not include the one being kinda served by moi.


Maybe not.

Or as Harold said to the woman who said he had preached a sermon about her, "If the shoe fits..."

Let's put that in an Eleanor Rooseveltian context: "No one can make you feel anything without your consent."

My translation: "You only feel guilty if you are."

Second, I love First's family of faith more than anyone in it can gauge or entertain; and while I feel affirmed and appreciated, that's not what my beruf is about. It's about trying to love Jesus by loving like Jesus without regard to who, what, where, or when and without the need for response, regard, or reward.

Or something like that.

If I were after $ - which, uh, I could use to pay off a little plastic - I would have taken the advice of Hans Luther to Martin.

If I were after kudos - which, uh, I prefer to, uh, its counterpart - I would have followed the example of vocational anti-paradigms who agree with the last person that they've talked to and fulfill their ministries like clauses and sentences ending in prepositions.

Or something like that.

Having said that, I do feel appreciated and affirmed even as I appreciate and affirm the family of faith entrusted to my charismata.

My call is to stay for the duration or until I die or until the minority that hates me and left return and try to...

I will pray and labor to be pastoral at all times; extending unconditional love and regarding no one as any better or any worse than anyone else because treating people that way means some don't need Jesus as much as everybody else.

I will pray and labor to be prophetic as necessary; or completing the thought of Mr. Rodgers, "God loves you just the way you are and too much to leave you just the way you are."

Or something like that.



Does anyone have an extra plane ticket to California?


Blessings and Love!

Monday, October 19, 2009

October 19, 2009

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Considering that song as the best metaphor for Solomon's Song of Songs, it's the kinda romantic passion lacking at the core of most post-marital care/counseling.

Admittedly, I was devastated upon discovering she wasn't singing about me.

Despite the plethora of calls and e-mails while away last week, I had time to think about stuff like that; and, as you know, KD's goal is to provoke thought rather than agreement as our/their American political/socioeconomic/ecclesiastical culture declines/devolves quicker than poop through a goose.



My mom started it all off this time by clipping, saving, and handing James C. DeSombre's obituary to me as soon as I arrived.

He died on October 4.

I assume it was the same kinda cancer that got his older brother Kurt.

Maybe if we spent more $ on research to save lives rather than abort, euthanize, or bomb 'em away...

Jimmy was one of my best friends in high school until his athleticism led him to stardom while mine led me to the sideline, Mountain, and precursors to Woodstock; yet our bond was cemented/connected as he dated Mimi while I dated her best friend Ruthie to the tune of Meatloaf's epic.



Jimmy was the star, Mimi and Ruthie were cheerleaders, and I was playing biker-poet.

Reading that obit, I thought of my first trip to D.C.'s Vietnam Memorial; recalling the tears streaming down my face as I spotted the name of a boy who shared my birthdate and died over there while I...

Why him/them?

What am I doing with my life?

Have I accomplished anything worth a heaven/damn?

I can't get Martin Luther King, Jr.'s words out of my mind (2/4/68): "Every now and then I guess we all think realistically about that day when we will be victimized with what is life's common denominator - that something we call death. We all think about it. And every now and then I think about my own death, and I think about my own funeral. And I don't think of it in a morbid sense. Every now and then I ask myself, 'What is it that I would want said?'"

I just finished my next-to-last book: I Just Wanna Ride (FTW).


Ah, I guess we'll see.



I played the best back-to-back rounds, uh, of my life with my dad last Monday and Tuesday on really tough courses.

One bad shot in 36 holes.


I overheard him say to my mom, "Bobby is a championship golfer. He's playing the best golf of his life. He's scratch."


It was strictly OBE; and I wondered if it was my Caddyshack moment.



Yeah, I thought about a lotta/too/many things.

1. Does anyone seriously think Boise not-a-real-State-it's-a-city would even be on BCS radar if they played in the Big 12, Big Ten, Pacific 10, SEC, MAC, or even the ACC or Big East?

2. PBHO won the Nobel Peace Prize for, uh, geez, wazzupwitdat, uh, uh, uh, uh,... Oh, I get it! He's changed our national/global mood. Kinda like those lava lamps that we used when... Yeah, it makes sense now. Reality looks much better while stoned.

3. Rush Limbaugh ain't gonna be a NFL owner any time soon. C'mon, crackers! Deal with it! He does sound like a racist to everyone but WASPS. Scroll down and review the Bob Rule.

4. Jim Irsay said Rush Limbaugh doesn't have the kinda character that qualifies for NFL ownership. Please! Isn't he the guy that moved the Colts from Baltimore to Indy in the middle of the night like a rat running for cover before dawn?

5. Getting back to, uh, reality, Hugo Chavez and Rush Limbaugh think PBHO didn't deserve the Nobel previously awarded to Arafat and Carter. Henry Kissinger and Nancy Pelosi gushed and celebrated PBHO's selection. Pass the weed!

6. The Yankees are headed to another World Series which means free enterprise in America ain't dead yet.

7. My next book will be my last.



I'm really tired of all the yelling, contention, disaffections, disunities, my-way-or-the-highway-pick-up-your-marbles-disloyalties, and the unlike in our world.

My soul is weeping.

My energies have been sapped.

I gave it my best and...


On the brighter side, a note from a friend in South Carolina who received a note from a friend in South Carolina: "I stopped at a garage sale...nothing much there except for one book which I have just finished reading: Fifteen Secrets for Life and Ministry by Robert R. Kopp in 2004...Anyway, the book was very good and a bonus was that the teaching was done with quite a sense of humor as well."

I guess there's hope for I Just Wanna Ride (FTW).

Garage sale?

Maybe not.

Metaphor pour moi.

Caddyshack moment?


I heard a corporate shrink say many years ago, "You are not responsible for what others say and do; but you are responsible for what you say and do and how you respond to what others say and do."

So, while away, I decided to ratchet up my quest for authenticity.

I'm not giving up; but I'm intensifying my look up, stand up, speak up, and act up for Jesus.

I've decided to take Him more seriously than ever; and not allow the lesser denominators in my life/ministry to dictate to me.

I have only one Lord.

While I've kinda been known for saying what I mean and meaning what I say, I have decided that every question will receive a naked answer (i.e., without anesthetizing euphemisms) that will be recanted publicly if proven wrong.

So don't ask if...

Parenthetically, there are some questions that will require one of the following responses that were outlined by the last great President of PTS (amended after #4 with no apologies):

1. "Yes."

2. "No."

3. "We'll talk about that later."

4. "It's none of your business."

5. "Thank you for sharing that."

6. "I may be wrong; but here's what I think..."

7. "Quite frankly, I don't care what you think..."

8. "If you would get your head out of..."

9. "So you're still on crack..."

I guess being away and looking back has propelled me to consider a future guided by previous principles.

Or something like that.



Think before it's too late.


Blessings and Love!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October 13, 2009

Guess who won the Nobel Peace Prize?

RRK may be away; but Kathie presents
a compelling video on why he won!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

October 8, 2009

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


My wife wants me to stop writing about PAM.

She says I'm treated well.

She's right.

Aside from a few irregulars who aren't pillars or players anyway, I'm treated well on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois.

I've never said or written anything to anyone to the contrary in any context.

"Honey Bear," I confessed, "KD isn't about me. I just want people to think about how they're relating to each other as a betrayal of how they're relating to Jesus; and when it comes to PAM, some pastors are treated miserably while others, like me, are treated well. It just never occurred to me that I should pretend everything's great for everybody."

I've never thought things get better by thinking everything's great.

It must be the Calvinist in me.

I may be wrong.



While I'm still interested in a beer summit with PBHO, his fans get really upset when I suggest he's strictly OJT as the main man in D.C.

"If he's so unqualified to be President," I was asked yesterday, "why did he win so convincingly and why do people still love him so overwhelmingly?"

Good question.

After a nano-second or less, I replied, "Two words for the first part: John McCain. Two words for the second part: Paris Hilton."

Go figure.


I just read the 10/4/09 edition of my favorite theological journal: Parade.

After getting through some life-changing snippets on why VPs are such buffoons, Arsenio's continuing hots for Paula, the vocational liabilities of bad credit, and how venacura will improve my appearance by erasing spider and varicose veins without surgery, I read the "surprising results" of an exclusive Parade poll: "How Spiritual Are We?"

Parenthetically, while making no reference to them, Parade placed pictures of Joel Osteen and Rick Warren between paragraphs. Hmm. If Parade really thought they could attract more readers by tapping into idolatry, I wondered why they didn't include a picture of PBHO.

Be that as it wasn't, I've culled some of it for KDers' consumption.

By way of preface, "Parade's survey reveals a nation looking heavenward - but with its feet firmly planted on the ground of modern life."

Bipolarity seems descriptive; or as my daddy says, "America has become the land of the formerly free with two feet planted firmly in the air."

Knowing lots of folks feel comfortable in the position, you be the judge!

69% of Americans believe in God while 77% pray outside of religious services.

75% believe it's a parent's responsibility to provide religious training for their children while 45% consider themselves religious, 50% don't attend worship services, 56% think people go to heaven or hell depending upon their behavior, and 59% say all religions are valid.

82% would marry outside of their religious preference but 24% say their spirituality does not include religion, 78% would never think of converting to another religion, and 33% consider religion as important but not that important.

67% pray because it brings comfort and hope, 72% pray for others, 60% pray for forgiveness, 27% are after success, and 21% want money.

17% go to clergy for guidance while 55% lean on family members.

59% believe religion can help solve our world's problems but 41% say religion starts wars and causes suffering.

15% consider religion when it comes to politics and 58% say religion and politics don't mix.

12% don't believe in life after life.

Go figure.


Despite my wife's protest, it's still PAM; and a few more folks have written to KD about it.

From a Baptist who, like me, is treated well: "Without saying anything or prodding from me or my staff, I have received two plates of chocolate chip cookies, a plate of iced brownies, a gift certificate to Outback, several drawings from our Sunday School children, a book of coupons, a pie of my choice, a Sunday lunch, and several cards. And it's only the 7th day of the month!...My folks really come through...I would also say maybe some pastors in bad situations are in them because of their own making. I don't know all the facts so I won't say that. Oops! I guess I just did! It must be KD rubbing off on me."

From a Presbyterian who, unlike me or the Baptist, hasn't been treated well: "I was looking at our denomination's planning calendar and noticed October 11 is HIV/AIDS Awareness Sunday. I also noticed other calendars promote October 11 as Pastor Appreciation Sunday. Do you think there's a connection?"

From the daughter of a friend who isn't writing about PAM; but I couldn't figure out where else to put this: "I just had a call from a charity asking me to donate some clothes to the starving people throughout the world. I told them to forget about it! Anybody who fits into my clothes isn't starving!"



This is the last edition of KD for a week or so; which will come as great relief to people who've stopped thinking because they've already figured out everything along with my wife who will be spared more stuff on PAM.

I'm driving to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania to see my parents, sister, and other lesser relatives after services on HIV/AIDS Awareness Sunday.

I'm also going to root for the Yankees and Giants while eating the only pizza in America worth eating until I puke; that is, of course, as long as one of those relatives is paying or that plastic miracle occurs before the parousia.

Go figure.


Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

October 7, 2009

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



I've been hosting a group of saints called "Belvidere Brewers" at Starbucks for a long time.

We talk about everything/everyone every Tuesday from 8:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Yesterday, for example, we talked about Chicago losing the Olympics to the murder capital of South America, an emerging church moving into town with an authentically Christian and extraordinarily gifted lead pastor who's gonna change the county/community's religious landscape while scaring the heaven/hell out of local clergy, wineskins, whiners, and why this would be a could time for the parousia.

You've gotta sell a lotta coffee and be really friendly to keep one of those kinda places open; and, indulge my preening, I've brought lots of new customers to 'em.

After meeting with a friend to chat/pray around 7:00 p.m. at Starbucks last night, I boasted about two visits in one day while asking for a refill.

The guy behind the counter with a porcupine hairdo said, "I'll have to charge you for refills from now on even though I know they don't charge you in the morning when you bring in your group."

Though I've always paid for the first cup and never asked for anything free despite generating so much business for 'em even while coveting one of those black and green Starbucks baseball caps that I can't get unless I work for 'em which may end up happening in my off hours if I don't settle some plastic debt soon, I didn't protest; primarily because it would have been a bad witness to the others in the, uh, brewery who will probably end up in the emerging church moving into town.

Digging into my pocket for the 64 cents that I was hoping to give to Visa, I muttered, "Oh, I forgot, it's still PAM."


Did you hear about the chairman of Florida State's board of trustees who wants to get rid of legendary football coach Bobby Bowden at the end of the season after countless championships and major bucks raised for the university because the Seminoles are off to a bad start; acknowledging the chairman's vacuous rationalizations that nobody's buying?

Have you heard any of the self-righteousness being spewed in David Letterman's direction for doing what everybody else is doing with a lower profile as promoted by our increasingly immoral media, mainline denominations, and entertainment industry?

Bringing back memories of the highly-principled President Jimmy Carter who refused to meet with Martin Luther King, Jr. while a Georgia State Senator because it would offend the rednecks who were supporting him, is anyone really that shocked by PBHO's refusal to meet with the Dalai Lama because it would offend those guardians of human rights in China?

And why does any of that remind me of PAM?


I think it's time for a new theme song for the rest of PAM.



Yeah, that's about right.


I received a poem for PAM:

You are a creative man.
One, I would like to shake your hand.
Two, your humor makes me laugh a lot.
Three, if I drank, I'd have a shot...or not.
...[You're as good as The Office]...
Four, your pastor-subscribers across the nation
make my reality a sensation.
Five, I'm here in the library shelter
the bombs have hit helter skelter.
Six, thinking about PAM
or Mother's Day, Father's Day, or Valentine's Day...
each we see between the lines.
Seven, when others see the card
it may be in their backyard.
Eight, the new PAM - honey
people appreciate money!
Nine, pastors, doctors, lawyers, moms - high fives...
the title is a disguise!
Ten, my dear good friend...
I may be crazy but...I press send!

Very cool.


Here's something uncool from someone who's hot:

Dear KD,

I know what you're trying to do with these KDs on PAM.

You're wasting your time and my time because nobody really
cares. I remember reading something you wrote long ago: "If
I die, they'll have ham and salad in the church dining room, elect
a new pastor search committee in a week, and give my family
a month to get out of the manse."

You may have been your usual sarcastic self to make an
important point; but that's about right and most of us pastors
know it.

I just escaped one church for another because the chairperson
of the search committee that brought me to the church wanted
me to be her best friend in bed. When I rebuffed her repeated
advances as a happily married man, she turned against me and
started spreading rumors about me and saying how she was
wrong for wanting me to come...When people don't get what
they want from the pastor, they go or try to get you gone!

My new church is good; or, at least, it's good right now. But
some of the folks on the search committee, I think, were
looking for their new best friend or hero for their causes or
mom or dad or something else that I'll never match.

So I keep my resume updated.

Yes, you're right to let pastors vent about PAM and
sneak in some of your own opinions; but you're wrong
if you think anybody really cares.

You know how it goes: "Preachers come and go but
we stay."

I qualify for retirement soon.

I'm counting the days.

Painfully, ___



I got a nice note from a VMTC mentor: "Technically, you are not my pastor, but I want you to know I appreciate you! I look forward to your e-mail stuff because I believe you are REAL. Now that comes from a laywoman who has had no training; but I have lived 72 years and, hopefully, I have learned something during that time...Hang in there and keep on keeping on for our Lord."

That feels good.

This comes from a mentor: "An AG pastor in the Midwest told me about a coal stove in his church. He had to get up early every Sunday morning in the winter when it was really cold and start the fire in it. One Sunday morning when he was very cold and very tired and very discouraged, he complained to himself, 'Why do I have to do this? Why can't someone else do this? I think I will find another church to go to where they either have a better heating system or someone else to do this dirty and thankless job.' Then he heard God say to him, 'The hireling fleeth.'"


From an advisor to the last real leader in the White House: "At communion yesterday, our pastor mentioned how early Christians were hated because they were cannibals. He then wandered around the topic and announced, 'This is the body of Christ, hungry Christians come to be fed.' Now, I could have taken offense that he did not close the theological circle. Where was the consubstantiation and transubstantiation anyway? Where were the famous delineations that would put our minds at rest that we were not actually EATING Jesus?...Well, this is a very well-educated congregation and it is very smart to boot. But I kidded the pastor afterward that he probably made the visiting RCs feel very safe - and the untutored Protestants uncomfortable. It was all in fun without the slightest hint of criticism. After all, it is PAM, right?"

And to think I thought some churchgoers are still cannibals.

A friend who knew Paul (scroll down to the 10/4/09 edition) wrote something that I hope two friends read today before making any decisions: "I was thinking about Paul yesterday...When I read today's KD and how you were blamed for Paul falling off the mountain, I remembered Paul asked me to climb with him that year; but I declined because I was in the middle of a move...Paul took a 'rookie' instead...One of my greatest regrets is that at significant times in my life, when my friends fell, I wasn't there to stop them or help pick them up. I'm sorry."

As I wipe empathetic tears from my eyes, I want this guy to know that he was there for me and prayed me to restoration when I fell.


Unrelated to PAM which will be a relief to those who are feeling guilty about it from any perspective, KD received two comments about the Beck quote in the 10/2/09 edition (scroll down).

From a leading newswoman in the South: "Great quote. Unfortunately, its point is no longer true. Debate has been replaced by 20 second sound bites on the boob tube. Facts are often lost in the emotion of the moment or overwhelmed by the imagery that generates more heat than light, or the degree that the person is articulate enough or attractive enough to catch our attention while we multi-task and watch at the same time. Nothing squelches more than the limits of the television in our living room."

From a high school teacher in Illinois: "You don't need to burn books to destroy a civilization; just get people to stop reading them."


Mainline denominations.


Does anyone see any connections?


I was supposed to play golf with my favorite Special Olympian today.

It's too cold.

I wanted to take our pastor for education and youth and his wife out to lunch for PAM.

His mother-in-law came to town and...

Oh, I forgot, it's still PAM.



Blessings and Love!

How are gifts to KD coming?

Kathie hasn't made reservations
for her family trip to Hawaii.

She told me to keep paying
the minimum on my plastic.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

October 3, 2009

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Paul fell off a Colorado mountain on August 17, 1994.

We were close friends.

A few years after he died, his wife, who ended her grieving period by marrying a denominational executive, called and said, "I blamed you for Paul falling off that mountain. I've decided it's time to forgive you."

I gasped, "Why do you need to forgive me? I play golf. I never mountain-climbed with Paul."

She said, "It was your attitude. You always wanted to have fun and always talked about freedom."

"Oh," I replied.

I was thinking about that while riding my chrome pony on Route 20 near Rockford two days before the start of PAM; then, suddenly, I saw two big bricks fly out of a truck in front of me, swerved and missed 'em, accelerated, pulled alongside the truck, signaled about the problem, accelerated some more, and felt an exhilaration that I can't explain.

It was fun.

I felt free.

According to the man who was with Paul on that Colorado mountain, my friend fell backward and seemed to be floating to his death with a smile on his face.

Maybe that's why it never occurred to me to ask his wife to forgive me.



Another close friend, an elder in a New Jersey church that I left too early, said this to my wife on our wedding day: "He's a kite. Hold on so he doesn't fly too high and away; but you've got to let him fly."

Martin Luther King, Jr. often said something like this, "If you're not willing to die for something, you'll never really live."

I think it has a lot to do with Jesus saying, "If you want to save your life, you'll lose it; but if you lose your life because of Me, you'll find it."

I don't pretend to know all of what that means; but knowing there is life after life that makes this current one nothing more than a speck of sand on the beachfront of eternity, I'm really into fun, freedom, and trying to be faithful even when fun, freedom, and faith collide into an emotional/intellectual/spiritual headache pour moi.



Getting back to PAM, I just received three more takes on it (NP for non-pastor and P for pastor).

NP in California: "Your survey on PAM should have been more probing...1. When you think about verbally attacking your pastor, what is your true motivation? 2. In your mind, pastors are: (A) Perfect by a special anointing and immune from error; (B) Somewhat imperfect but far more holy than anyone else in the church; (C) Just as flawed as the congregation; or (D) Pretenders who chose the easy money and short work week. 3. If your pastor was your boss, son, neighbor, father, or best friend, would you treat him differently and why?"

P in Illinois: "I know some pastors get the crap kicked out of them regularly and don't deserve it. I've been there...In the midst of having my guts ripped out and stomped on, I asked in my heart, 'How long, Lord?' Then he sent me to ___. It is not perfect; but better...There are options. We can move down the road or work at Home Depot or retire. But the shepherd owes the Owner of the flock, not vice versa...I will never be the same because of the wounds I have received at the hands of so-called friends in the church, but I will always have hope because those wounds have been healed by Him and His."

P in Missouri: "I don't feel so angry toward my parishioners. I think they're oblivious to PAM. We're a new church. So it's understandable. The most wonderful gift, however, that I have received, as the pastor of a brand new church, is that we never seem to suffer from a lack of volunteers...When I was a pastor in mainline churches not too long ago, it was almost a miracle if I could wrench one or two reluctant volunteers for any given ministry...Mainliners are notorious fulfillers of the Paredo Principle where 20% of the people do 80% of the work. There were always a few lovely gems who had great spirits, but so many of the rest gossiped, grumbled, and complained. It sucked the life out of the church...O.K., my current church isn't perfect or prestigious. I don't make as much money as many youth pastors...But I wouldn't trade it for my old six figure paycheck, two PAM cards, and a sanctuary full of snoozing losers. No thanks! I'll stick with people who are really building His Church! That's appreciation enough for me!"


Speaking of big paychecks and prestige, I used to send a monthly check to Paul when I was pastor of a fabulously well-to-do church and he was not.

I've never been able to "have" in the face of "have not."

Uh, that's not my problem today.

Anyway, Paul was in a poor church and couldn't even afford mountain-climbing boots.


Maybe his wife was right.

I'm still not apologizing.



Blessings and Love!

I don't text, twitter, My Space, or Facebook. KD and e-mail are all I can handle.
But Kathie has created a "Facebook Fan Page" that can be accessed by going to, uh, Facebook and searching under Kopp Disclosure, going to our website, and clicking on the link or also on the blog archive. Uh, I have no idea what the preceding means; but Kathie told me to tell you that it'll work. If not, just send $!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

October 2, 2009

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



With the third clause of PAM's theme song in mind, VP JB has just blamed GWB for Chicago losing the Olympics to the murder capital of South America.

C'mon, Joe!

Don't worry about it!

Aside from the world ending anyway in 2012, your boss just lost middle and high school votes with his latest, uh, cure: "Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas...Not with Malia and Sasha, not in my family, and probably not in yours. But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom."

He wants to cut back on summer breaks, add time to the school day, and add Saturdays to the school week.

That's spelled H-O-P-E for the GOP.



Churches are becoming very dangerous places for clergy and other Christians.

Last year in a Garden State church, a man shot and killed his wife and a man who tried to intervene.

A pastor was stabbed to death in an Oklahoma church in August.

An Illinois preacher - Gulp! - was gunned down during what must have been an awful sermon in March (Lent?).

During Advent not too long ago, two people were knocked off in a youth mission center near Denver while two more became poster children for gun control in a Colorado Springs megachurch.

A friend was punched to the ground in June because some dude didn't like the sermon.

And to think I get upset because people still write nasty letters to me about changing worship times over five years ago.

Some pastors are mad as, uh, heaven/hell (You pick!) and not taking it anymore.

The Rev. Lawrence Adams, pastor of Detroit's Westside Bible Church, wears a handgun under his robe: "As a pastor, I'm referred to as a shepherd...Shepherds have the responsibility of watching over their flock. Do I want to hurt somebody? Absolutely not!"

I stopped wearing a robe.

Too soon?

Pastor Adams surprised a burglar at the church last Sunday; shooting a man in the abdomen after he swung a bag of loot at him.




Getting back to PAM, a few quick responses to the last KD:

From an extraordinarily gifted young pastor who is moving next door: "I don't let anyone announce PAM in my church. I think it's a tad too self-promoting...Also, I think pastors need to get a backbone. They are part of the problem...Pastors need to stop allowing culture to shape how they spend time...They need to take a Sabbath...They need to learn to say no...I do not answer my phone at night...I rebuke the negative stressed out burdened way of living...Now there are people who are upset with my schedule, but I try to help them understand and grow; or I recommend they find another church because I'm not for sale!"

Another pastor in Illinois: "I found the KD special edition on PAM to be very disturbing...While it caused me to recall all of my past churches and how they harmed me, it occurred to me that shepherds who tend to ___ about sheep are really ___ing about themselves and how unlucky they are to be stuck out here in the middle of nowhere - where no one gives a ___ if they are hungry or cold or poorly housed and compensated. And it occurred to me that shepherds shouldn't be expecting the sheep to be grateful. We're just supposed to protect and feed them. Today, I was embraced by a widow who had lost her husband...That made PAM for me. Yes, we may have thankless jobs, demanding parishioners, cruel taskmasters, and little recognition. But we are not owed any thanks. What we really need is Savior Appreciation Day/Month/Year/Life!"

A pastor in Florida: "After over 50 years in Presbyterian ministry, I remember very little of PAM. Now on Sunday nights, I go to another denomination's evening service. They are having dinners to raise money to send their pastor and wife away for a few days for PAM. Very lovely."

A pastor in Oklahoma: "PAM can be a big disappointment to so many hard-working, sheep-loving shepherds. I've found most of the appreciation comes from my family who work very hard to make PAM something special. Even in our small congregation, there are a few who really make an effort to show their appreciation. However, in spite of this, I remind myself often Who it really is that I am working for - Him! I am simply His caregiver for His people, but He is the reason for it all! His favor, approval, and appreciation are what really, really matters; so when I sometimes get a little discouraged with the lack of response from the congregation, I remember that He is faithful, just, and true!"

Good words.

Yesterday, a 90+ woman said as I left, "You are the best pastor that I've ever had."

My month was made.

This morning, another woman who has been blessed by Him through our family of faith in so many ways became very upset with me for asking why she had been spreading bad reports throughout the community about the many officers, members, and staff who have been helping her. She lit into me: "You call yourself a Christian! You people call yourself a church! You're a hypocrite! And I've talked to people about what a ___ you really are! You think people don't know what a hypocrite you are! But I know some who know you are and we talk about you all the time! That's right! You're not so popular, ___!"

My month didn't unravel over that one.

I know I'm an ___.

But I still love Jesus; and I'm still trying to love like Jesus.

People who get that are appreciation enough for me.






Speaking of hypocrisy, it's really hypocritical of me to say Glenn Beck can be really hyperbolically histrionic.

Or something like I've said about him before.

Be that as it was and maybe is and could be depending upon whatever, his recent book Common Sense caught my attention.

Anybody who quotes Martin Luther King, Jr. catches my attention: "The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be...The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists...The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict."


It's a good read, asks questions about our nation's current direction(s), and promotes pondering about the principles at the core of the American way of life.

You may not agree with everything; but he does provoke thought and concern.

Here are a few lines that really resonate with KD:

I sincerely believe that no discussion or debate is un-American...

Only those afraid of the truth seek to silence debate, intimidate
those with whom they disagree, or slander their ideological
counterparts. Those who know they are right have no reason
to stifle debate because they realize that all opposing arguments
will ultimately be overcome by fact...

In the end, it is not the debate itself, but those preventing it
that are truly un-American. Honest listening and, more
important, honest questioning is the foundation of the American
experiment. We must listen to each other with renewed ears
and speak out with passion, while also recognizing the difference
between anger and truth.



Civilizations end when civil discourse ceases.





Blessings and Love!