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!


Dave Moody said...

The PAM's stuff is great. I've never mentioned it, and I think I've received three cards in seven years. I've found it sets the wife up for resentment and anger more than it does me though. Not that I'm more holy than she is, or immune from resentment and anger far from it-- I suspect its a mars and venus thing.

One thing though KD got me ruminating over... the pastor and parishioner as shepherd and sheep analogy. How based in scripture is that, how much is that analogy used when describing what goes on in the church to whom Paul is writing? Other than when speaking of doctrine- wolves, etc... when is Shepherd and sheep used by Paul to describe the relationships within the body of Christ- with Shepherd being anyone other than Jesus himself?When did I quit being a stupid sheep?

That analogy seems to be 100% about him and us... only barely about me and them. Jesus is our (our) good shepherd. If we keep using that as a primary metaphor for our people- is it any wonder ministry of the body, using our gifts, for the good of the whole- every member a minister- really has a rough time catching in peoples mind's? If my main responsibility is teaching, spiritual direction-- but people want to be cared for by a shepherd- which in their minds means having every unsanctified desire met here and now... how helpful is the metaphor as a primary one?

Like I said, just some ruminating... would love your thoughts. My real email is davemoody at mac dot com.

grace and peace,

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Dear Dave,

Thanks for your very thoughtful, uh, thoughts. I tend to agree with you completely about the metaphor. I prefer to refer to our Lord as the Good Shepherd and anyone else who tries to love like Him as undershepherds. But, dang, I really appreciate your sense of His pre-eminence.

Blessings and Love!