Monday, November 16, 2009

November 16, 2009

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Elmer was chairman of the search committee that called me to the church so long ago.

We were theologically compatible and practical/personality polar opposites; and as often happens when members of search committees are, uh, searching for personal buddies/advocates rather than pastors/prophets for the whole congregation, it didn't take too long before I distanced myself from him because a real pastor/prophet can't devote that much time to meet/fuel the needs of someone who wasn't looking for a pastor/prophet for all of the people but rather a personal buddy/advocate.

Or something like that.

Besides, I didn't have much in common with him anyway and didn't really like hanging out with him; so he distanced himself from me and everybody else who were kinda happy that I was inclusive rather than exclusive/selective in who got major chunks of my time which, loosely translated, means I move from crisis to crisis and rarely have time to hang out with anybody in, uh, a social kinda way unless, of course, they golf or ride a mule.

Before he left officially, he resigned from the church board, only worshipped when I wasn't presiding, said bad things about me to his sons so that they wouldn't/couldn't look me in the eyes when I greeted them with my usual enthusiasm, and scheduled his increasingly infrequent visits to the church so that he could slip in and slither out without making eye contact avec moi.

Because I was warned about him before I arrived by a few predecessors and presbyters, I wasn't surprised; though, being as cryptically sensitive as I am, it hurt.

Then he did something that really provoked me to an anger that took years to overcome.

He used $ as a weapon.

Previously, I'd say, conservatively, he supported about 25% of our budget; which, I guess, is why he got to be chairman of the search committee for his next personal buddy/advocate.

Proving his pejorative pathology, he transferred his anger toward me for not meeting his, uh, personal needs by hurting the church's staff, mission, and so on. Though we recovered in about a year and rehired staff and expanded mission, it was a really big hit for such a small church. He turned out to be not as popular as he fantasized - people came to me and confessed they were glad to see him go - and, in two years, the church began to grow and grow and grow...

That's a hint about folks who...

The story didn't end until a few years ago; because, well, uh, geez, sigh, I was really, really, really mad at him for being such a...

I sent letters to encourage him; and always kept my door open to him though, again, he wasn't my type.

I always greeted him cordially.

I never returned his disdain/disfavor/poisoning by speaking ill of him.

I tried Matthew 18:15ff.


My anger grew as he paraded around town so self-righteously and continued his bad reporting about me and, over time, the church; and I couldn't get over how he used $ to hurt us.

Then I heard this: "If you don't get rid of your anger, you will start plotting evil."

I read James 3:16; 4:1-3.

I remembered counsel: "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."

I thought, "In a world with so many dragons, I don't recall Jesus giving permission to breathe fire."

And that's when the last specks of dust were shaken from my shoes.

BTW, grudgeholders are gravediggers; and the only graves being dug in the end are their own.

His family fell apart and he died an old bitter man.

With my anger gone, I felt only pity; and, to this day, I counsel his children.

Irregulars, irascibles, and irreconcilables would do well to read more about anointing.



Speaking of anger, Notre Dame fans are flushed.

While dynasties like the Yankees, Steelers, Tar Heels, and Tiger Woods keep rolling along, ND is spiraling to irrelevancy quicker than Republicans and mainline denominations.

For God's sake - Don't forget the religious connections and Touchdown Jesus! - they can't even beat Navy anymore.

Do you remember when they got all of the calls?


Watching Notre Dame play Pitt on Saturday, I thought I was watching a SEC game as all the calls went against the Irish who must have felt like teams playing against Alabama and Florida.

Talk about the Irish turning green with envy!


Bringing Elmer back into, uh, play, all of that South Bending anger is being directed at Charlie Weis.


Get rid of Charlie and they'll be back in the biggest BCS games before you can ask, "If Connecticut and Stanford beat 'em, is that the last sign of the Apocalypse?"



Truth is - Don't tell my dad or guys like him! - I've always liked ND since they tried to recruit and persuade my oldest not to play for Pitt back in the late 90s.

Truth is - Don't tell on my dad to guys who aren't like him! - my dad said this when I asked what he would have done if his oldest grandchild signed with ND: "I would have bought a ND hat."

Kinda reminds me just a little of Elmer.


Charlie Weis is a good man.

Anyone who was an assistant to the greatest coach of all time (Bill Parcells) deserves respect.

He's got Super Bowl rings.

He started the Hannah and Friends Foundation for children with developmental disorders as an extended expression of his dedication to an autistic daughter.

Unlike Elmer, he has remained a positive role model of the faith even as things spiral downward at ND, they're ranked just above Prairie View and Coastal Carolina, and rabid fans who actually think a football game is really that important call for his head.


Fortunately, ND is a Christian-based university and makes sure their academics and athletics represent...

Uh, forget that for now.

You remember that big fuss about...

Fortunately, Charlie has a big contract and they would never...

Uh, forget that for now.

They've got seven billion in the bank.

Fortunately, Charlie is an alumnus...and white.

Uh, let's not forget that...for now.


Do you remember Ty Willingham?

Black guy.

Good guy.

He was fired with a remarkably similar record with remarkably similar tenure.

Considering both are good guys and both sported the same...

Catch my drift?

My brothers in junior tackle football look at that and say, "It is what it is."



God knows I don't want ND to fire Charlie.

I didn't want 'em to fire Ty.

But if Charlie and Ty are alike in so many ways, how can ND justify firing Ty and not firing Charlie?

No wonder some folks get so angry.



So what do Elmer, ND, sometimes me, and sometimes you have in common?

All of us like people who are like us; or as an American Indian once said, "Justice in America means just us."

And as long as people only hang out with people who must be like 'em to be liked, Jesus will continue weeping.

As long as Elmer, ND, sometimes me, and sometimes you keep distancing ourselves from people who must be loved unconditionally if not liked personally, our credibility for contributing to constructive change will rival Paris Hilton's claim to be a positive role model for young girls.


Blessings and Love!

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