Monday, December 14, 2009

December 14, 2009

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Except if you want/need it to be so you can feel better about yourself by comparison, I don't think my professional/vocational/recreational life is that much different from yours.

As I close in on six decades of thrills, chills, ups, downs, in-betweens, twists, turns, and trips to the mountaintop punctuated by periods of Pippin-like moments of feeling flushed, rushed, and razzle-dazzled, that reflection in the mirror every morning reminds me that I need Jesus as Savior as much as anybody who's ever lived.

While I haven't had the resources/opportunities of, let's say, Tiger, I know I could/would/but-not-should have been as careless/reckless/promiscuous/narcissistic and darkly downright immoral/sinful as him given similar resources/opportunities.

Unless you're Ray Stevens' "Sister Bertha Better-Than-You," you can relate when you stand before that reflection in...

And even those judgmental Sister Berthas, sooner or later and usually sooner than later or definitely in the end, expose themselves.

Oh, sure, they may be pretty good posers for a decade or so; but everyone betrays the need for Jesus as Savior sooner or later and usually sooner than later or definitely in the end.


I was thinking about that the other day as my professional/vocational/recreational life seemed like a survey of the increasing dysfunctions in our American culture.

Bluntly, people are really ___y these days.

I see it all the time as a pastor, presbyter, professor, police chaplain, president of a junior tackle football league, partner, parent, and even other parts of my life that don't begin with P.

There's a lot of unhappiness in our world today that's being transferred to everyone; and even the church - where folks say they love Jesus which means they should/maybe-not-would-or-could-because-it's-a-choice be making some kinda effort to love like Jesus - isn't immune to all of the, uh, ___iness.

When things don't go exactly like too many folks want 'em to go these days, they just ___ and moan about it.

You know it's true.

And if you don't know that, it's probably because you're one of 'em who's doin' all the ___ing and moaning.



Certainly, there's been lots of dysfunction in our world and even among folks who pretend to be close to God since the garden.

Be that as it always will be until the parousia, I've come across a few columns and a KD reader comment in the last week that have really helped me to understand what's not going on in so much of our world and even church.

From James P. Gannon, former editor of The Des Moines Register, in USA Today on 12/8/09: "There is no normal anymore...There is nothing normal about an economy in which the federal government takes over giant automakers, bails out too-big-to-fail banks, buys up nearly all mortgages...There is no normal in American politics anymore...Both major political parties gravitate toward their extremes...In foreign policy, international terrorism is the new abnormal...It is not normal for our wars to drag on...even in WWII, America's involvement was over in fewer than four years...It is not normal for our soldiers to endure three, four, five deployments...It is not normal for U.S. soldiers to be gunned down by one of their own Army officers on American soil...On top of this, our culture has gone alien. Hollywood churns out a gutter-flow of violence, vampires and video sex...The 2008 presidential election was about "change." The election of 2010 and 2012 could be about getting control of too much change and returning to normal."

From Gwen Shaw, founder and president of End-Time Handmaidens, in The Revival Call (number 70, 11/09): "The world and the people in it are becoming ever more sinful, cruel, demonized, weak, and so cowardly they refuse to take a stand against evil. It is a time of great compromise...People are 'selling their souls' to be 'politically correct' and for their job security. The time has come when you can 'buy a man for a dollar.'"

From a mainliner in Maryland in surprisingly corresponding comments related to the last KD (scroll down): "Ron Paul is looking better and better. Did you see Barbara Boxer equating a woman's right to have an abortion funded by the federal government to a man's right to having his insurance fund Viagra? Let's see. Kill a baby or get an erection. Which is more important? It's people like her who cause folks to look at me as if I had three heads when I refer to myself as a liberal. Grrr! Right on about the Confederate flag! One of our members marched with MLK. And isn't it hilarious when white supremacists tout themselves as the apex of creation when most of them are not very bright? KD touched a few buttons today. And God bless you for it."



I was talking to my new black son about why I feel so compelled to look up, stand up, speak up, and act up for Jesus despite the Tigerishness in me.

Parenthetically, that's a metaphor for sin to be taken literally in terms of inclination but not volume; though, again, maybe if I had the resources/opportunities...

Sorry, I'm just not posing with Sister Bertha even if that's expected from clergy.

Well, I reminded him of the English guy in Parliament who said something like this: "When good people do nothing, evil prospers."

To satiate the hyper-Calvinists as well as my sense of original sin, I'd put relatively before good in the last quote.

Be that as it is unless you're posing as Sister Bertha, I also quoted one of my heroes who was mentioned by the liberal with evangelical inclinations from Maryland: "We can no longer lend our cooperation to an evil system...He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it...So in order to be true to one's conscience and true to God, a righteous man has no alternative but to refuse to cooperate with an evil system."

"That's why," I told my new black son, "I don't tolerate mean, nasty, bigoted, judgmental, selfish, hurtful, hateful, my-way-or-the-highway people in my life anymore. And I don't care if those kind of people don't like me 'cause I sure as shootin' don't want to be liked by those kinda people. I won't enable them in church or community or national leadership anymore. It's hard enough for me to look in the mirror without being confused for one of 'em."

Getting back to Gwen Shaw, she sees a new movement being, uh, moved/ignited by His fresh wind and fire: "The elect of God are standing up in a time of darkness, and acting with a courage that has not been seen since the founding of this nation by our early fathers. They will begin to live sanctified and holy lives, walk and conduct themselves in purity and righteousness...If you are one who had determined long ago to 'put your head on the block' for Truth, I commend you to God. All the angels of Heaven are watching over you. And I want to encourage you with the words of Jesus, 'Let not your heart be troubled!'"

I know I'm messed up; which is why I don't dress up like Sister Bertha.

I know I need Jesus as my Savior.

I know I'll never be as pure and perfect as I want to be for Him in gratitude for, uh, everything here and hereafter.

But I'm going to try.


I've got more concerns than the reflection in the mirror.


I'll never forget the elder who would always offer to resign when she didn't get her way; and I'd always talk her out of it.

I wasn't being noble or anything remotely like that.

I just didn't want to deal with the folks who would ask why our Sister Bertha resigned; figuring I could endure her navel-gazing a lot more than...

It's a stewardship thing.

There's only so much time, energy, and emotion to go around; and I'd rather spend mine on folks with problems more serious than whether their deodorant is keepin' 'em dry all day.

Well, she would also say so often to make me wonder what she was really saying if you know what I mean, "I could never be a pastor."

Then it happened.

I wasn't spending as much time as I should with the Lord to enable the fruit of patience and she came in with her predictable offer to resign after not getting her way on something and punctuated the conversation as expected: "I could never be a pastor."

I said, "I believe you have meant well during your tenure on the board; but I must say you have always been right about being a pastor. You don't love people enough to be a pastor. I mean you don't love 'em like Jesus loves 'em. You only love 'em as long as they agree with you. Jesus loves everybody equally. He loves everybody unconditionally. And until I see you loving Jesus by loving people like Jesus, you will never be an officer in this church as long as I'm here or alive. In fact, I won't let you near leadership in any way."

That was many years ago.

She ended up on the church board again; and ran away with a successor.

I see connections between her, Sister Bertha, and Tiger.

Yeah, it's in the genes and it goes back to the garden.

It's in my blood too!

That's why all of us need a blood transfusion if you know what I mean.

Dang mirror!



Blessings and Love!


Dave Moody said...

First the bad news: assuming you're approaching the big 60, its not 6 but 7 decades of all that stuff.

Now the good news.... you've got even more experience than you thought! ;-)

just yanking your chain, RK, thanks-- truly appreciate the insights and challenges you lay before those who have ears to hear.

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Thanks, dude!

I love to have my chain yanked in a metaphorically Christian kinda way.

Merry Christmas!