Friday, December 31, 2010

January 1, 2011

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



I've just made a big change from milk to dark chocolate.

It just happened - MC one day then DC the next day.


Don't get me wrong.

I'm not one of those once-you-go...kinda guys.

Jughead and Archie come to mind.

Archie: "There's nothing worse than warm pop."

Jughead: "Yes, there is! No pop!"

Anyway, it's my first big change as I cross over into 2011.


O.K., that was trivial.

Some changes are harder to make.

My favorite Special Olympics World Golf Champion comes to mind.

Planning to start playing/practicing together a little over five years ago, I said, "O.K., Billy, I'll pick you up at 5:15 a.m."

He said, "I don't get up until later than that."

I said, "Well, if we're gonna play/practice together, I've got to start early because..."

He said, "But I've got my habits."

I said, "Well, if we're gonna play/practice together, you'll have to change your habit of getting up later than..."

We've been playing/practicing together ever since.


2010 was a big year for me in the, uh, "change" department.

I started wearing contacts for the first time.

When I showed up at the eye guy with my family in the gallery, he said to my wife, "People his age usually can't make the change to contacts."

My wife said, "I don't think he can do it."

My older son laughed as he nodded.

My youngest whispered into my ear, "Daddy, you're always telling people to make changes that are good for you. I know you can do it!"

I've been wearing 'em ever since.

Positive change?

Pictures not necessary.

Then I shaved my head and most of my beard; leaving a nice little patch called a "goatee" by civilians and "biker cut" by, uh, bikers.

My sister was the instigator: "Bobby, you're bald! Deal with it! You look ridiculous with a full beard and no hair on your head. It looks like your head is upside down."

I've been shaving the little hairs that grow on my head and cultivating what can grow on my face ever since.

Negative change?

Pictures available at and

You be the judge; and if you're like most Democrats/Republicans/mainliners/fundies, you'll feel comfortable in that position.



Recently, I came across a column called "When People Don't Want to Change" in the Harvard Business Review.

I was waiting to get a tooth pulled.

You know how it is.

I was nervous and ready to read anything; which is why I picked up that journal dating 4/21/08.

Be that as it was, it's by Marshall Goldsmith who gets paid lots of $ to run seminars for would-be or actual money-makers; coaching executives on how to do what he doesn't do like, uh, seminary professors and ecclesiastical bureaucrats who don't do church but tell those who do how to do what they don't do.

He caught my vocational attention: "Your job is to help achieve positive, lasting change in behavior. How do you deal with people who have no desire to change?"

His answer: "I don't."

Explanation: "Have you ever tried to change the behavior of a spouse, partner or parent who had no interest in changing? How did that work out for you?"

Robert C. Gallagher: "Change is inevitable; except from a vending machine."

Recollection: "Sometimes it's better to talk to God about someone than to talk to someone about God."

Continuing, the renowned business guru who has written 30 books that have sold which compelled me to read on since I haven't had a bestseller yet concluded: "Research on coaching is clear and consistent. Coaching is most successful when applied to people with potential who want to improve - not when applied to people who have no interest in changing. This is true whether you are acting as a professional coach, a manager, a family member, or a friend...Your time is very limited. The time you waste coaching people who do not care is time stolen from people who want to change."

Notice any parallels?

Will Rogers: "There are three kinds of men: ones that learn by reading, a few who learn by observation, and the rest of them who have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves."


God knows Christianity includes changes.

God knows everybody needs to be, uh, born, uh, again in some way if not comprehensively.

God knows there's room for improvement in everybody.

Indeed, anybody who thinks she/he has arrived hasn't begun the journey to self-realization.

Ephesians 4:22-24 is one of a plethora of clear and conclusive revelations compelling changes to confirm conversion to Jesus (cf. Matthew 4:17; 18:1-3; Romans 12; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Surely, the most deceived/deluded people are those who go around saying, "I'm O.K. and you're O.K."

William Blake: "The man who never alters his opinions is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind."

The truth is, as my buddy Tony likes to say, "I'm not O.K. and you're not O.K. but God says that's O.K. because He loves you just the way you are while loving you too much to leave you just the way you are."

Augustine: "If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself, there you have remained. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing."

Simply, everybody needs to change for the better as personified in Jesus and prescribed in Holy Scripture.

Ellen Glasgow: "The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions."



Conversely, change is bad if it is a move away from better behavior as personified in Jesus and prescribed in Holy Scripture.

Let me put it another way.

All changes are not good.

Christlike changes are always good; because they always include loving Him by loving like Him which is marked by selflessness, mercy, forgiveness, and unconditional favor.

Anti-Christlike changes are always bad; because they always include darkly inspired impulses/intentions/actions to selfishness, intolerance, irreconcilability, and conditional favor.

The quick course, uh, of course, on positive Christlike changes is found in the red letters of many New Testaments.


Pop psychology tells us that resistance to change comes from a fear of the unknown or an expectation of loss.

I'm sure that's part of it; which explains an embroidered sign that hangs outside of my study: "Change is good...You first!"

Candidly, I think resistance to change concomitant to Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture is more related to spiritual retardation than emotional or intellectual pathologies; relating more to a person's faith or trust in God than anything else.

For if the change is obviously Christian, then failure to make the change is, uh, unChristian.

Or something like that.

That's why Francis Chan challenges as a way of introducing the "crazy love" of total commitment to God in gratitude for the "crazy love" of God for us in, uh, Crazy Love, "Come with me on this journey. I don't promise it will be painless. Change, as we all know, is uncomfortable. It's up to you to respond to what you read. But you will have a choice: to adjust how you live daily or to stay the same."


C.S. Lewis often described Biblically Christocentric change as a decision to get on the bus.

Some get on the bus.

Some don't.

Harold Wilson: "He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery."

Biblically, historically, and confessionally, the church has often referred to it as the choice between heaven and...



Blessings and Love!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



41 years ago last summer before maturing to patriotic freedom-riding aka putting a HD between my legs, I rode my Honda 350-Four from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania to Provincetown, Massachusetts on the upper tip of Cape Cod in search of summer-interning/working college babes who liked Cream, Stones, and Jimi Hendrix, uh, among other things; only to discover I wasn't in the best, uh, location for that kinda stuff.

It's like motorcycles.

If I've gotta explain that to you, you'll never understand.

It's like mainliners who think Christianity is a religion sporting theology/polity/process when it's a relationship with Jesus as personal/corporate Lord and Savior.

Be that as it is, I knew the upper tip of Cape Cod was a little, uh, different when I parked my mule in front of a church that advertised "Hymns and Hers" on its bulletin board as that coming Sunday's sermon.

I asked out loud, "What the heaven is that all about?"

A woman wearing a clerical collar who was attending to some flowers at the base of that bulletin board looked up at me and said, "It's about the church being bigger than you've probably ever imagined."

It was a queer thought to me at the time; but the more that I've studied and prayed on that agape ethic of Jesus, I've been expanding my spirit as well as theology.

Part of my New Year's resolution every year is to take Jesus' talk about agape and wineskins much more seriously.

If you're a mainliner and don't know where they are, the former is all over the place in the Bible and the latter is in Matthew 9:17.


Speaking of women, I know Time named another guy as its, uh, Man of the Year; but mine is Lorena Ochoa.

Despite being only 29 and at the top of her game (golf), she walked away from the LPGA and a run at the most victories in the history of women's professional golf just 41 years after my trip to Cape Cod.

You can google her name for the impressive stats.

About retirement from a game to get on with life, she said, "We all have a plan in our life...Mine is just go back to Mexico and do things that I love to do, that I miss, and life is too short not to do them."

Though she won a coupla majors in what was a hall of fame career, I'll never forget what she said after barely losing her first real shot at one after hugging the victor and signing autographs for youngsters on her way to the interview room: "That is how I am...It really hurts not to win, but I can still have a good time with my family and my friends. I'm O.K. Sometimes people take it too seriously."

Amen, sister!

Parenthetically, I am resisting the temptation to talk about pulpiteers/pewsitters who are so concerned about the most stupidly insignificant things in church - You know what I mean! - when a world is at war, people are starving to death, nutball religionists are chopping off heads, Democrats/Republicans and other mainliners are destroying America, and...

People like Lorena Ochoa get it/Him.

She's my Person of the Year.



I'm often asked, "Why are so many people so obsessed with sports in America?"

Though I may be wrong yet I wouldn't say it if I thought I am, I think sports - just like church fights over the most stupidly insignificant things related to Jesus only by coincidence 'cause it can't be providence - provide a narcotic for people; anesthetizing the brain from what's really important in life.

Sports nuts and church irregulars, irascibles, and irreconcilables either lose themselves in what has no real meaning/consequence/importance in the end because they can't bear to consider/confront what's really important in life and need an escape from it or they've just got too much time on their hands and nothing better to do than be upset/contorted/viral about stupidly insignificant things.



Back to resolutions, I decided to survey KDers about theirs after reading about Henry Ward Beecher's resolution as a young yet maturing pastor/professor/whatever-he-was in Debby Applegate's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Most Famous Man in America: "I am resolved never to become a disputant or champion on any of those points which divide truly evangelical Christians...[Note that came after denominational disillusionment with 'arcane doctrines, petty ecclesiastical politics, heresy hunting, and constant sectarian warfare waged in the name of God']...promote charity rather than bitter all other churches beside my own...say nothing evil of them, nor to desire their members; nor their decline...give my life to bring all Christians to the work of preaching the true power of the Gospel - the love of Christ."

Not bad for an erstwhile Calvinist.

Anyway, I asked KDers to tell us about their New Year's resolutions.

301 responses - ranging from serious to silly to scurrilous.

The results were, uh, well, decide for yourself.

I've picked representative responses from two broad categories: those who played and those who didn't want to play.


Some didn't want to play!

Businesswoman in Missouri: "I do not make New Year's resolutions. If it is something worth resolving, I would say you had best get with it and not wait until New Year's Day!"

Congregational pastor in Vermont: "I don't do resolutions; but I know what you're after, so...I'm going to learn to care less about what the 'saved' think and more about what the 'lost' need."

Baptist pastor in Illinois: "I have not done resolutions for many years. Probably won't do any this year. I think we should be trying to improve ourselves all the time and I don't need a holiday declared by the world to start a new way of living or to change my ways for the better. I also have enough of the bad things in my life; so, I don't need a day to change for the worse either."

Episcopal priest in, uh, I think, Virginia: "I have resolved not to make any New Year's resolutions inasmuch as I am incapable of keeping them due to our common condition of total depravity. However, I remain open to whatever God may have resolved for me due to His grace in Jesus Christ. Therefore, changes may occur for the better (though painfully perhaps) no credit due to my resolve of personal will."

Lawyer in Kansas: "I don't have a New Year's resolution, but on New Year's Day several years ago the evening news showed all the runners out running on the first day of the year and then interviewed a psychiatrist who said that few New Year's resolutions are kept and that the shorter they were the more likely they were to be kept...Thank Him daily for His daily forgiveness of our inability to keep even a daily resolution not to sin for 24 hours! At least I know how to take a spiritual bath daily and get cleaned up! Confess and repent!"

Businessman in Virginia: "I am one of those who does not make a New Year's resolution. It is O.K. with me if others do, but I have found that I know what I need to do in the coming year as it is the same things I needed to do this year. I have never known people who are really and truly committed to New Year's resolutions. That said, I look forward to seeing what others say. Thank you for your continuing efforts!"


Retired pastor in California who gets the KD genre: "I, uh, usually don't make resolutions, er, except, in a Christian kinda way, to lose weight not as vanity, of course, but so there is more food for the poor and hungry."

Someone who I'd like to spend more time with in, uh, time: "I do not make New Year's resolutions, but I do pick one avenue of my life that I feel needs some attention and put some extra focus there for self-improvement...One year I had to finally admit I did not have many female friends and that I did not trust women in general and decided to change that...Some years are easier...One year I had to stop stopping at the donut shop on the way to work in order to become friends with my backside again."

Early mentor of mine in New Jersey: "I don't make New Year's resolutions. However, I practice a custom which I think comes out of Japan. During the month of December, I attempt to clear up and clean up things that have lingered; so that I might start the new year with a clean slate. Kind of like the resurrection! Old things have passed away, behold all things are new. Whatever!"



Some played!

High School student: "Forgive more!"

Delaware pastor who ain't close to retirement: "Retire!!!"

Reformed Catholic: "My resolution is to listen, nod, but not give advice to my first call pastor-wife; so she can have a place to vent without repercussion...My second resolution is take what you say about being more like Jesus more to heart and to my day-to-day actions. Less of a critic. More of an encourager. Less disdain. More love. Less overlooking. More accepting of those who are not like me in education, status, or health...Finally, more exercise!"

Friend in Colorado: "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. I have found, as I get older, I have become opinionated. Sometimes this is good. Sometimes it's best to just keep my mouth shut and listen!"

Famous newswoman in the South: "Master Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline...and exercise more!"

Former homiletics student of yours truly: "Hack the Vatican's main frame and nominate myself for sainthood much to the bafflement of Pope Benny!"

The most generous member to yours truly in the church because he understands: "I would like to lose 20 pounds; but I like sweets."

A beautiful voice in hearing distance: "More time for date nights!"

Recently reborn and on fire for Jesus: "I am making a New Year's resolution to stop smoking. I decided this would be the only one that I could be sure to keep; since I don't smoke."

President of a major mainline renewal organization: "To read the Bible through with special note as to the significance of places...instances...and to prepare my Sunday School lesson by Thursday evening so that I can have time for thinking of extras for the kids."

Musician/theologian: "My resolution is to appreciate why and for Whom I am here...may my ears, eyes and heart be ever open."

Pastor in Ohio: "Resolve to read my Bible pray be more faithful in gathering for seek ways to reach out to those around me with the help others through the gifts and talents that God has given to try not make the same mistake twice...Let's serve the Kingdom of Heaven in 2011."

PCUSA seminarian: "That I would allow God to use me through my writings or any other way to bring souls into the kingdom."

Pastor in the South: "To deliver sermons that are faithful and call Christians to Christ-like action; then strive to live up to the sermons myself."

Pastor in Maryland: "Lose weight and live a more healthy lifestyle. Also, find a pastoral way to ask a staff member to retire; but he's a church member and..."

Editor of a major website trying to save America that I wish would link to KD: "Try everyday to focus on how grateful I am."

Teacher in Illinois: "To stay organized and pay bills be more patient with people; especially my teenager who makes me fantasize about military enjoy the here and now and not always be focused on the what-ifs, the tomorrows that may never come, or the yesterdays that I can't change."

Basketball coach: "Not talking to officials."

Beautiful sister in Oklahoma: "Be kinder, more patient, and to relax instead of stressing over the small trust Him more and question Him be wiser and gentler with those I remember that people matter more than anything else."

Rockford entrepreneur: "Quit smoking...Get a personal trainer...Make more time with family and loved ones as working away my life is not an acceptable form of fulfillment."

Elder in Illinois: "Learn how to have financial peace...improve my relationship with God...Listen to God rather than changing what He says to what I want to hear...stop"

Mystic in Tennessee: "I want to quit acting what I think my age should act like. 56 is the new 36! @#$%!"

My favorite sister in Pennsylvania: "Make the most of the talents entrusted to me while I still have time to use them!"

An authentic not poser in the South Hills of Pittsburgh: "To act in a respectful manner to all; trying to understand them when making daily decisions that affect them."

Elder in Illinois in a church that I really know well: "Try to be more patient with lukewarm Christians."

Crisis counselor: "To finish and send handwritten letters to everyone in my life that I'm grateful for."

94 year old: "To tell people to wake up and enjoy life and stop ___ and ___ before it's too late."


As pour moi, I was going to exegete Psalm 101 as my personal New Year's resolution; until I realized it was David's and I wasn't really up to it.

In addition to wanting to take Jesus' agape ethic and parable of the wineskins much more seriously, an annual resolution that always comes up short in review on 12/31, I'm resolving to trust Him for, uh, everything here and now as well as hereafter; noting I am more trusting about the hereafter than here and now.

I'm resolving to forgive three people who really, really, really betrayed me in 2010; discovering they really, really, really betrayed me in the years preceding the last one. I'm doing that because I want to be forgiven by people who I really, really, really betrayed...

I'm resolving to buy a van for my wife and provide an example of reckless generosity with the fortune that I'm about to generate or receive anonymously or inherit or...geez...practice what David Ramsey preaches.

BTW, I figured out why Dave Ramsey is so debt-free. It's because he charges so much for his resources that put people who take his courses on how to become debt-free into debt for forking over so much $ to take his courses...

I'm resolving to hug and holy kiss people who need it like, uh, everybody.

Sounds so good.


I know I'm not up to it/Him.


Here's a resolution that I can keep.

I resolve to praise God for being my Savior in Jesus with more gusto even as I try/pray to make Him the Lord of my entire life that will never happen which is why I resolve to praise God for being my Savior in Jesus with more gusto.

Or something like that.



Blessings and Love!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

December 16, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



A Christmas Letter

Dearest Daughters and Sons,

It's hard to believe Christmas is just around the corner.

Better get that tree before Lassie finds it!

While holly and holy don't always seem related, all of it generates an excitement that cannot be denied.

Somebody said, "Not even the secular can sequester the spectacular that's always sparked this season's celebrations!"

I know you're wondering what to give family and friends this year; knowing nobody remembers what you have them last year.

There aren't many things that don't wear out, get thrown out, or become played out.

That's why I'm writing.

I've got an idea that can change Christmas as usual.

Here goes...

Have you taken time to watch children lately?

They're so lost in wonder, love, and praise; and if you go to one of those candlelight services on Christmas Eve, your eyes will blur and then tears will fall as you watch cherubic faces glow even more radiantly than the candles being held in their little hands.

You've got to go!

Something inside almost explodes with fresh joy when you hear a child burst with innocence around manger scenes, "Look! Mommy! Daddy! There's baby Jesus!"

Surely, everything and everyone around this time of the year help make the season bright; but never forget the reason is baby Jesus: "A Savior is born to us! Christ the Lord!"

The best gift of Christmas was and will always be Jesus.

Now don't misunderstand me.

I'm not one of those Scrooges who make holidays look like a bad case of hemorrhoids.

I like popcorn balls, candy canes, cookies with lots of sprinkles, eggnog, mistletoe, and even the funny fat man in the red suit.

God knows they help make the season bright; but, again, don't miss the holy for the holly.

It's about a baby.



While giving/receiving gifts is fun, His gift is forever!

Think about it.

Everybody wants a gift that lasts forever.

We've got Him to give!


Are you with me?

That's why the holiday was named after Him over two thousand years ago.

Christmas is about Jesus!

Sooooooo...point somebody to Jesus!

Invite somebody to worship Him with you and the daughters and sons who get it/Him!


It may be hard to believe that it's almost Christmas, but the hardest thing to believe about Christmas is anyone knowing why we celebrate it who doesn't invite, welcome, and include everyone...

It's/He's true!

Christmas is about giving!

God the Father gave Jesus the Son to us; as a gift of life in time and forever...

For the Whole Family,



Blessings and Love!

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Romance and reality aren't always bedfellows.

For example, when I was in college and dreamed of healing lesbians in a heterosexual kinda way, I didn't have any, uh, takers.

That came after ordination.


I'm only being, uh, honest.

Honeymooning pastors who say their congregations are sooooooo "wonderful" and post-honeymooning pastors who say their congregations are sooooooo "awful" provide another example of the challenge to balance romance and reality.

Personally, I don't trust anybody who's always positive or always negative.

I prefer people who are, uh, honest.

Life can be very messy; and balancing romance and reality seems integral to survival.



Getting back to lesbians, I don't lose too much, uh, sleep because of 'em; though I've heard lots of heterosexual men support a whole industry related to...

Seriously, and I may be wrong on this, I don't lose much sleep over the whole gay thing.

Admittedly, folks on the way left and the way right seem obsessed with, uh, turning me over to their ways of thinking which I find increasingly distant from His way of...

The way left wants me to ignore the Bible and says we've now got "more light" on it and now it's really, really, really kinda cool to be gay in the eyes of God.

The way right wants me to ignore the Bible and says gays should be booted out of the church because they're so, uh, queer.

I'm uncomfortable around the way left and the way right.

I'm uncomfortable around the way left because the Bible is bigger than their favorite parts; and just because there's a lot of romance around gays these days in our culture, it doesn't make it real to Biblical faith and morality.

I'm uncomfortable around the way right because the Bible is bigger than their favorite parts; and just because Biblical prohibitions to homosexuality cannot be denied unless you're on crack, the way right seems almost pathologically obsessed with gays while forgetting about things like their own, uh, pride.

The way left bugs me because they look at revelation and boast, "I know that's what the Bible says, but we think..." How big of them!

The way right bugs me because they pick on gays as somehow more deserving of their self-righteous indignation than, uh, their own self-righteous indignation; and I've often said to 'em, "O.K., if you're gonna kick out the gays, then you're gonna have to kick out the gossipers; which means nobody'll be left."


I prefer Jesus: "Come to Me, all who are..."



If Jesus loves the world, I assume that means you, me, and, gulp, them.

Truth is too many pastors/pewsitters are doing just about as much as Democrats and Republicans to increase the polemical polarization of our culture.

Everybody's so partisan these days; and if it keeps up much longer, churches will continue to splinter and die and America will continue to decline and we'll have blown the Godly grace extended to everybody blessed to live in America.

I'm romantic enough to believe we can come together through Jesus.

I'm realistic enough to believe Jesus is the only way for us to come together; because invitation, welcome, and inclusion are more important to Him than...

A Pittsburgh seminarian got it/Him in a 12/12/10 sermonette that can help churchy people on the way left and the way right to become more than Christianettes: "This holiday is not called Selfmas...No, we need the Christ Child, the baby Jesus. He is the only one who can truly liberate us from our fear, our sin, and ourselves. If we can only learn to see the world in a new way, the Jesus way, things would be much better. If we could give our pain and our fear to Jesus, He would gladly take it from us. If we saw the hurting and needy as Jesus sees them, we would see where our hands can make the world a better and more joyful place for someone else. Getting our joy from Jesus instead of looking for cheap substitutes in the world or inside us will bring a peace that will endure to our souls. That is a Christ-centered Christmas...You see it is always what is at the center of our lives that truly matters. Let's make Christ the center of this season."


Not bad for a mainline seminarian!

The way left and the way right would prove to be more, uh, Christian if they talked/walked about/with Him than about/with their strange bedfellows.



Emerging church guru Brian McLaren was recently interviewed by PCUSA Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons (go to the 12/11/10 edition of for the video podcast); and offered this advice: "Don't bring folks to where you are. Don't leave them where they are. Go with them to a place neither of you has been."

Jesus comes to mind.

I believe it's time for the way left and the way right to take their eyes off of their navels and see the real Jesus who is bigger and better than their romanticized ideologies corresponding to their extreme pathologies.

McLaren went on, "We're part of a huge cultural shift...If we want our tradition to continue in the future, we have to give permission and encouragement for creative innovation and creative exploration, which will require us to go back and rediscover what it is about the gospel that's precious. What does it really mean to be a Christian? What is our identity and mission in the world?"

Jesus comes to mind.

I believe it's time for the way left and the way right to take their eyes off of their navels and see the real Jesus who says kinship with Him requires expanding wineskins and unconditional agape because it's more about His amazingly overarching grace to save us from the damning consequences of our real sins than the romanticized ideologies born of pathologies pretending the extremes are "more right" and "more saved" than counterparts.

McLaren asks for the "nones" or majority of Americans who regard themselves as spiritual rather than religious, "Can you accept me where I am and lead me gently and wisely to a better way of life so that I can play my part in bettering the world?"

Jesus comes to mind.

Again, He invites, welcomes, and includes: "Come to Me, all who are..."

McLaren challenges, "We need to encourage the development of new congregations that are focused not on competing for a share of the religious market, but focused on helping the 'nones' rediscover a vibrant faith in Christ and a life-transforming community of faith...Think about not saving the church, but saving the world."

Jesus comes to mind.

Review the great commandment (Matthew 22:34-40) and great commission (Matthew 28:16-20).



I'm so romantic; believing anything/everything good and positive is possible through Jesus.

I'm so realistic; knowing the way left and the way right and sometimes even you and I are capable of really peculiarly selfish pathologies masquerading as noble ideologies that inhibit good for, uh, personal/corporate prejudices.

I'm so romantic; knowing I serve a "wonderful" congregation that really wants to honor Jesus.

I'm so realistic; knowing congregations can be really "awful" every now and then because they're/we're so human and never outgrow their/our need for Jesus as Savior if they/we can't tolerate Him as Lord.

I'm so romantic; believing gays and straights and everybody else can grow up and confess their sins rather than flaunt 'em in a 1 John 5:1-10 kinda way.

I'm so realistic; knowing that taint from the garden still causes us to confuse the mirror's reflections with God and diaries with the Bible.

Life is messy.

They're messy.

I'm messy.

You're messy.

And even if the way left and the way right won't admit it because they're so damned determined to convince everybody that they're "more right" and "more saved" than everybody else, all of the below (world) are depending upon all of the above (Trinity) to cut slack in the end because romance and reality can be so confusing in the meantime.

Simply, I'm glad God has all of it/us figured out.

I don't; and I don't think I'm alone.

We're kinda like the guy who said all he could handle was the peanut.

John 3:16-17 is enough for...


One more thing.

I've often been asked by the way left and the way right, "What would you do if one of your sons turns out to be gay?"

Considering I have five sons, I guess that's a fair question; suspecting the way left thinks that possibility would turn me into a "more light" kinda guy and the way right thinks that would send me into some kinda fundamentalist frenzy.


Here's how I've always responded: "I don't understand your question. I wouldn't do anything different from what I'm doing right now. I'd love 'em unconditionally."

I got it from Jesus.



Blessings and Love!

Friday, December 10, 2010

December 10, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Bumper sticker: "Jesus loves you! But everybody else thinks you're a jerk!"

Reminds me of a little card left anonymously on my desk about 30 years ago: "God loves you and I'm still trying!"

I keep a little button attached to the light switch in my study to remind me of my total depravity in a Calvinistic kinda way: "Gandhi would have smacked you in the head!"

Or as my friend Ted who's now in heaven often asked me and others when judgmentalism clouded the true reflection in the mirror, "What's that I see in your eye?"


Bullies come to mind.

They're all over the place.

Essentially, they're DUs: directors of the universe.

They are my-way-or-the-highway control freaks.


While they often come to mind because they often come into play - there are more of 'em than apostates in mainline denominations - they are very dangerous to community life because, well, uh, geez, gulp, sigh, they are my-way-or-the-highway control freaks who will hurt whomever they've gotta hurt to get their way.

They really don't care about anyone's else's feelings/opinions or even God's if it contradicts theirs.

I'm reminded of the woman who scolded her pastor for cutting the grass on the Sabbath. He said, "Jesus fed the poor on the Sabbath." She huffed and puffed, "Well, pastor, you should know two wrongs don't make a right!"

Bullies are Hoffer's "true believers" who are never wrong; even when they contradict divine revelation in Jesus and Holy Scripture.

Ergo, they gotta win, to borrow a phrase, "by any means necessary."

So if they can't win by the rules of fair play...

You know what I mean.

And when it comes to ecclesiastical ghettoes, I recall the great Scot traditio-historical scholar William Barclay lamenting, "If they don't get their way, they will destroy churches in the process; or as I once heard one of them boast, 'Because I could not change that church, I ruined it.'"

It's like Harold often told miscreants in our church back in Pennsylvania, "If you find the perfect church, don't join it because it won't be perfect after you've joined it!"

Bullies forget Christianity is more about loving than winning or even being right on the small stuff; and everything is small stuff compared to loving Jesus by loving like Jesus.

Christianity never affirms selfishness over selflessness.

You won't find Frank's "I Did It My Way" in any church hymn/songbook.



Pastors aren't immune to the temptation to bully.

Actually, I think they're especially susceptible because they're expected to, uh, lead/shepherd more often than not; not mentioning they are more often than not followed as long as they bend over forward for cultural icons/identities.

Anyway, I got a call about a pastor from a pastor who urged, "It would be great if you would go see her/him before she/he starts bullying her/his new church like she/he's bullied every other church that she/he has served and eventually split."

I replied, "No can do! Until she/he realizes she/he isn't always right and stops blowing off the counsel of..."

It's a 1 John 1:5-10 thing.

The best that anyone can do with unrepentant bullies is to follow the apostle's advice in Romans 16:17-18: identify and isolate 'em.

Simply, be good undershepherds, pick up that stick, and keep 'em away from the relatively innocent (relatively is used here to confuse hyper-Calvinists).


When I was studying in Heidelberg shortly after the Munich massacre in 1972, I was sitting in a pub with a guy who looked like Arafat but had a British passport.

Cutting to the quick, he was linked to terrorists while pretending to be a student.

We got into it.

I said, "You guys are such cowards. You bomb and butcher women and children to make political points. If you had any integrity and courage, you wouldn't..."

He said, "I gather you're studying to be a professor or pastor. Let us handle the real issues of life. You can pray and talk about it and bandage those caught in the crossfire. Isn't that what you academics and church people do best? Talk?!"

That conversation continues to haunt/inspire me.



A defenseless baby and His rather common parents come to mind.

They ended up in a barn because nobody would provide shelter for them.

Whether it's a bully or anything/anyone else threatening/terrorizing others, people who say they are following Jesus and His example of invitational, welcoming, and inclusive love prove their discipleship by providing safety for victims even as they pray/labor, as Bonhoeffer demanded, to take those madwomen/men at the wheels of motorcars away from the wheels of...

Prayer/talk without personal participation in benevolences is as phony as people pretending higher values who bully to satisfy personal pathologies but never for Christ's sake.


Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December 8, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



More pastors than will admit it don't like this season.

Some will offer reasons like Santamania, Sparkle over the reason for the season, pewsitters who pretend they're nice not naughty for a few weeks, the need to make the season bright for everybody but their own families by presence and presents, semi-annual pilgrims to the holy land, and those extra ecclesiastical efforts that are really appropriate more than semi-annually.

More than some will say it's the added hours and collateral crises concomitant to the previous paragraph's citations.

Candidly, as a pastor, police chaplain, and occasional professor, I know people who are normally stressed out or depressed become especially stressed out or depressed during this season; for when you're already stressed out or depressed and see people who aren't...

You know what I mean.

And for folks who are suicidal...



I've never considered suicide; except for when Ruthie dumped me for a NFL quarterback and when I realized I'm as phony as my phony peers and when my truck got wiped out in the church parking lot over five years ago and I made a succession of stupid financial decisions that means I won't get another one until the parousia and when...

O.K., I thought about it once.

I wasn't feeling very loved and wasn't very loving.

That seems to be the, uh, motivation/temptation/mistake that prompts such thoughts/actions.

While there are lots of books/opinions about the reasons why people cash in prematurely/precipitously, two reasons seem to dominate the decision: not feeling very loved and not being very loving.

I guess that's why a very famous friend who writes books that actually sell likes to say, "I've got this idea that God greets people who have committed suicide at the heavenly gates and says, 'I know it was too tough for you down there. It was almost too tough for me. Welcome.'"

While I don't know if God digs that kinda muse, I think my friend is a lot closer to what God has in mind than some religious fruitcakes who say people who do it go to hell for sure.

God who showed up in Jesus and remains as Spirit to assist/advocate/activate our knowledge of Jesus is infinitely more invitational, welcoming, and inclusive than the human limitations/projections/auto-suggestions placed on Him/His.

It's documentable.


Pick up your Bible and read the words in red.

Or as the first black elder in a church that I served until insisting she become an elder urged, "You love 'em and let God judge 'em!"



Not trying to understand why apart from charismata, I've always counseled lots of suicidal people.

Once I figured out that the best way to keep 'em around is to identify people who love 'em and people that are on the receiving end of their love, my "success" rate for their survival moved to pret' near 100%.

However, there are people who really don't feel loved by anybody and actually may not be loved by anybody and there are people who actually don't love anybody.

It's true.

And that's when we've got to get right to the only real reason for this season: Jesus.



Really wanting the unloved (imagined or real) and unloving (sometimes real) to have merry Christmases and happy new years, our best counsel is to tell 'em about the existential and eternal love of Jesus for them.

I know.

The one time that I thought about that permanent solution to my temporary problems was when I did not feel very loved and wasn't very loving.

Jesus was/is/remains my/our/their answer.

Yes, there will be times demanding a quick trip to the hospital; and when in doubt about someone's suicidal feelings, don't assume three points and a poem will fix 'em. Get 'em to the hospital!

Everybody needs a bridge or Band-Aid on occasion.

But most often, in my experience and from what I've read/studied over the years, knowing Jesus is the only sure thing for healing the heart.

That's why we call Him our/their Lord and Savior.


Blessings and Love!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December 5, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



A woman who hated me in a Christian kinda way because I would not rebuke a staff member who offended her silly sense of something said, "You're not listening to me."

I replied, "Oh, I'm listening quite well."

She persisted, "No, you're not listening to me."

I repeated and amended, "Oh, I'm listening quite well; but I'm not agreeing with you."

Listening and agreeing aren't always the same thing.

It's kind in a Christian kinda way to listen to whatever whomever is speaking to you about almost anything.

My late and favorite home pastor Harold Mante often reminded me, "Nobody's that strange. It's just that some people need a little more understanding."

Agreement has to do with confession and conviction.

Listening is usually the Christian thing to do.

Agreement is only the Christian thing to do when it corresponds to Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture.



I like that video.

The song was written back in October 1962 by Noel Regney and Gloria Baker as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis; and has sold tens of millions of copies and been sung by hundreds of artists.

My favorite lyric: "He will bring us goodness and light."

Absolutely, if we listen and agree with Him.

Simply, if we love Him by loving like Him - the intended partnership - His goodness and light will come into church and maybe then into the world.

His goodness and light will be reflected in us.

That's a big part of what it means to be a Christian.



Of course, too many posers pollute the church like the babe mentioned in the first section; ergo, the world pays less and less and less attention to the church.

I'll never forget the really, really, really old elder (spirit not age) who often confused the will of God with her mirror's reflection.

After outlining a disagreement between two other elders that was bound to erupt at the next session meeting, she smiled, clapped her hands like a little kid who just got a Barbie doll for Christmas, and glowed, "Oh, goodie, I just love a good fight!"

"Really," I asked, "and where did you pick that up in Jesus?"


About two years ago, I was mediating a dispute between a pastor and her/his church.

I got a call from a friend who knew the pastor and the church.

He said, "___ is just belligerent. She/he likes to fight. It's been that way in every church for her/him. Sooner or later, somebody disagrees with her/him, and..."

I could see that in her/him and I see that in...

Discernment confirmed by observation (concreted charisma).

It's true.

Some people like to fight.

Where did they pick that up in Jesus?


If we're going to bring His goodness and light into our relationships, church, and world, we're going to have to be a lot more concerned with loving than being winning, getting over, getting our way no matter what/who/Who, and stuff like that.

Yes, we won't agree with everybody.

That's impossible because too many people don't want to love Jesus by loving like Jesus.

Church fights and the intensifying political polarization in America come to mind.

The Psalmist is sadly correct: "I am for peace, but they are for war!"

But we can/must listen.

It is the Christian thing to do.


We'll see.

If we can move from me, myself, and I to Him and His, yeah, I can see...



Blessings and Love!

KD Survey!!!
Do you have a New Year's Resolution for 2011? If you do, leave a comment and let us know! It will be sure to inspire/indigest (a KD goal)family, friends, and foes!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December 2, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Churchgoers are really good at saying the world can get along much better through Jesus.


It's hard to tell them how to get along much better through Jesus if we can't get along much better through Jesus.

Maybe if people who hang out in churches would exemplify all of that reconciling rhetoric that they're so famous for not exemplifying, the world would pay more attention to 'em.

Nobody knows 'cause it ain't been tried.



Staying with signs of the apocalypse, the new date is May 21, 2011.

This is the end, my only friend, the end...

That's what Harold Camping, founder of Family Radio, predicts.

It's the advenio theme: Jesus came as the Babe of Bethlehem, continues to come into our lives as the Holy Spirit, and will come again to usher in His eternal reign.

Here comes the Judge!

Camping and company are so convinced the big day is coming on Armed Forces Day - Is that coincidental or providential? - that billboards blaring out the bad/good news (depending upon whose side you're on) are popping up all around the country.

While the Bible says that day is coming but nobody knows when for sure except God, I guess Harold must be really, really, really tight with...


Speaking of Advent, two more, uh, Advent meditations caught my attention.

From my favorite devotional writer in Oklahoma: "The Christmas season is now upon us and many are already succumbing to the pressures and demands put on us by a greedy, needy society. Funny, isn't it, how most of us celebrate Christmas, but get so easily distracted from the real meaning...Hollywood style picture-perfect fake projections and unrealistic expectations will zap every ounce of the true meaning of Christmas from us if given the chance...We love the beautiful gifts wrapped prettily with ribbons and bows that are beautifully placed under our tree, but the best present ever given came wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger. We needed a Savior. God sent One! Sinful souls needed redemption. Jesus answered the call! Judgment needed mercy. The Lamb of God stepped in! We needed a bridge. The cross closed the gap! The destitute needed hope and the blind needed light. The Son of God met the need!...Have you received His gifts?...Embrace the real Spirit of Christmas - Jesus Christ!"

From my favorite seminarian in Pennsylvania: "We have heard the phrase 'regime change' a lot...What would it mean for us to let Jesus come and lead a regime change in our hearts?..."For to us a child is born...and the government will be on his shoulders"...These ancient words...promise us that a child will come and the government will be upon His shoulders. The leaders of the world have shown themselves to be incompetent. War, famine, and poverty are epidemic...What would happen if the governments of the world said we can't handle this on our own anymore, here You take the reins? That is a regime change to be urgently prayed for...There is strife within and among the different churches. Sometimes we can't even get along with our children or our spouses. We act like we are the government of our lives...God wants to start changing the world by changing us...This too is a regime change to be earnestly prayed for...Yes, this old world needs a regime change right now. That change I believe starts on our knees...During this Advent season, let us take a few moments to examine our hearts and see who is really in control...If we need a regime change, go ahead and make it!"




Getting back to the end of the world, it's been predicted before without...uh, well, geez, sigh...and we're still here!

Camping has done this before; like back in 1994...and we're still here!

Actually, May 21, 2011 isn't the actual date of the eschaton.

Camping has picked this date as when the good guys are raptured to the express lane into paradise while the leftovers get ready for really, really, really apocalyptic adventures Book of Revelation style.

Help us, Jesus!


If you're a believer, He will!

Anyway, Camping has done some funky calculations and...

I can't get into it.

I prefer the punchline.

God wins in the end; which is the best news for people who are into God!



One way or the other, with or without deference to Harold and guys/gals like him, God's gonna put an end to what we've messed up since showing up shortly after the beginning.

And from everything that I've ever read in the Bible but not necessarily books about the Bible - hint - God's final advenio will be even better than the first or continuing ones.

I've always liked how Eugene Peterson put it, "The sooner we get the message, the better off we'll be, for the message is good, incredibly good: God is here, and He's on our side."

Moretheless, come, Lord Jesus!

We could use some final resolution/reconciliation.

God knows we've, uh, left behind reconciling resolutions/realities in our rhetoric.


Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Sitting around the dinner table to eat, uh, dinner, our high school senior confessed, "I think I'm the only senior who's still a virgin."

Our 7th grader erupted, "Whoa, dude! Ain't no way that's goin' to happen to me! What's wrong with you, bro?"

Their mother who also happens to be my wife scolded, "That's terrible! You should be proud of your brother! I was a virgin throughout high school, college, and graduate school!"

Me: "That's because I didn't go to your high school."

The boys thought it was funny.

Uh, she did not.



Speaking of freezes, BBPBHO used the Monday (11/29/10) after Thanksgiving to announce no pay raises for most federal employees.

The two-year freeze will exclude military personnel but include grunts in the Department of Defense among the 2 million who will be affected.

Though it's gotta be approved by Congress, the political weather report is for clear sailing.

BBPBHO: "The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the federal government."

Rarely quotable New House Majority Leader Pachyderm John Boehner applauded the gesture while saying the freeze on federal wages should be followed by a freeze on federal hiring: "I welcome BBPBHO's announcement, and hope..."


Echoing the new political reality in DC since 11/2/10, BBPBHO sycophant Robert Gibbs admitted, "The American people want us to work together."

California Representative Darrell Issa, the top pachyderm on the House Oversight Committee, said the freeze was "long overdue" and echoed - that word again - the Majority Leader of the House.

House Whip Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), who must have attended Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, said, "I am encouraged...With so many Americans tightening their belts, Washington must do the same...We have to work together if we want to transform the culture of spending in Washington into one of savings."

Not everyone was ebullient about BBPBHO's latest oratorical eloquence about his devolving vision of hope and change.

American Federation of Government Employees President John Gage: "It seems like a PR stunt...a slap at working people...Cutting federal employees pay is really going to do nothing for the deficit...a panic gesture...hurts retention and recruitment...To symbolically hit at federal employees is just wrong...using federal workers as scapegoats..."

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: "Bad for the middle class, bad for the economy and bad for business...We need to invest in creating jobs, not undermining the ones we have. BBPBHO talked about the need for shared sacrifice, but there's nothing shared about Wall Street and CEOs making record profits and bonuses while working people bear the brunt."


BBPBHO says the freeze will save $5 billion over two years, $28 billion over five years, and more than $60 billion over ten years.

Cool, gulp, unless, uh, you're the one who's pocket is being...


That looks like lots of savings to start new wars or finish off old ones.



It's still a teeny tiny % of BBPBHO's hoped and changed total federal deficit now spied at almost $14 trillion.

A pathetic refrain comes to mind: "Let's save pennies while wasting..."



I asked some pewsitters, pulpiteers, and pagans what they think of such freezes - federal, corporate, ecclesiastical, personal, or, uh, whatever.

The responses were halting.

Businesswoman in Kansas: "The campaign for 2012 has begun. That's BBPBHO's motivation...As for me, our income is a 6 decades old family business. Employment has grown over the last 30 years from 15 to over 120...The value of our business has increased, but the cash has decreased while we have repaid the debt of growth...When they talk about taxing the rich, they assume I am pocketing income. Not true. A large portion goes to fund capital needed to employ people and grow the business. Raise my taxes and I have to let people go. Make it impossible for me to predict the cost of doing business because of ObamaCare, cap and trade, and every other program that he comes up with to redistribute wealth and I will stop hiring. I am convinced our country is now run by someone who never created a job, made a payroll, or made a dime apart from the public dole. We are in serious trouble...My prediction is we are in for many years of going sideways at best."

Pentecostal pastor of a megachurch in Illinois: "It should have been a cut not a freeze. Federal employees are paid far more than the average of their counterparts in the private sector. My income has dropped significantly. Unions have driven our labor costs of expansion so high that we are priced out of the market. As long as an uneducated person makes $51.33 per hour, we can't compete with foreign labor making $3.00 an hour."

Baptist pastor in Illinois: "Why not put Congress and BBPBHO under the same health and retirement plan as the rest of the country? That might save more than this freeze!...My wages have been frozen for two years...I was cut 10% in 2009...Fortunately, my wife works full-time."

Presbyterian pastor in Maryland: "It was a necessary gesture and will save some money. As the old maid who peed in the sea put it, 'Every little bit helps.' Personally, my compensation was frozen for 2010. I got a 10% increase in 2009. This church is generous: a plane ticket for my wife and 2K for spending money when I went to Cameroon...Gift cards are regular and I was treated very well this year on Pastor Appreciation Sunday in October."

Musician in New York: "You should be rewarded for good work but not poor or mediocre efforts. Pay freeze? Last time seen in the Carter administration only to be immediately suspended by Reagan. Nuff said."

A very influential renewalist in the mainline: "When you have to raise support for a ministry that serves a literally dying denomination, the prospect of increases is minimal. As the head honcho of such an organization, I determined to give everyone else a raise in 2011 since they haven't had any since 2009. However, we all took Thanksgiving week off...No, I don't expect an increase in 2011. Good news is, like Paul, I feel amply supplied."

Rainmakers MC (original): "Federal workers? I really feel sorry for them. Not! It would be nice to see some of that money that BBPBHO keeps tossing around go to people in need."

Photo-journalist in Pennsylvania: "Here's the deal! If anybody thinks we are not living in the end times, then they have their heads up their...Short term, freezes will affect us. Long term, only the anti-Christ will really care. The longer I live, the less I care about 'stuff.' Material things cost money. Spreading the Gospel and showing love to others costs nothing. Enjoy every day! Our earthly lives are short. Sure, my income is down. That just means I don't buy discretionary stuff. I buy what we need, not want. I'm tired of wanting. If you have a home, food, and can pay the bills, you are blessed. As far as Obama goes, he's a joke. That's what happens when you put a flunky community organizer in charge of what used to be the greatest nation in the world, at least, until he moved in."

Elder in New Jersey: "My husband and I have 'pay freezes' from Social Security. Our governor favors reducing my teachers pension and healthy care; if not totally eliminating them. I can live with reductions for about 13 more years on my savings. Then I will lose my home. Knowing I will be 75 in January, maybe the Lord will take me before this is a problem. As far as I can see, freezes and reductions only affect service workers and municipal employees. Where is the fairness in having one class of people being responsible for solving the whole financial crisis? I think we all need to give some back! Don't ask me how to do it!!!???"

Pastor in Illinois: "My wife and I have lived with compensation freezes for the last four years; as have the people we have served. I feel fortunate that my experience has been a freeze rather than reduction!...I don't see things getting better...I fear for the next two years that people will lose all hope. There will be a lot more pain before our nation gets its financial house in order. It would be nice if I could retire right now while I can still stand in a river and fish."

Recently relocated pastor in Colorado: "I did not receive a 'raise' at ___ my last two years. I did not receive one at my new church this year either; however, my change did increase my income substantially."

Recently relocated pastor in California: "The only way for a pastor to get a raise these days is to move! Churches take their pastors for granted even if they're sucking them dry. So, move or lose more financial ground!"

Pastor in Ohio: "I always negotiate the highest terms of call possible when going to a new call. I discovered that churches put on a very happy face when wooing a pastor; but then comes the truth after the seduction is complete - or at least they all seem to poor mouth a lot...In 20+ years of ministry, while serving 4 congregations, I have had a grand total of 3 pay raises...I have not had a cash raise in 8 years...I figure I am now making 85% or less of what I was when I arrived...So...I know that whenever I change calls again, I will again go for the highest possible package I can get; because I know that reality is I can't expect much of a change once I am on the scene."

Pastor in Delaware: "Wake up! A freeze is a decrease! Food, transportation, books, housing, and everything else goes up while we stay the same! A freeze is a decrease!"

Popular newswoman in Georgia: "As Sam Ervin used to say, 'A million here, a million there, pretty soon you're talking about real money.' It's all doom and gloom. I'm studying Isaiah."

My favorite musician in New Jersey: "What's the forecast? Increase in faith and more time on our knees! Nothing new. Cutting back. Canceling."

Retired ecclesiastical officer in Florida: "I don't understand the term 'pay raise.' It is not part of my vocabulary. I was always under the impression that by always receiving the same money, I was personally stabilizing the economy...An elder told me, 'I have learned that when somebody on the staff starts asking for money, it's time to just let them go!'"

A maverick in the mainline: "I am starting my 8th budget year with ___ and have received only 2 raises in those years...frozen for the past 2 years...They can't afford to pay me what I should be making anyway. If, given my starting salary when I arrived, and adding a modest 3% COLA raise for each year, I should be making $8-9 thousand more next year than I will be."

Really smart guy in Washington (state): "My pay increases are merit-based and not guaranteed...I am skeptical of the argument that freezes are actually cuts. This is heard frequently by those in government who howl at allegedly draconian cuts in this or that program, which turn out not to be cuts at inflation is beyond an employer's control, and unless otherwise contractually mandated, not an employer's responsibility to compensate for...I'm not skeptical of this move [by BBPBHO]. True, it isn't much given the girth of the deficit and debt; but little things add up. It's taken governments a while to subject themselves to the same sort of austerity many in the private sector have needed to undertake. I'll be interested to see if high-level officials' compensation packages will also be frozen. Congress votes their own raises and that of the chief executive, correct?"

A gem amid the fiberglass in Oklahoma: "Regarding the freezes, we've got to start somewhere! Whether BBPBHO is authentic or just politically motivated, we should start with the higher ups in the federal government and not with the lower workers! And perhaps someone should take a look to see if we really need some of those top positions or redundant programs...Let's focus on what's really important...people...seniors...vets...the little ones who are struggling!...While I'm at it, jobs for Americans first in America! Let's start buying American products again using American laborers! Downsize Big Brother and upgrade American workers!...Working for a ministry has great rewards, but also challenges. One of the first things people do during economic hardships is to cut down giving to the church...It's hard to raise money if it isn't there...God is faithful and He will make up the difference! I am in a covenant relationship with Him because I tithe and give offerings. He has promised to supply all my needs...Favor with Him is better than the riches of men! Favor brings what money cannot buy!...To those who are in covenant, God will supply! To those who are not, times will get tougher!"

Lawyer in Kansas City: "Obama's plan? Symbolic but also mindless! Some fine employees should be paid double, while others should be fired...I am bullish on America! What difference does it make if I am bullish and the entire economy collapses worldwide with total chaos? It is kind of like the atheist's gamble who says God does not exist and loses whether God does or does not vs. the believer who wins if He does and we all lose if He does not. But He does so why even play such a gamble!

Political consultant and PR genius in California: "My compensation has not just been frozen. It has declined...The lowest unemployment rate can be found in federal employees. They are insulated from the recession...Obama's plan has PR gimmickry built into it. It sounds plausible but it is fiscal tokenism. Having created the largest peace-time debt in the history of the nation, Obama now tries to tack toward the middle fiscally? Does anyone think he will undercut his shock troops in the SEIU who just saved Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer?...Obama claims the freeze would save $28 billion over five years. This represents a sixth-tenths of 1% reduction in the projected $4.52 trillion deficit over that same period (2011 through 2015). This is the equivalent of a person who expects to rack up $10,000 of credit card debt over the next five years touting the fact that he's found a way to reduce his expenses by $60 over that time period!...Obama's plan is a joke...The unemployment rate hovers near 10%...This means there are 7.9 million fewer working Americans today then there were in December 2007. Not so for government employees! For them, the unemployment rate is only 4.4%, or about 1/2 the national private sector rate. While the private sector has lost nearly 8 million jobs, the federal work force is expanding. Thanks to Obama, between December 2008 and December 2009, the federal government added nearly 100,000 new positions. In 2008, federal employees received $408,000 in BONUSES at a time when the stock market was tanking and unemployment was starting to rage...Clearly, he has rewarded the SEIU for its bare knuckle political assault on America, so Obama now proposes to close the barnyard gate by freezing compensation at today's levels? Why not return federal employment totals to 2007 levels AND freeze compensation? If he did that, I might believe he is sincere about fighting the deficit."

Rainmakers MC (original): "I am never a fan of wage cuts! Let's face it! A freeze is a cut! There is nothing out there that is costing less that I know of. It is a mystery to me how the economy will recover if people have LESS money on their side of the scale!"

Funeral director and Rainmakers MC (original): "I have had a wage freeze for the last 3 years. With the cost of health insurance, unemployment insurance, work comp insurance and other business-related costs (taxes, taxes, taxes) increasing faster than income, the small business owner earns less while taking more responsibility to maintain obligations to their business."

Professor in Pennsylvania: "This is a PR stunt. The administration vastly increased the size of an already bloated federal government...The federal bureaucracy is like a malignant cancer that cannot be contained...Everything is frozen in my life. But I don't care. I have always lived on 50% of my income. Since the early 80s, we have been taxed at 30%, invested or saved 10% and tithed (10%) to charity...Secrets: use credit cards only when necessary (i.e., procuring a hotel room or airline ticket on line or buying books on line), pay off credit cards immediately (and if they raise your rates, call and threaten to cancel), never go out to eat or buy on impulse with a credit card, never buy a new car, buy in late January or February when car dealers are desperate, no vacations to exotic places, and link pleasure trips to business...I can tell you that federal salaries in the mid-range are high; however, you have to consider the cost of living in DC and other major cities where federal workers concentrate. If you can pull in a good federal job in a smaller town, you're in hog heaven."

Pastor in Illinois: "Just ask the unemployed if they would rather have their previous job at a 10% cut or be receiving unemployment checks."

Former pastor in Pennsylvania: "I get tired of people whining about their incomes being frozen when they're making 2-3 times more than I ever made! Reduce your standard of living! Get rid of the junk that's cluttering your life and diminishing your spiritual health! "



Personally, I'm part of a church staff that's had compensations frozen for two years.

I keep getting calls from churches that would provide immediate increases (read some of the comments above).


My call is compelling and conclusive.

I was called here to clean up a mess - bigger than expected five years ago but hardly noticeable anymore - and then join other authentics in town/county to build His church on earth as it is in heaven in that part of the earth entrusted to us.

I think it'll take another ten years to finish the job; assuming I'm not assassinated by apostates before...

As far as the rest of the staff goes, we'll lose one or two still marketable staff members in the next few years if compensations don't increase sooner than later; and because all of our employees have been under-compensated for years already, it's only the staff members with young families that will have to relocate if they expect to meet increasing costs with their decreasing - the euphemism is frozen - income.

I pray that doesn't happen.

We've got a great while thoroughly under-appreciated as well as under-compensated staff.

Money's down but we're happier in Jesus than ever before.

Psalm 46 comes to mind.



Blessings and Love!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November 28, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent.

For heathen and mainline subscribers, Advent comes from the Latin verb advenio ("to come") and refers to the coming of Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

The season recalls the enfleshment of God in Jesus as the Babe of Bethlehem, reminds us of God's continuing presence or coming into our lives as Holy Spirit, and looks forward to God's coming again in Jesus to usher in the eternal Kingdom.

It's our season of preparation; recalling John the Baptist's exhortation, "Prepare the way of the Lord!"

Because the season inspires self-examination and repentance, the liturgical - again, for heathens and mainliners, liturgical is a fancy word for church stuff; especially in worship services - color is purple or violet which is associated with penitence as well as royalty for the coming of King Jesus.

One of my favorite Advent traditions is the Advent wreath. It is round to symbolize God's eternity and often evergreen for His everlasting mercy. The candles represent Jesus as the Light of the world. Although the practice varies as much as mainline churches vary in their Christological integrity, churches, uh, normally, use three purple candles (symbolizing penitence, royalty, shepherds, angels, and magi or wise guys), one rose candle (see Isaiah 35), and one really, really, really big white candle to proclaim Jesus as the Light of the world.

It starts after Thanksgiving and ends on Christmas Day; and Hallmark has nifty little datebooks if you need some help on scheduling. They're especially helpful to mainliners obsessed with their Scottish heritage: free.

We observe it every year because we have a habit, especially in mainline denominations, of forgetting it's/we're all about Jesus.


Two Advent meditations have caught my attention.

The first is from a candidate for ordination in the PCUSA who's enrolled in a Presbyterian seminary and actually believes in Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture; and if you'd like to be on his mailing list, drop me a line and I'll connect you to him:

This is the season...People are mobbing stores...There is so much
noise...The liturgy of the season: cashier...The receipt pops up
and the cashier hands it to the shopper with the words, "Have
a happy holiday."

The transaction (liturgy) completes...their shopping...Then the
hunt goes on for other bargains at other stores; until the final
liturgy is complete and the exhausted shopper goes home
and wraps all the goodies...

This is what we have let Christmas become. It began in
secrecy with an angel's quiet announcement to Mary and
confirmation to her betrothed Joseph and ended in a stable
witnessed only by farm animals and eventually shepherds and
angels. God in the form of a tiny baby had slipped into the
world virtually unnoticed by the crowds. The rulers of Israel...had
no idea that there was a tiny boy...who would one day turn their
world upside down.

Has Jesus really turned our world upside down?...We go on
buying and selling...eating and drinking. We go along with the
culture that has stolen from Jesus the preeminence of His
birthday. We have let Madison Avenue...steal our Christmas.

Maybe we should take a lesson from the Grinch who tried to
steal Christmas; only to find that the Christ child comes into
every heart that is prepared to receive Him.

Jesus comes quietly wherever He finds souls open to His
presence. May our hearts be so prepared.

The second is from a good friend who runs which is the best independent source of reporting news from all theological/ideological sides that impact ministry (available in "Viewpoint" of the 11/23/10 edition of

The supremacy of Jesus Christ was and still is rejected by
Judaism...upset when people say they wish for them to
accept Jesus as their Messiah, their Savior and Lord...

The supremacy of Jesus Christ is rejected by the Muslim
faith...Jesus is highly revered and praised in the Koran
as a great prophet, but He is not the Creator of everything...not
God in human flesh...did not die to save mankind...

Buddhism can do without the Lord Jesus Christ...even do
without God the Creator...

Many people in the Western world have no place for the belief
that Jesus has the supremacy of everything. They have no
place for such a Jesus, or for people who believe that. This
is even true for many people in the churches. Their faith
is not about Jesus, but more about a political ideology
of equality, of redistribution of wealth, of lobbying for an
ideal society, which they believe is attainable by political

It should not keep us from loving all of them, and from
praying that God in His grace will grant them to see who
Jesus really is, and to embrace Him as their Lord and
Savior. We rejoice with the angels in heaven over such
people who are coming to Christ in our day! Some do!

Jesus is the Name above all names...Jesus Christ is
Lord. He is superior to all. That is our message. The
followers of Christ are and will be hated for that by
many...People will accuse us of thinking that we are
superior to them. But we are not...Our message is
not about us and how great we are. There is no place
for superiority feelings in Christians! Our message is
about Christ, the Lord. We are not superior. Christ is!

As Christians, we should follow Christ's example of
humility and service, which is the sign of real greatness
in the Kingdom of God, and serve all people in the
Spirit of Christ. At all cost! Yes, at all cost.

Just as Jesus did.

Amen and amen!


God knows I like everything that contributes to the celebration of the season.

I like everything; especially popcorn balls, cookies with sprinkles, more turkey and cranberry relish, the late service on Christmas Eve, getting gift cards to Starbucks and Woodstock HD, and mistletoe.

But as my brothers remind us, the reason for the season is Jesus.

Yeah, that sounds syrupy to some folks; but it's/He's the truth.

Read John 3:16-17.

The left needs to spend more time on John 3:16.

The right needs to spend more time on John 3:17.

To paraphrase a popular aphorism, "There are three sides to every story: the left's side, the right's side, and the truth."

And if the left and right would stop eisegeting Jesus to conform Him to their false images, a really merry Christmas and holy holiday would overcome the increasingly shallow/hollow one.

Let me put it another way.

Christmas is supposed to be just about Jesus.

The Church is supposed to be just about Jesus.

Until we return all seasons to Him, we'll be as pathetically plastic as artificial trees advertising authentic Christmas spirit.



Blessings and Love!