Thursday, January 28, 2010

January 28, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



The Cubs will win the World Series in 2010!

Mainline denominations will return to Biblical Christianity before the parousia!

Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts proves anything is possible!

The virgin birth was a mere trifle - paraphrasing Luther - compared to a Republican taking Kennedy's seat in the U.S. Senate!



Scott Brown was barely more qualified to be elected a Senator than BHO was before becoming Illinois' very junior Senator; not to mention his qualifications for becoming PBHO.

And I do mean barely!

Here's winking at you, Cosmo!

Was it a referendum on Obamacare or PBHO himself?

Did the formerly brain dead of Massachusetts disrespect the deathbed pleas of Ted for Obamacare?

Does this mean the presently brain dead of Pennsylvania will throw Arlen out on his ___?

Does this portend an end to any more D.C. screenings of Dirty Harry?

With Sarah and Scott, does this mean Republicans are now the party for hotties?

Why is PBHO talking about a "great" one-termer rather than a "mediocre" two-termer?

Is this an American Revolution without blood and bullets?

All I know is I'm more excited about the possibilities for Cubbies and mainliners than ever before!



Somebody who does know a lot more about this kinda stuff than I do wrote to KD about it.

He's a former Baptist preacher who became a Pennsylvania lawyer whose income has risen significantly ever since despite exemplifying the best of Biblical ethics.

"I know you've been paying more attention to things ecclesiastical and theological lately," he began, "but I have been mulling the recent Massachusetts surprise and the swelling discontent with BHO and thought I would write to just about the only person I know who might take the time to read my musings."

He asked, "Why is there so much discontent with BHO right now when he was so overwhelmingly popular just 12 months ago?"

He answered his own question: "I don't believe the masses who voted for BHO reject him...I think he would still hold the masses if he tried one thing that seems impossible for Chicago-area politicians: HONESTY!"

Kinda lamenting, he continued, "BHO ran on a pledge of...openness...transparency...Yet, during these past 12 months, we have witnessed a bank bail-out, auto industry bail-out, and 'health care reform' fashioned behind closed doors...I believe we just don't like the smell of what's going on. It's the expression of extreme arrogance that permeates our government and creates a genuine class distinction between those who govern and the governed."

Paralleling, he observed, "BHO cynically thinks he can get us back to making a boogie man out of Wall Street; sucking up to trade unions and 'freezing' domestic spending. Like GWB, he came into office with sizeable political capital. He has not used it to prevent Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi from acting like the political animals that they are. Can you just imagine if he bravely stood up to those within his own party and called for honesty and transparency? Would it cost him? As Sarah Palin likes to say, 'You betcha!' It might have worked in 2009. It may be too late in 2010."

Conclusion: "I remember Ronald Reagan commenting once on how it was that he got along so swimmingly with Tip O'Neil and other 'classic' liberals of his day. He said something to the effect that they believed differently than he did but that they acted consistent with their beliefs and, in that regard, the 'classic' liberals of that era were deeply honest. Maybe it's time for some 'honest-to-goodness' liberals and conservatives again."

Phil Ochs comes to mind; noting names not character are the only changes in American politics in recent years.



Blessings and Love!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January 26, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Back in the early 70s when I was studying in Germany, Heidelberg professor Wolfgang Lowe scolded to conclude a fierce intellectual exchange, "Unfortunately, Herr Kopp, we are not all omniscient."

Deservedly, I was body slammed for being an arrogantly obnoxious bigger than little egghead.

Noting how he was going down around the same time as kinda providential, I was beginning to realize the truth in one of President Nixon's rare confessions: "A sign of maturing is admitting you're wrong."



One of the lessons of the Reformation was/remains the need for an informed faith.

That's why reforming churches have always been big on education as a continuing pursuit from Sunday School on (scroll down to the 1/21 edition for Dowey's definition of the true meaning of being Reformed).

That's why I read everything that I can from the left and right before making comments on the hot button issues before church and society; and, even then, I really mess up a lot more than I'd care to admit yet must.

During a tutorial in a program designed to birth arrogantly obnoxious big or little eggheads in college, the director said, "Robert, you will have to read, listen, and learn from sources that don't agree with you before you can engage them in debate; or you'll continue to look like a fool who only knows what he believes."



Parenthetically, that's why I dive into daily editions of and; for I need to read, listen, and learn from all sides of every issue before taking, uh, a side.

If you aren't subscribing to 'em, you're missing out on the best tool to get in touch with sources that don't always massage your prejudices but, surely, provoke more probing for the whole truth.

There are also links to several religious and secular news/editorial outlets that enable you to sift and sort between swears.

If you want to be spoon-fed on what you think you already know, don't click 'em on; but if you're one of those folks who take His parable of the wineskins seriously...


Getting back to what I don't know, KD's MLK Day Special Edition (scroll down to 1/18) provoked a stinging response from a peer in Indiana: "You describe eloquently the professional arthritis in my bones...It sorely aches in the 38th year of ordained look back on little worldly measurable only estimate with stone scales the spiritual benefits my efforts may have brought to hunger for God more than the little comforts of this world which cannot be purchased with plastic anyhow."

O.K., friend, but remember I said I don't use plastic anymore because it was an addiction with continuing consequences. Moretheless, well said!

He went on, "An ancient car and elderly truck will carry my wife and me the rest of our days...a lethargic congregation of 80 members will be my companions until I choose between being their chaplain and whatever...Our dog is good for another 6 to 8 years...All in all, it is a good life if I do not weaken, lose faith, or demand too much. Like Super Chicken said to Fred the Lion, 'Ya knew the job was dangerous when you took it.' I did, just not how much!"

Yep, you've learned how to be abased; but I'm with Tevia in my weaker moments, "I realize, of course, it's no crime to be poor; but it's no great honor either. So what would be so terrible if I had a small fortune?"

"Sometimes," he observed while pouring on the salt, "you bug me a bit because you live higher up the material/professional mountain than I and yet complain about things well beyond my dreams...You are used to things I never experienced; or was weaned from long ago. However, you are clearly growing through some of the things that I passed not so long ago that gives me hope/encouragement for you."

Psst. By George, I think you've got it! Absolutely! I've had more than my share of high steepled perks over the years; and when I felt my soul being sucked dry by it all, I sabatoged myself! You can read about that in the books for sale that nobody buys on this website. I always felt guilty - meaning I was guilty because you only feel something if it's true unless you're a real sicko - about having more of this and that than most other peers. Of course, I miss some of it now. It's the truth. I'm still learning which, uh, accounts for the balance on my...and Road King in someone else's barn.

He concluded, "I don't mean to sound like a wiser older brother; but I just may be so without your eloquence or scholarship. Keep up the good work! What George MacDonald said to me, when I was your age, I'll say now to you: 'The best part of your ministry is still ahead of you!'"

Thanks, friend, I needed that! I know I'm not as good as my mommy says nor as bad as my enemies advertise. And, yes, I believe the best is ahead of me because, now more than before, I know there's lots of room for improvement after figuring out that assuming you've arrived signals the need to start all over.



Hanging on to what I may not know - and you can take that either way - a member of the PCUSA Form of Government Task Force wrote to me after the PCUSA Thanatos Libido Special Edition of KD on 1/21.

She/he was cordial yet constructively contentious through a few exchanges: "There are a lot of misinformed people out there...people who have not read the documents but are relying on the often shallow analysis of others who have their own agendas."

Uh, is it possible that nFOGers have an agenda as well/awful?

Be that as it may be despite the noble protests of nFOGers who remind the suspicious/cynical of those aging PUPpies and re-imaginers, she/he made a non-contested point via rhetorical interrogative from KD's perch overlooking the arrogance of our franchise's left and right: "Have Presbyterians succumbed to 'sound byte' theology and lost the capacity for sustained thought and analysis?"

Uh, probably.

Getting to the nut of the suspicions/cynicism, she/he acknowledged, "We are aware of the trust issue. There is nothing we can do about it. We were called together and charged to create a revised FOG...We knew that the ecclesiastical climate was not favorable to such a task. We knew that nothing we could do would be acceptable to the extremes of left and right...That left us with a choice: either throw up our hands...or provide the very best revision we could...We chose the later...I think we did a good job. Not a perfect job, but a good one...If...[nFOG] defeated, this effort will be put on the shelf, and the next time we come to the question of what sort of church we want to be, someone will haul it out and learn from what we've done...But I will have to confess to a certain sadness...We will have passed up yet another opportunity to 'sing a new song' in our polity, at a time when the old music, though still playable, is a little stale."

I don't know whether to say I'm with ya because that's how friends in/of the Confessing Church Movement felt/feel or ask if we need "more light" than Biblical Christianity as upheld by our current constitution to spice up what's gone stale. Methinks the left wants the trappings of church (process/polity) without its guts (Biblical Christianity) while the right wants, uh, what it thinks is, uh, right. What's stale? Biblical Christianity or the PCUSA? I'ma so confused...

She/he said this about ordination standards in nFOG: "What is left to the discretion of presbyteries are the processes by which preparation will take place - what questions and forms a candidate or inquirer will answer or complete, what requirements over and above the minimum standards...will be put in place by a presbytery for its candidates to follow...[nFOG]...requires the church at every level to adhere to standards expressed in the constitution...each presbytery shall develop and maintain mechanisms and processes to guide, nurture, and oversee the process of preparing..."

Getting back to the trust issue...

She/he said this about the fears of voluntary per capita apportionment becoming mandatory taxation without any real representation: "No...The PJC decision...will remain in force: 'A presbytery's right of oversight cannot be construed to give a presbytery...a right to mandate a session's full payment of per capita'...Nothing in nFOG would change that pattern."

I'ma so relieved; except, uh, for hearing from across the PCUSA that many franchise jingoists already say per capita is mandatory regardless of the previous PJC ruling(s) and threaten particular congregations thusly to the tune of if-they-don't-know-what's-in-the-BO... And, without naming names, I know that employees in Rome - uh, I mean Louisville - have written to particular congregations and threatened them about paying up their "voluntary" per capita apportionments - the threat being a higher judicatory's pretended prerogative to remove moderators, elders, and anyone who encourages the withholding or redirecting of per capita for confessional/constitutional contentions.

She/he said this about how nFOG will enable/disable gay marriages in the PCUSA: "The proposed FOG will not change the definition of marriage; nor the role of a minister in celebrating a marriage service...marriage as 'between a man and a woman' remains unchanged..."

Whew; but, uh, I know of presbyteries that look the other way already which, I guess, means it's already de facto rather than a posteriori. Sorry.

She/he said this about our historical/traditional commitment to connectionalism unraveling if nFOG is adopted: "Connectionalism is not a term employed by our constitutional documents...I don't think it's even a proper English word...The proposed FOG uses the term 'interconnection' describe interdependence...couching the sense of mutual connection and obligation...The proposed polity articulates standards and mandates functions that are incumbent on the whole church; but allows - indeed, requires - the church at all levels to determine the structures and processes best suited to the particular context in which a standard is applied."

Putting it another way, I see a bad moon arisin'!

She/he means well.

I believe nFOGers mean well.

My daddy said, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Personally if not parochially, I think any kinda polity can work as long as the constituents trust whoever's running the show to run it in ways that honor God as enfleshed in Jesus, explained in Holy Scripture, and upheld by our constitution which may be gutted sooner than later to allow for...

Again, any kinda polity can work as long as we trust each other.




Here are two more quickies on nFOG; and then I've gotta leave the mainline for the sidelines because the mainline has moved to the sidelines of American religious culture as attested by nobody really caring what it says anymore, its existence being barely noticed, and no one outside of it will notice when it's gone for good. Again, as a friend in the franchise said to a stunned PCUSA bureaucrat, "We are irrelevant to everyone but ourselves."

First, from a pastor in Indiana: "If nFOG is adopted, does that mean churches that were under the old FOG have the option of leaving the denomination because it's basically different from the old one? Are we bound to accept nFOG if we prefer oFOG? Given our experience with the Confessing Church Movement, I'm sure those legal beagles in Louisville have already covered this; but does it open the possibility of relief through secular courts for churches that think nFOG will change the total complexion of the denomination?"

Second, from a PR expert in California: "Your questions have prodded the sleeping dog with a sharp stick! You have tossed a bomb in the PCUSA's powder room! They are trying to legalize the increasing theological corruption which oozes from Louisville; and you are rousing the residents to rebel! It was Zwingli who wrote about 'the church visible and the church invisible.' These are times when we get a glimpse of the 'visible remnant' and those who were never regenerated and who profess an empty faith with their lips."


We'll see who cares more.



Blessings and Love!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Janaury 21, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



The Presbyterian Church (USA) is a so-called mainline denomination that has moved to the sidelines of American religious culture.

In other words, nobody really cares what it says anymore, barely notices its existence, and won't notice when it's gone for good; or as a friend in the franchise said to a stunned denominational bureaucrat not too long ago, "We are irrelevant to everyone but ourselves."

Essentially, its continuing members long for the way things never were or maybe were but are no more.

A small remnant believes the decline results from almost a half century of dissipating Christology, disrespect for Biblical authority, irreverence for life from womb to tomb, confused sexualities, and extreme left ideologies masquerading as Reformation theology; remaining faithfully despite increasingly marginalized judicatorial participation: "A prophet's quarrel with the world is deep-down a lover's quarrel. If they didn't love the world, they probably wouldn't bother to tell it that it's going to hell. They'd just let it go" (Frederick Buechner).

Practically, the only things keeping it from fulfilling its corporate thanatos libido are bank accounts, foundations, endowments, properties, and other assets spelled M-O-N-E-Y.

Hope for it was expressed by the late Edward A. Dowey in "Re-Forming Tradition: Presbyterians and Mainstream Protestantism" (The Princeton Seminary Bulletin, Vol. XIV, Number 1, New Series, 1993): "The much-quoted and often misconstrued motto, ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda, 'the church reformed must always be reformed,' is part of a phrase that continues secundum verbum Dei, 'according to the Word of God.' Reform...means not change or alteration as such, nor does it signify a revolution that tries to start over without looking back...Our question now should not be 'Are we successful?' but 'Are we faithful?' Only when Reform roots in the Word will we hear again another of our great Reformed imperatives: Sursum corda! 'Lift up your hearts!'"

Don't hold your breath.



While I think the current conspiracy to formulate a new Form of Government in the PCUSA (aka nFOG) is intended to accelerate the apostasies highlighted in the fourth paragraph of the first narrative of this KD, I may be wrong.

So I wrote a letter to folks who are much more sophisticated about this kinda stuff to get their take on nFOG; and if friends from other franchises are still reading, especially sister-sideliners-formerly-known-as-mainliners, you may be comforted/alarmed-to-alerted by the results:


I am doing a little KD survey on nFOG or latest expression of the corporate
thanatos libido in the PCUSA.

While my site/sight no longer focuses on the tiny part of whatever kingdom
is being represented by our franchise, lots of readers/subscribers-for-free are
very concerned about this being the last nail in the coffin of Biblical
Christianity in the PCUSA with predictions of theological/ideological
anarchy as soon as it hits the presses for judicatorial incarnation.

The questions are being asked by folks who are committed to remaining
faithfully just about regardless.

Or something like that.

Anyway, I'm doing a little unscientific survey from left and right on the
questions that are most asked of me as if I know anything about it.

Here are the questions:

1. Does this mean each judicatory (presbyteries/sessions with
synods being increasingly irrelevant) will set its own ordination
standards for deacons, elders, and clergy?

2. Does this mean voluntary per capita apportionments will be
mandatory without any real representation?

3. How will nFOG enable/disable gay marriages in the PCUSA?

4. Does it encourage our historical/traditional commitment to
connectionalism or replace it with a congregationalism
akin to the UCC?

Please comment on any of those questions and tell us about your
concerns/alerts for folks in the trenches.

KD protects the identity of its sources because, uh, well, you know...

You will not be quoted by name; and though I have been threatened in
the past to reveal identities to various agents of the ecclesiastical thought
police, I have not and will not because of the very real underminings more
than threats to vocational security/mobility.

Please be candid and concise.

My sense is folks need to know nFOG is a game-changer.

I may be wrong.

You can say that too!

Blessings and Love!

The responses were overwhelmingly pejorative; betraying a sense of, uh, betrayal of Biblical Christianity in favor of an unholy agenda in which any connection between the PCUSA and Jesus will be coincidental.

The small sampling that follows is representative of the plethora of responses.



General Comments on nFOG

Washington (pastor and PCUSA constitutional expert): "I hate it. It should die an immediate death. Nothing positive to say."

Illinois (elder and lawyer): "This will be the tool to recognize same-sex marriage in Presbyterian churches and the ordination of self-affirming, avowed, and unrepentant homosexuals. It could be the last straw for many churches. I think the floodgates will open and churches will attempt to depart in greater numbers and the fight for property will become even more intense; ultimately resulting in the repealing of Chapter 8 because it is morally wrong and legally invalid. Actually, the cost of litigation will make 'gracious separation' the sensible financial option for the denomination because it all comes down to money in the PCUSA. Burning money to pay lawyers will do the trick."

Pennsylvania (elder and lawyer): "This will gut the constitution and legalize the left's agenda."

Illinois (laywoman and former PCUSAer): "Near as I can tell, everyone who was once willing to take a stand has left to worship elsewhere - either to a denomination (or not) that doesn't apologize when preaching the truth, or to heaven where the ultimate worship will take place at our Savior's feet...It's a shame, but I'm glad I'm no longer part of it."

Florida (pastor): "When my folks get the gist of nFOG when/if it passes, they will be clamoring to leave. We must be presbyterian in every way or in no way. To not be presbyterian in every way means that we will essentially be congregational in nature and the authority of presbytery/GA will be nil."

Pennsylvania (pastor): "When your soccer team comes to play over here, our rules say that my team will never be red-carded and you guys have to play with only 9 on the field against our 11. When we travel and are the visitors, you better play by our rules or I'm going to take away the ball; but if I can't, I guess I'll have to play - if I want to play - by your rules."

North Carolina (pastor): "Having been 'kicked to the curb' by the PCUSA two years ago, I suppose I no longer should have anything to say about its infatuation with apostasy. I don't think they want the coffin nailed at all, like some kind of non-dead zombie, or maybe even an undead vampire...They want to pretend that they are a living and vital part of the Body of Christ; though they ceased to be a long time ago...The nFOG had not yet rolled in when I was booted, but we knew it was coming. My only regret is that I wish I had known when the presbytery was going to kick me out, so I could have gone to the meeting and sung with Groucho, "Hello, I must be going."

Alabama (newswoman): "I love the name - nFOG! When it's foggy in the pulpit, it's cloudy in the pew!"

Ohio (pastor): "The bad guys are making their best effort to have their way; and damn anyone who doesn't like it. They failed at gaining their ends through persuasion and the vote. So the only option has been to change the process...All I see is that it will institute chaos in the PCUSA. One presbytery will do things one way, another a different way...I am sick at heart about this, because it is the realization of totalitarianism's approach of using the tools of democracy to destroy it...And I keep sending out my resume to evangelical, orthodox churches; hoping one will extend a call, even as I continue to shepherd the flock around me."



Question 1

New Jersey (pastor): "Each governing body will set its own standards. It's consistent with the realities of society. Everyone is an expert. Everyone's word is as good as everyone else's word on any subject. It's going to be a free-for-all."

California (retired presbytery stated clerk): "There will be no outside controls of insider deals! nFOG demands trust to be effective. Ha! Trust is the last thing that we have in the PCUSA today!"

South Carolina (pastor): "Every presbytery will do whatever the hell it wants to do with no checks and balances. This will lead to total chaos when a pastor tries to transfer to another presbytery."

California (pastor): "Pretty much, yes...Thus, there will be so much litigation..."

Question 2

South Carolina (pastor): "In a word, yes; and if you encourage people to withhold or redirect, you will be defrocked! We are moving from responsible connectionalism to evil hierarchy."

California (pastor): "Yes, in principle; but a little nuanced...Wealthier congregations may be directed to pay some or all of the per capita while other congregations may be excused entirely. If you don't have it, you won't pay it. But if you say you won't pay it, you better not have it."

West Virginia (pastor): "Louisville, short on money these days because people aren't going to support what they don't like, will do anything to squeeze the faithful to support their infidelities."

Indiana (pastor): "Sure, but when it's mandatory, churches will pay closer attention and then the real revolution will begin...Wait until folks pay attention to our per capita at work in the Washington Office! If you think people were ___ed before..."

Arizona (retired pastor): "Absolutely! This is shall rather than may language."

Question 3

Connecticut (elder): "Don't be so naive. All the PCUSA cares about is money. Otherwise, it's do as you please."

Indiana (pastor): "It doesn't matter. No one will be able to force gay marriages on local congregations. On the other hand, local congregations that want to, will!"

Wisconsin (pastor): "Not sure. I think it's going to come down to state and federal law dictating to churches."

Arizona (retired pastor): "The disciplinary track will be harder to navigate. Though the definition of marriage will not be changed by nFOG, it will be relitigated. Conversely, because it's unlikely to be relitigated (Who is going to pay for attorneys to argue at multiple levels?), it will be license for proponents of gay marriage to do what they would like."

Question 4

Arizona (elder): "The latter...Vote no!"

Missouri (pastor): "Connectionalism is dead if this passes...No accountability!...This will lead to political chaos!"

New Jersey (pastor): "Of course...Connectionalism has been unraveling for years...Church and society are dissolving. What's ahead? Only God knows!"

Florida (retired pastor): "Presbyteries will have absolute power over everything with no accountability to anyone!"

Texas (pastor): "nFOG is a Trojan Horse - the darling of those whose 'gospel' is all about the ordination of unrepentant practitioners of non-Biblical sexuality. Because the Book of Order isn't working for them, they want to get rid of it!"



Well, the preceding is admittedly unscientific and scattered; but representative of a growing anger and resentment toward whoever the hell is running the show in the PCUSA.

My guess - and I may be wrong - is the PCUSA may be very close to something like what just happened in Massachusetts: a strike against the empire!

God knows I don't know.

All I know is I feel blessed to be the pastor of a faithful family of faith in Belvidere that's trying to love Jesus by loving like Jesus in a presbytery that's still got a majority of pastors/churches that are trying to love Jesus by loving like Jesus.

Whew...pour moi.

As far as the franchise goes, all heaven or hell is about to break loose.



Blessings and Love!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January 19, 2010

Reclamation 2010 is a blog about losing and finding your life.  Written by a Christian pastor who woke up one day and discovered his life was missing.  He lost it at church.

Monday, January 18, 2010

January 18, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Today is MLK Day.

He's one of my heroes; and I read Strength to Love at least once a year (the first chapter before and after most judicatory meetings), listen to "The Drum Major Instinct" (2/4/68) before and after meetings with narcissists, and plug in my old cassette of "I've Been to the Mountaintop" (4/3/68) before and after all of the below.

Of course, I've been at my desk in the church for three hours already and I've got about ten or eleven more to go.

Crackers don't observe the day even though it's a national holiday; and then they wonder why African-Americans still don't trust 'em.

Anyway, coupling this irrefutabilism with a pastor in New York who called last night in tears whose former church wants him to compensate them for something that they think he owes them which is not true and only betrays their desire to punish him because it just never worked out for 'em, I was thinking about the balance left on my plastic.

Actually, I always think about it because it's always there; though I haven't used one of those ___ cards for over a year.

Seriously, if not frivolously, I keep wondering why I've got that balance after over three decades of working at least 10 hours a day and 70 hours a week while never getting holidays off because that's prime time in the church - I mean I rarely spend whole days away from ecclesiastical stuff even on the 4th, Turkey Day, New Year's Day, and so on; and don't get me started on not having spent Mother's Day or Father's Day with my parents ever since I was ordained to make sure that everybody else remembers to observe 'em and if I don't remember to remind... - and maybe taking a day or two off a month and never taking the full vacation and continuing education allowances that have always been a part of my contract and...




I'm not really complaining.

I knew what I was getting into before I was ordained; and about five years after that, I sat with the Senate's former chaplain with Hollywood good looks/voice as well as a Biblically Christocentric witness that caused apostates in his franchise to blush who counseled/warned over a cup of caffeine on the campus of SFTS, "If you want people in your church to bleed, you'll have to hemorrhage."

So I knew the score even in the early innings and still decided to stay in the game.

Except for a church and presbytery in Ohio, I've been treated O.K. since 5/8/77.

Yeah, I don't have anything to show for it in the bank; and I'll probably end up, uh, God knows where when I retire if that ever happens since I've discovered my SS and pension don't really kick in with anything worth anything for another 15 years which will come as good news for the folks in Belvidere and the franchise who like me and bad news for the folks in Belvidere and the franchise who hate me in a Christian kinda way.

So with thoughts of how holidays haven't really meant that much to me by vocation and how that pastor in New York is expected to reimburse his former church for whatever and how I really don't want to take that job as a night watchman or do twenty extra funerals a week for people who want a holy man to sprinkle holy juices on 'em after lifetimes of insulting God's holiness, I've decided to tabulate what I'm owed and send bills to...

Admittedly, as my continuing balance on the plastic confirms, I'm not very good at math; but at $5 an hour, which is what most folks think we're worth anyway because it's about what we really get when all is said and done, I figure I'm owed, very conservatively, about $117,150.


Now if churches can send bills to...

So any church that I've ever served can divide that figure by the number of years that I served 'em, cut a check, and send it to me at 221 N. Main Street, Belvidere, Illinois 61008.

I knew there had to be a way for me to pay off the plastic, get the van for my wife, send Kathie and her main squeeze to Hawaii, dump $ into our expansion, send relief to locals and globals, and, uh, get that Road King before the parousia.


I know none of that's gonna happen; so it's back to plan B: hoping/praying my latest book hits pay dirt which may be as probable as the Cubs winning a World Series before Islamic fundies learn that love doesn't include blowing up buildings, chopping off heads, or running around like Pentecostals on acid.

Fortunately, except for that one aforementioned experience of hell on earth, I've been kinda affirmed and appreciated over the years and my current/last call is lots of faithful fun after pruning off the excessively selfish, narcissistic, and judgmental folks whose worship was focused on the mirror's reflection.

And people like me, who knew from the start that we wouldn't have to take a vow of poverty because it would be imposed upon us, aren't in it for the $ anyway.

Cal Marcum, another hero who taught critics/cynics like me in our franchise to remain faithfully and write books that won't challenge the sales of Joel and Ricky and who's gonna die poor like the rest of us, put it this way to complement the Hollywoodish Senate chaplain's counsel/warning (Burning Bushes, 2001): "About mid-century a number of prominent national magazines ran stories about pastors who broke under the strains of their task. I don't remember much about it except that the year I entered MTS a comprehensive testing of applicants was instituted to see if they were qualified and up to the task...They did see one thing that would qualify me for the ministry: I cared about people. They went on to say that my one qualifier could also be my greatest liability because I cared deeply about people and that might do me in."




So what's this all about?

I'm extending some empathy to peers; and if you're not a peer and don't like/get it, you're probably one of the people who's keeping my peers in emotional as well as financial poverty.

Maybe I'm trying to generate some sympathy for 'em.

Or it could be that this counsel/warning has got to be passed from one generation to the next.

If you don't know why you started or continue, you're gonna quit sooner or later; and probably later which means you'll never pay off that...

Why did I start?

Why do I continue?

Go back to that first video.

I take that thought into every personal/pastoral relationship and whenever I dare to mount that pulpit.

Happy MLK Day!


Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 13, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



God knows I've often thought Democrats and Republicans will vote for Satan if he/it is their party's nominee for any office.

In these days of paralyzing polarities with loyalty litmus tests for everything that evoke poop-eating grins on the mugs of reincarnated (Oops!) Pharisees, those two pathetically partisan political parties are destroying America by lionizing anyone with 'em and demonizing anyone on the other side of the aisle.

Just like parochialists and other denominational jingoists who forget the primary identity of Christians is, uh, Christianity, I'm convinced too many Democrats and Republicans are prepared to sacrifice their primary identity as Americans for political gains with about as much staying power as Tiger's latest sack-sister.

Except for Jesus, I've never met anyone who is always right or always wrong on everything; except, of course, for Sister Bertha better than you.

For example, Dirty Harry can say PBHO's electability was enhanced by being "a light-skinned" African-American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

And everybody on his side of the aisle has rushed to defend him while everybody on the other side of the aisle...


Can you imagine what would have happened if Sarah or Newt said something like that?

Uh, everybody on their side of the aisle would have rushed to defend them while everybody on the other side of the aisle...

That's why I've left both parties and search for candidates who love America and embrace our nation's highest ideals rather than...

Similarly, that's why I search for women and men of faith who love Jesus more than...



Parenthetically, kudos to PBHO for forgiving the nut from Nevada.

Even if he's a secularist, it was the Christian thing to do; and a lot more Christian than a lot of what I see among those who don't walk what they talk about Him (see Matthew 6:12, 14-15).

I could hear His echo: "Forgive him, Father, because he's ignorant."

Unfortunately, he's also the majority leader of the U.S. Senate.

Of course, a Missouri pastor wrote to KD, "I knew PBHO was divine. This proves it. He knew Senator Reid's heart isn't as racist as his words betrayed. Wow! It's good to have a President who has the divine ability to know hearts!"



Getting back to non-partisan faith more than politics, I met Mike when I was a young and famous pastor in Kansas City back in the early 80s.

He had just emerged from years of monkish study and spiritual discipline and felt called to plant a ministry in the cult capital of the Midwest.

We were introduced by Dick who I had convinced our church to hire as chaplain to the unchurched; which meant he ministered to about 40% of the people on our membership roll.

Anyway, when I said I thought planting a church/whatever had to be so much harder than inheriting one, he said, "You're wrong, brother! It's much easier! You just gather people who really love Jesus and exalt His Word and they are eager to pay the bills. It's not like those old wineskins that are so bound up in tradition, religion, denominationalism..."

That was almost thirty years ago.

He was right.

It's easier to deal with people who just love Jesus; or love Jesus much more than...

Again, it brings to mind those Democrats and Republicans who don't love America as much as they love their, uh, parties.

BTW, Mike is the main man at IHOP in KC (go to for links home).



I thought about all of that as we have almost reached groundbreaking for our family of faith's expansion: elevator, renovations, and multi-purpose facility.

We've had to "entertain" lots of wants, needs, feelings, and opinions that haven't always been...

It's been a slow process; but, fortunately, we now have a great group of officers to complement a great staff and a membership that has been pruned for growth with a renewed passion to be just for Jesus. Pruned of selfishness, narcissism, and judgmentalism, our family of faith has a renewed sense, experience, and expression of Biblical peace, unity, and purity.

Though I've crossed over to my fifth year with the wonderful saints in Belvidere, the "vision" for expansion preceded me by, oh, about 20 years; and, in the last five years, we've lost three elders for a variety of reasons related to Mike's retort to my ignorant comment upon first glance.

My point is simple.

Churches and countries can't move forward if they're always looking at their, uh, behinds.

Or as my favorite devotional writer wrote on 1/11 (, "God is still creating new forgiveness, new mercies, new miracles, new direction, new vision, new anointing, and new hearts. A new day and a new season dawns for you as you exit the old and enter the new! Your prison has a door! Your river has a bridge! Your mountain has a tunnel! Your battle has an end! You don't have to stay where you are now, but there is an Exodus for you! Leave every weight behind you. Don't take the baggage of hurts or pain as you leave this season to enter into New Beginnings! Refuse to carry failures, guilt, or bitterness...Don't allow the enemy to paralyze you with his icy grip of yesterday's failures and condemnation. Rid yourself of the weights of hidden emotions, insecurities, fears, habits, and weaknesses that keep you pressed down. A open window lies before you...and requires your participation to leave the old behind and embrace the new...Step into your God-given future!"

Just before receiving that, I received these notes from a VMTC leader who is thoroughly acquainted with our ministry that ain't so different from yours which means the word is for you too: "In Jesus' name, I bind the fear of failure and the fear of humankind. May your confidence not be eroded by the daily resistance to the gospel. Fear God more than people...May your heart be healed of any grief caused by ministry. May you wear a crown of beauty instead of ashes and be anointed with the oil of gladness instead of mourning. May you wear a garment of praise instead of a spirit of depression. You are an oak of righteousness, a planting of the Lord to display His splendor."

Absolutely; and as long as we're looking...(Colossians 3:1-4).



Blessings and Love!

Monday, January 11, 2010

January 11, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



I felt pretty good about KD's Annual NFL Post-Season Power Rankings (scroll down to 1/4/10).

ESPN hasn't called; but my dad wrote.

He suggested I stop preening because my analytical shortcomings will be exposed next weekend in the second round.

Just because his beloved Steelers have a better draft position coming than predicted last fall, he had to rain on my parade.


People can be like that; even the special people in our lives.

Misery likes company.

It's true.

People who are miserable are only less miserable when they're making misery for others.

That's part of what I meant in the last KD in this line: "I still fear people who want to steal my freedoms to feel better about their chains" (scroll down to 1/9/10).



But then there are others who really want to contribute to our health and welfare.

There are people who really want His best for, in, and through us.

Though it's not an exact context, Hebrews 13:1-2 comes to mind.


I was really struggling in that last KD.

Though I don't find my predicament(s) that peculiar, I was feeling a little poor in spirit as well as plastic.

Yeah, I was feeling better as I took it to the Lord - check out the rest of the beatitude - but unlike Sister Bertha better than you who has been going around saying how much better she/he/they is/are than anyone else now that everyone else has seen the darkness of her/his/their soul exposed (Don't even try to guess because there are so many global, national, and other candidates with Dirty Harry, WV's Big Byrd, and ___ coming to mind too quickly!), I can get as down about myself and people who hate me in a Christian kinda way with the worst/best of 'em.

"I hope you never lose your enthusiasm for life and Jesus and..."

Some folks are like that.

Some folks aren't.



I prefer to listen to folks who take their definitions of you/me/us from God.

God does not want to tear us down, pick us apart, burn bridges, fracture families, degrade, denigrate, devastate, or destroy us. That's the work of Satan and demons/people/both under his influence.

God builds bridges, relationships, friendships, and families; and reconciles, heals, helps, includes, enables, elevates, enlightens, and encourages.

Satan and demons/people/both say, "You're no good. You're hopeless. You're bad. You're useless. You don't belong. We would be better off without you."

God says, "Come to Me."

God invites, welcomes, includes, and loves.

It's not a difficult choice.

I prefer God and Godly people.

With Galatians 5:19-26 as the bigger context of differentiation, the preceding helps us to distinguish the good from bad guys as we incorporate the practical counsel of Romans 16:17-18 into our lives and ministries.


And so a few quickies that aren't really about me if you know what I mean.

A dear friend and VMTC leader wrote to say she is praying about my fear of failure and not pleasing people; which, aside from being on target, reminded me to get closer to Jesus because fear dissipates as intimacy with Him increases along with the renewal of Godly priorities. I went to 1 John 4 after reading her note.

A woman in Illinois who has faced some very significant challenges and evil-speakers wrote, "Your KD was great! I laughed! A lot! I cried! At the end, you made my day better!" One of my homiletics professors always said, "The best ministry is truth through personality. Share your story and you will be surprised how it intersects with others!"

A predecessor in my current/last pastoral call who warned me of the potential and obstacles observed, "I just read your last edition and could sense the grace and the pain. About your friend and the memorial service, you were hurt by those who made unkind comments or didn't attend. You are not responsible for them. Jesus said something like this, 'The hurtful you will always have with you.' Leave them and their attitudes to Jesus! He will deal with them. A day will come when they will rethink what they said or did, and they will feel the pain and regret. You can't make that happen. Jesus can...I think this is one of the keys to true freedom in Christ. Let Him be the Savior. Also, it is O.K. to let yourself grieve...What a holy adventure Jesus has called you to live and serve!" Amen.

An apostolic pastor counseled/challenged/salted/salved, "You are a trip, man! I love it. Welcome to advancing the Kingdom! Jesus said it would get worse 'cause we know Him. Your wholeness will always confront whether you intend it or not. That's your call. A person who journeys toward a whole life will be a light that shines. The presence of your wholeness in such a broken-down dysfunctional world speaks very loud - a mirror to those who will evil-speak against you because you have stripped them naked in front of people who thought they were holier-than-thou. You've exposed - disclosed - man! The religious can't control Him in you even though they've tried and will try again. The lost hunger for your wholeness. Share Him!" Whoa. Depending upon God's grace...


Oh, by the way, I wouldn't bet against the birds (Baltimore and Arizona); though my head says Colts and Vikings in the big one!



Blessings and Love!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

January 9, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


The first video is a classic!
However, it contains some bad words.
Kathie and I talked about this;
deciding only people who
are pure and perfect
in every way will
be offended.
Yeah, right.
As if...

So if you're posing, skip it.

But if you'd like to go deeper
into today's metaphors...



It was a long day.

I had one more thing to do - teach a miserably attended class with some of the dearest saints to ever cross my path.

The memorial service transported me to the deepest recesses of my spirit; though I was offended by people who did not come to pay respects and it evoked some anger toward those who skipped the recent visitations and services for...and didn't even write consoling notes.

A survivor said, "She/he used to waltz around the church like a snotty better than you but didn't even bother to..."


Common courtesies sacrificed at the altar of selfishness/narcissism.

I'm right; sadly.

If I die today, there will be ham and salad in fellowship hall in three days or less and then a pastor search committee will be elected/formed/appointed in a month or less for a successor who will meet needs that I could never satisfy/pacify.

I went to the hospital to see two friends.

I went to renew my license; but forgot to drop the MC classification for those who want to control my life or, at minimum, expect me to acquiesce to their need for me to wear a helmet because that's what pastors do.


Sacrifice identity at the altar of selfishness/narcissism.

I went to give blood.

I don't like to give blood - the needle feels like a #2 pencil being pushed into an orange - but they say people need it and I haven't really done that much painful sacrificing for God or country or...

They almost didn't take it because it's thick like me.

Actually, one of the nurses hit on me.


Uh, not really.


Don't be.

Kissinger attracts lots of chicks.

You don't have to be Tiger to...

I went to the gas station and charged gas, twinkies, twizzlers, and a can of regular Coke.


I don't eat twinkies or drink regular Coke...or use credit cards.

I turned on the computer and went to a really neat porn site.


I didn't turn on the computer...and I don't go to...for the inauthentic does not turn...

Got a call: "Thanks for today's service. I hope you never lose your enthusiasm for life and Jesus and..."

Needed that.

It was a long day.

Not kidding.

Actually, kidding.

I tried to be depressed; but I just can't get there.

Despite the evil-speaking and back-stabbing of people who can't have their way with me...

P__ a little.




Don't need those pills either.




The preceding looks like an Emo Phillips' script.

Or an Alan Ginsburg poem.

You pick.

I did.

What did William Wallace scream while gutted?

Maybe I'm having a nervous breakdown.

Dang, beat ya to the punch.

So what is normal?

Why would anyone want to be normal in a Revelation 3:1-6 kinda way?

Parenthood: "Some like merry-go-rounds...Some like roller-coasters..."

Maybe I'm a poet - one who everyone but Jesus wants to chain to Robin Williams' club at Hellton.

Maybe the only answer is Ratchet's cure for Jack who tried to fly over the...

Jesus said, "The truth will make you free."

So many definitions.

I prefer His.




Shrinks say fear motivates feelings that prompt actions.

I agree.

When I was committing adultery, I was always afraid of getting caught; so I became a real sneak.

When I was climbing the ecclesiastical ladder of success, I was always afraid of offending someone/stepping-stones; so I started agreeing with the last person that I talked to and my life/ministry became sentences ending in prepositions.

When I realized my addiction to plastic, I was always afraid somebody would see the imbalance and find another reason to disqualify/dehumanize/denigrate me; so I deceived...

When I...I was I...

A spiral of...

Then I met Jesus...again...and again...and again...

He offered a fresh start and erased the chalkboard of my life.

Or as Phil demanded, "If you really believe in a forgiving God, then act like you've been forgiven."

I'm not completely over it.

I'm not as pure and perfect as...

I'm still tempted.

I still long.

I've got 30% left on an old plastic debt to settle.

I still fear people who are searching for an idol rather than Jesus.

I still fear people who want to steal my freedoms to feel better about their chains.

But as William says, "You can't fix what you won't face."

I've started.

No matter what she/he/they say about me or the grammar, I'm "more better" than "badder" these days.

I'm doing my best.


I am not responsible for what others say and do; but I am responsible for what I say and do and how I respond to what others say and do.

I'm free.




Getting back to the memorial service, we often laughed with each other over a familiar truth: "Joining a church or even being an officer in a church makes you into a Christian about as much as going into McDonald's turns you into a Big Mac."

We were friends.

She knew me like Jesus knows me.

Messed up.

Looking up for help.

She never judged me.

She only wanted to save me.

She knew me like Jesus knows me.

When I saw her before her journey home to her beloved husband and Jesus, she smiled.

She liked my mule.

She liked the friend who was with me.

She liked what Jesus entrusted to me.

She knew me like Jesus knows me.

It's/He's enough.



Blessings and Love!

If you're too busy to
click on that last
video, you're
too busy!!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

January 4, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



KD's Annual NFL Post-Season Power Rankings

1. Baltimore - Why/how did Pitt ever pass on Flacco who is an established star in only his second year? If Reed stays healthy and Welker doesn't play, Baltimore will knock off New England and make it to 2/7. Besides, Lewis is a real killer who helps everybody rise up to prime time performances.

2. New England - Tom Brady, even more unheralded than Tim Tebow by all of the "experts" coming out of college (scroll down), is a proven winner/leader like, uh, TT. I wouldn't bet against 'em with the best coach in the NFL since Parcells retired; especially if Welker plays and Reed isn't healthy.

3. Minnesota - This may be a sentimental choice/hope because Favre epitomizes the best spirits of sport. Creaming my favorite team on week 16 proves nothing because they, uh, stink. Favre doesn't look tired, the defensive line isn't suspended/incarcerated yet, and watch out for Peterson to emerge from his slumber and confirm his future enshrinement's credentials.

4. Green Bay - Talk about a team flying under the radar! Do you remember week 1? I thought GB would waltz to 2/7; then they got lost in the Favre, Indy, and Ain'ts hysteria. Well, they're hot again! Unless Warner, Fitzgerald, and Boldin reincarnate last year's run, I wouldn't bet against the Pack which appears back.

5. Indianapolis - Lucky/predestined all year, their "brain trust" ripped out the hearts of players who "play to win the game" and coulda made history as the most winning... Nobody wins who gets used to losing; and the Colts have lost the last two of the year. Now they have a week off. That's three weeks without... It's hard to win when you haven't been playing to win for almost a month.

6. New Orleans - Again, they sputtered over the last month of the season; and this ain't the time to sputter! Besides, the Giants had to dump Tiki and bench the current Ain'ts TE because they suffered from TO disease before they could raise the big Vincent trophy. Sorry, Drew. You are great; but the rest are just ain'ts.

7. San Diego - LT may be the greatest fantasy player in history, but these games are for real; and in really big games over the past, uh, several years, he spends more time on the sideline than Cubs fans in October. If Merryman is juiced for the game and Sproles starts over LT, electricity may flow through SD with Rivers playing gunslinger to beast Gates.

8. Philadelphia - Westbrook is weary and Donovan's time has passed. If the Cowboys can beat 'em in December...

9. Arizona - Here's my sleeper! If the redbirds' defense shows up as it does every five or six games and Boldin and Fitzgerald are really healthy, do not discount the Eric-Liddell-Tim-Tebow-Kurt-Warner effect.

10. Jets - If the Dolphins couldn't win a Super Bowl with rookie-sensation Marino back in the day, it ain't gonna happen with Sanchez; though Revis and a few other younger dudes will join him and make my second favorite team a contender for years to come. And, uh, oh, do ya think the Steelers miss Fanaca?

11. Dallas - O.K., they played better in December. It's January. Tony, Tony, Tony may get all the chicks, but he just doesn't seem to attract much Super Bowl...

12. Cincinnati - Let's call it the curse of Notre Dame! Just kidding. I still can't get over the shameless classlessness of the Golden Dome TD Jesus crowd in South Bend and their new "Irish" coach in raping an undefeated Sugar Bowl team for a few weeks of headline-grabbing. I'd like to see 'em win one for Henry... O.K., maybe one...


Speaking of power, it's hard to believe so many "experts" (go back to #2 in the preceding section) are dissing Tim Tebow's NFL prospects.

Mel Kiper keeps saying TT's future is as a tight end or linebacker; though he of never taking a snap or strapping 'em on in any big game himself reminds me of Lee Trevino's retort to someone who suggested he needed a coach, "I'll hire a coach when I find one who can beat me. Why would I listen to someone who can't play as well as me?"

Tony Gonzalez, who does play the game at its highest level, snapped, "Who cares what Mel Kiper thinks? Tebow could prove him wrong. He's probably the greatest college player ever."

Tony Dorsett: "You're talking about a guy who is a leader, a guy who would walk into a lion's den with a pork chop on his chest."

Kurt Warner (go back to #9 in the preceding section and check the videos): "They always said about me I never had the skill set to be able to be an elite quarterback."

Maurice Jones-Drew: "You don't have to worry about the talking heads. They're just there to talk."

Tony Dungy: "As a coach, I always like winners...TT doesn't have the classic throwing motion, he doesn't have the accuracy, maybe, right now that some people are looking for, but I think when he gets into a pro system that really stresses throwing the ball accurately...the big thing is he makes the people around him better. And he's won...I think he's going to be a great player in the NFL."

KD: "He is Peyton Manning with mobility and a bigger version of Michael Vick with proven poise, leadership, and a brain."

I hope the Giants...



BTW, I really don't care who wins on Thursday.

It doesn't mean a thing.

The game is not played on computers or in smoke-filled voting booths.

While I think Alabama will humble Texas, there are several other teams deserving to be considered...

Every other sport - professional or collegiate - knows that; and even NCAA football has playoffs below the BCS level.

So whoever wins will be just the theoretical national champion.

Sports were never intended to be beauty contests; except, of course, on the sidelines of games in Dallas.


Staying with what's bogus, does anyone really think Leach would have been fired if Adam James didn't have a famous daddy working for ESPN?

Adam is a decent D1 player who is third on the depth chart with a daddy, so reminiscent of junior tackle football mommies and daddies, who thinks his kid is the next Jerry Rice or Wes Welker or, uh, Tim Tebow.

Word is leaking out from players that Adam was a tad lazy and felt entitled to more playing time because daddy...

And, oh, yeah, it seems some $ was involved from all directions.

Stay posted.



Blessings and Love!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

January 2, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



I went to see a friend who broke her hip.

It was very early on Christmas Eve; and as I was leaving the hospital, I ran into one of the chaplains who has been chastising me for infecting their literature racks with Christian materials (scroll way down to previous editions for the low-down on this continuing, uh, battle).

He asked, "What are you doing in the hospital so early on Christmas Eve?"

After explaining that I had some commitments back at the church in the afternoon and evening, I said, "Merry Christmas! And, oh, by the way, I'm still leaving Christian stuff on your literature racks."


He said, "Do you know why we don't want you to leave Christian literature around the hospital? It's because if we let you do it, we'll open the door to every other church in the area; and then we'll have to open our shelves and racks to the Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus..."

That made sense to me.

It's why I'm not in favor of prayer in public schools.

Knowing nobody can really stop anyone from praying anyway - I mean who can tell who's praying or asleep in most public schools these days? - I've always been uncomfortable with the idea of public school teachers leading my public school children in prayer. Specifically, I don't want my children led in prayer by a Muslim, Moonie, Mormon, or...

So I said, "O.K., that makes sense to me."

Remembering I had just littered the lobby, several waiting rooms, and most of the literature racks with Christian stuff, I said, "I promise you as of December 24, 2009 at 8:13 a.m. that I will never leave Christian materials anywhere in this hospital except as requested or when I visit members of our church, friends of members of our church, members of other churches whose pastors never..."

He smiled.

I broke his smile when I said, "Of course, now I expect you to remove all of those free papers by that communist outfit with the far left religious nutball masquerading as a Christian who's really a syncretist and belittles people who still believe in the Jesus of the Bible."

He asked, "Do you expect us to remove all of the newspapers too?"

That ticked me off a tad; and I blurted, "You know that's crap. People choose to buy those papers. But while you want to censure me and proscribe Christian materials from the hospital at the altar of some twisted political correctness that includes everyone and everything but Christianity, you allow that free anti-Christ communist paper to be piled all over the hospital. I don't think that's fair."

Making nice, he offered, "Why don't I set up a meeting with our hospital manager so we can talk about it?"

I replied, "No, that's not necessary. I don't do tinkling contests. Besides, this has been going on for nearly ten years and you still want me to stop distributing Christian materials while seeing no hypocrisy in allowing crap like that. I will keep my word from December 24, 2009 at 8:13 a.m. and stop dropping off Christian materials indiscriminately. What you do is up to you within the integrity of what you believe."

Simultaneously, we said in parting, "Merry Christmas!"

We agreed on that.



Pastor Harold, one of my three best associate pastors over the years, warned long ago: "The most dangerous people in the world and church are people with no shame."

Ellen Goodman put it this way in "Whatever Happened to Shame?" (The Boston Globe, 12/18/09): "If, as anthropologists say, shame comes from a violation of cultural norms, it seems to have found its match in a newer cultural norm: fame. Notoriety isn't so notorious anymore. If Hester Prynne were around, she wouldn't be the subject of a novel, she'd be the author of a tell-all memoir with cellphone pictures of a buff Arthur Dimmesdale."

Tiger comes to mind.

Bill Fields wrote for GolfWorld on 12/21/09, "The confluence of what happened off the course in 2009 and what didn't happen on it could morph into a perfect storm that diminishes Woods' golf, whenever he goes back to work. Woods, though, is a cold-blooded competitor, and his ilk have tended to do O.K. at their jobs amid personal strife. Pete Rose's National League-record hitting streak of 44 games in 1978 began shortly after he fathered a child with a mistress. Michael Jordan won his second and third NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls in 1992-93 while embroiled in a gambling controversy."

In addition to challenging a woman who claimed he preached sermons about her to wear the shoe if it fits, Harold's been right about lots of stuff.


So much has happened since the last edition (12/20/09) and Kathie's vacation.

Here are some quickies (euphoric moments often mistaken for sustaining realities) that have caused me to pause and consider 'em as longies (sustaining realities never mistaken for...).

Bert Kant, an elder and dear friend, went home on 12/26/09. She was 86. Unlike so many thoroughly modern so-called church leaders, she never confused her preoccupations and personal preferences with prophecy as personified in Jesus, prescribed in Holy Scripture, and guided by the Holy Spirit Who never contradicts Jesus and Holy Scripture. She encouraged me through prayer and counsel whenever I crossed paths with posers who prove they're only pretending to love Jesus by elevating their self-righteous-self-esteem. I'm presiding at her memorial service next Wednesday (1/6/10). We've been talking over the last few years about what I'm gonna say; and the hypocrites will be exposed by the positive tribute to Him through her.

Harold Kurtz, one of the PCUSA's most pre-eminent evangelists in a franchise that's not especially into that anymore, went home on 12/18/09. He was 85. Harold and I were in a covenant group of really important/famous church leaders for over a decade. When I conjectured that our group could band together and change the course of our denomination if we were willing to risk all of the perks lavished on really important/famous church leaders, Harold, who never shared in many of those high-steeple-senior-pastor-somebody's-gotta-minister-to-the-rich-and-rationalize-their-lifestyles perks but was admitted to the group on integrity alone as something of a collective conscience, said, "Don't worry about them. You be faithful." I know Harold knew God knows I haven't always been faithful; but if my covenant brothers and I are going to give any lasting tribute to Harold, we're gonna try harder with what's left of our...

Cal Marcum, one of the great saints in Illinois ecclesiastical history, wrote a book called Burning Bushes back in 2001. My study group is finally getting around to reading it. We've invited Cal to meet with us on 1/22/10. I like it for three reasons. First, it's a compendium of common sense for anyone trying to be faithful regardless of vocation. Second, it's so good but reminds me of another author's sales that have not threatened the empires of Rick or Joel. Third, this octogenarian has had a recent and monumental disappointment in a church that he served so faithfully for so many years; and I know we're gonna gain some insights on how to stay in ministry when we feel like quitting. Some excerpts: "Human nature has not changed one iota from the Garden of Eden...I cared about people...[and it was] greatest liability because I cared deeply about people and that might do me in...The pastor of a church may be a weak preacher and a terrible administrator, and yet appreciated and loved because of providing good pastoral care...I hate to remember that I neglected my wife and children. I would like to think that I did so for the cause of Christ, but that does not fly because our Lord would not have neglected a family like mine...Early in our marriage Twyla told me, 'You always think you are right.' My response was, 'Yes, you are correct. I hope you will never think I am expressing an opinion or taking a position I know is wrong'...The bottom line is that a preacher has an audience of One."


I've just come across another great devotional site:


Speaking of sites/sights, here's a link worth a long look:

It reminds me of Father Tim Farley's confession in Bill Davis' play Mass Appeal (1981): "Up to now, my need for your love and approval has kept me silent and inactive...This is the first time I've ever said what I wanted to you. Only now is love possible."

Read Revelation 3:19.

I think that's what Bill, Del, Bert, and Harold were trying to tell me; and what I was trying to explain to the hospital chaplain.



Blessings and Love!