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!

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