Monday, June 14, 2010

June 14, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



With his body falling apart and swing resembling Arnie's at his worst without mentioning other distractions, Tiger's assault on the Golden Bear's record in majors seems less likely than Elin never having to work another day in her life.

Jack's advice: "Every year when I started golf, I'd go back to Jack Grout and say, 'O.K., I'm a beginner.' That's why I like to take the fall off. I'm a beginner. I start with the grip, posture, fundamentals" (interview transcript, 1999 Memorial).

Sounds like a metaphor for mainliners.

Like this: "Getting good at this game, then staying good, is a tough and lonely and endless journey, with lots of dead-ends and other frustrations to strain your body and stress your mind along the way. Which, of course, is why so few of the tens of thousands who set out on it get very far along it" (My Story, 1997).


I've been thinking a lot about what I'm gonna do with what's left of my life and ministry.

Old and still marketable enough to seek a higher agenda than the least common denominators of parish ministry that often inhibit Biblically Christocentric fidelities in favor of navel-gazing imposters, I've been asking why I got into this in the first place.

Well, yeah, the facts, feelings, faith, and friendships lined up to compel the path to ordained parish ministry; but I think I'd be a tad more secure in an existential kinda way if I'd become a...

You know what I mean; and if you don't, it ain't no use tryin' to explain to ya.

It's like trying to explain freedom to people who prefer chains.

Getting back to the question, I recall one of my preaching students at Kansas City's Nazarene Theological Seminary who began a sermon back in the early 80s, "We are forced to think of life and death issues when we're hatched, matched, and dispatched."

Though I don't think I'm ready to be dispatched because of what the Lord has told me about what's gonna happen in our family of faith at First in Belvidere, Illinois before Jesus comes back, I know the days left aren't as many as the days spent; so I wanna make the most of 'em.


Why didn't I become a...?

Because I believe I'm called to point people to Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Because I believe I'm called to explain the existential and eternal benefits of a saving relationship with Him.

Because knowing Jesus enables anyone to live triumphantly amid the meanness, madness, and misery of life in the modern world.

Because loving Jesus includes loving like Jesus; and that is the only hope for a world that's so contentious, cantankerous, and consistently cruel.

Because people who really love Jesus invite, welcome, include, and unconditionally love everybody; providing a safe haven amid life's storms that doesn't exclude Republicans, Democrats, gays, straights, and just about every other pigeon-holing category that Christian posers use to pretend they're that much better than everybody else.

Or something like that.


Here's what I said about it during yesterday's sermon: "When I die, I hope people will say, 'He was a little nutty and a lotta fun. He loved Jesus; and he loved people enough to tell them about Jesus."

It's hasn't always been easy.

I've made lots of mistakes and I'm gonna make more; and from what I read in the Bible and have witnessed through the years, only the deeply deluded and demonically possessed pretend there's no room for improvement in their lives.

Parenthetically, I like to make mistakes because it proves I'm still thinking, trying, and know why Jesus came.

Every day hasn't been a hot fudge sundae.

My greatest disappointments have been failing to convince people who hate other people in a Christian kinda way that people who really love Jesus love like Jesus and overcome what naturally divides 'em through Jesus.

Even in my current call, following a pastor who got it/Him, I've had to deal with a few folks who never got it/Him as attested by their irreconcilable behaviors.

Simply, if you love Jesus, you love people who love Jesus and work out your differences through Him.

I refuse to believe Jesus advocates separation, segregation, and sectarianism of the saints; and if you disagree, find a Bible with John 17 in it.

In other words, I've returned to why I started; and I'm having lots of fun.

Again, Jack: "Life is an adventure. You do the best you can to plan, but you never know what's going to happen. It's kind of nice to not know what is around the corner. That's the adventure" (during GB's 70th birthday press conference for USA Today, 2010).



I'm often asked, "What should we call you?"

My response: "I'm called many things."

My prayerful preference: "His."


Blessings and Love!

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