Friday, August 20, 2010

August 20, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


I like working in my church study on Friday afternoons because the other offices are closed, the doors are locked, and I can pray, read, write, and other stuff interrupted every thirty seconds or so on the other days.

Today, somebody left one of the doors unlocked - not an uncommon occurrence as I'm prone to note: "Hey, if you need a key to our church, just ask the next person who walks by on the street!" - and a salesman found his way to me.

It's impossible to explain to non-mainliners that mainline clergy don't write checks, buy, sell, or even...

Only mainline church boards have that kind of authority.

Clergy just persuade people to follow Jesus.


Finally, he asked, "Is that your Harley in the parking lot? I'm shocked that a pastor would have one; especially at your age!"

I responded, "Well, the hearse that I drive most of the week is in for repairs and the church board votes next month on firing me because I believe people who hate the Yankees are socialists and my wife thinks I'm really Peter Pan and..."

Parenthetically, I'm reminded of a Christian author who reads KD and sells more books than even Ricky and Joel, though he hasn't bitten on my hints for him to help get my book on biker culture as metaphor/challenge to the church in print, who reviewed moi thusly: "Like the tone! One of my friends, a name you would recognize, says he's been urged to put on his business card: 'Bible Scholar and Professional Smart Ass!'"

O.K., I get it.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about mainliners, uh, me.

Why do I remain in the mainline when it's gone to the sideline of American religious culture?

Besides, that guy's inane question/comment only mirrors the inane stuff dominating the dockets of most mainline churches; or as I said to a group of believers studying Psalms over coffee on Thursday morning, "Geez! Rome is burning to the ground and churches are still fretting about _____ (fill in the blank with your favorite incidental keeping churches from what's important)!"

Why do I stay in a mainline denomination that's as relevant as old #4 to the Packers?


Here's why:

1. Hans Evans. He was pastor for many years of the Coatesville Presbyterian Church in, uh, Coatesville, Pennsylvania; and just before dying back in the late 70s, he said to me, "I know you're discouraged and even embarrassed by our denomination's direction. But remember two things. The difference between coal and diamonds is pressure. And if you've ever wanted to be a missionary, stay in our denomination. It's the best mission field open to us today."

2. Why leave one stinking denomination for another stinking denomination? It's true. None of 'em are perfect. As soon as you get closer to another one, you can start smelling the... Anyone who denies that doesn't need acid to trip. That's why I say, "I know our stink! I don't feel like smelling somebody else's. And because I know our stink, I know who needs the deodorant!"

3. Leaving the denomination is kinda like saying, "Go to hell!" Yeah, that's where it's headed; but as Paul told Timothy, "God wants everybody to be saved!" It's a John 3:16-17 thing. If people who love Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture and upheld by our constitution exit from their increasingly apostate mainline churches, the sheep will be increasingly defenseless against the...

4. Personally, I feel a debt to mine. It introduced me to Jesus, paid for my education, and stuck with me when I stunk more than I stink now.

5. We're supposed to be salt and light! People who abandon the mainliners forget Bonhoeffer's insight: "To follow Jesus, Luther had to leave the monastery and go out into the world!" Mainline denominations are as worldly as they come! Go back to #1.

6. John 17. Read it! Live it! It was His last prayer. He really meant it. Jesus doesn't give up on anyone. He doesn't run away from anyone. He'd just die to keep loving us. And as you recall - O.K., if you're a mainliner, you don't because it's in the Bible! - loving Jesus is loving like Jesus and loving like Jesus is, uh, dang, crap, gulp, unconditional.

7. I don't really have a 7th reason; but ever since reading the Bible, 6 just seems to carry so much baggage that...


It's Friday afternoon.

Finally, the salesman left - unconvinced that I can't write checks, buy, sell, or even...

Now I have time to think about, uh, a really important thing.

Why did I play so well with my favorite Special Olympics golf champion this morning?

Was it because I'm still savoring that really, really, really awesome spiritual adventure a few weeks ago (scroll down to the 8/16 edition for more on that)?

Was it because I've gone back to my old equipment that always worked so well but was shelved because I, uh, bought into that lie that you can buy a better game?

Was it because my favorite Special Olympics golf champion brings out the best in me on the course because he's not as...?

Not sure.

But I think there's a connection between all of this and why I really can't/won't leave/abandon/forsake...



Blessings and Love


The Rev. Wayne Paul Barrett said...

Thanks, Dr. Kopp, I really needed to hear that today.

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Your faith encourages mine, friend!

Blessing and Love