Friday, October 29, 2010

October 29, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



I'm not into Halloween.

Don't get me wrong.

Unlike some friends/foes/others who see demons under every rock or in every peanut butter cup and want to make an ecclesiastical/spiritual federal case out of it, I just see it as a good/lame excuse for eating candy and having another party; and as far as I'm concerned, to quote Michael in, uh, Michael, "You can never have too much sugar!"

I don't like scary movies; though you can take me to Little Shop of Horrors or The Rocky Horror Picture Show for some laughs.

I've never, uh, pretended to be immune to the taint of that original sin.

I'm just not into costumes; mask-wearing.

It's so, uh, hypocritical; you know, as in the Greek root of our word (upokrisis): wearing a mask to conceal one's true identity or pretending to be who you ain't.


Yeah, I know lots of mainline clergy are hypocrites; pretending to be for Jesus and Biblical Christianity while contradicting too much of what He...

Yeah, I know lots of American politicians are hypocrites; pretending to be for life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the preservation of the country while so obviously more concerned with piling up pension credits, selling their souls for votes, and...

Yeah, I know I'm a hypocrite; pretending to be all in for Jesus while leaving Him out of my life when...

Maybe that's why Halloween is so popular.

We like to pretend to be who we ain't for everything but noble purposes.


I know some readers from the way left are gonna be p-o'ed because I'm not going to say Halloween isn't anything more than a fun time for wearing costumes, going door-to-door for freebies, and the like.

I know some readers from the way right are gonna be p-o'ed because I'm not going to say Halloween is a threat to souls because of its roots in really weird stuff that today's witches reincarnate and really weird people celebrate as if it's Christmas or Easter and...

I just think most reasonably sober and sane people can distinguish good from evil surrounding/permeating most things like what's being preached in pulpits, D.C., and Halloween.

I don't think people are as stupid as the way left and way right think from their condescendingly arrogant perches of, uh, pretended superiority.


On the other hand, I find it rather ironic/fascinating/hypocritical that public schools make room for Halloween celebrations on public school property despite all of its real and exaggerated religious trappings but go apoplectic when anybody wants to celebrate Christmas, Easter, and...

Wait a second!

I think I've just figured it out!

Halloween is the most appropriate national holiday!

It's all about who we ain't anymore or ever were!

Trick or treat!



Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 27, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



I've been asked to lead a discussion in my presbytery - that's kinda like a collective bishop practicing constitutional, confessional, and representative democracy in which ordered groups rather than individuals exercise authority that must be recalled for people in Louisville who forget the PCUSA doesn't have a hierarchical polity - on The Belhar Confession.

That's because the 219th General Assembly that met in Iceland, uh, Minnesota last summer liked it and decided to send it to everybody, uh, all of the presbyteries with the expectation/hope/prayer/hallucination that it will be voted into our Book of Confessions (a majority vote by 2/3 of the 173 presbyteries is required for inclusion in the BC) which is a collection of dogmatic stuff that ain't really believed anymore but evokes sentimental memories of the way things never were or maybe were but are no more.

When I decided to remain faithfully in the PCUSA or remembered I was serious when I made those ordination promises in 5/77 or couldn't get by John 17 or didn't want to disrupt piling up more pension credits rather than run off with buddies like some kinda ecclesiastical Don Quixote to other franchises that are proving to be equally human in reality if not upokrisis, I told my presbytery's officers that I would serve as called/gifted instead of acting like the disgruntled on the way left and way right who like to banter and moan about those who get involved and try to honor, uh, whatever/whomever while they don't.


I kinda got carried away.

Simply, I'm going to lead the discussion on The Belhar Confession before we vote on it.


Anyway, I used to talk a lot about the BC when training officers and leading new members classes and serving on CPMs aka Candidates Committees aka gatekeepers for seminarians who want to be certified as, uh, O.K. to be pastors.

But when I discovered most of 'em didn't even know enough about the primary source, uh, Bible that supposedly inspired the BC, I lowered my expectations or dumbed down...

You know what I mean.

Be that as it has devolved to be, I jumped at the chance to lead a discussion on The Belhar Confession for reasons cited in the third paragraph of this KD's first section and when I heard the way left liked it (should) and way right didn't like it (could) because it should/could be interpreted as affirming same-sex behaviors.

Help me, Jesus!



Have we devolved to such a low point of study/debate that it's not about what is said/written but what is or is not intended between the lines?

Preferring exegesis to eisegesis, I decided I better start reading it instead of reading more about it; though my mind has been polluted/plagued by those presumptions/assumptions.


Before settling down to settle in on it, I reviewed the old standards on confessional theology by Dowey, Leith, and even Rogers.

I reviewed and recommitted myself to the Reformation pledge: ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda secundum verbum Dei.

I meditated on Romans 12:1-2.

I re-memorized a few lines from The Confession of 1967: "Confessions and declarations are subordinate standards in the church...subject to the authority of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, as the Scriptures bear witness to Him. No one type of confession is exclusively valid; no one standard is irreformable. Obedience to Jesus Christ alone identifies the one universal church and supplies the continuity of its tradition."

I asked God to deliver me from a mind already tainted by the ideological exaggerations ascribed to it by the way left and way right.


While fans of a few different theologians want to designate authorship to their idols, it appears to have been a collaborative effort to distinguish authentic Christianity from imposters in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa; appearing first in 1982 during a general synod meeting of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church in Belhar which is a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, adopted by the DRMC in 1986, and now one of the "standards of unity" of the new Uniting Reformed Church of Southern Africa.

Written to extol unity as a gift and obligation with an emphasis upon reconciling affirmations, attitudes, and affections as evidences of faith, it emphasizes unity through and for Jesus as overcoming color, class, and cultural segregations.

The language is fresh, forceful, and faithful: "Unity is...a gift and an obligation...must become visible so that the world may believe that separation, enmity and hatred between people and groups is sin...and accordingly that anything which threatens this unity may have no place in the church and must be resisted..."

While folks from the way left and way right say it affirms same-sex behaviors, that's an assumed implication rather than an explicit reference.


Certainly, The Belhar Confession isn't the tightest theology to cross my noodle; however, let's be honest in saying the current BC itself isn't the tightest...

C'mon, be honest!

Assumed implications without explicit references aren't anything new to continuing controversies surrounding the BC.

To say it "may be applied broadly" kinda reminds me that the same thing is often said about Matthew 25!

I've heard/read lots of wordsmithing related to this confession: "Christian faith teaches that unity is a result of truth. In the Belhar truth is subordinated to unity...Allen Boesak, one of the architects of Belhar,...claimed, 'Based on Belhar, the church should accept gay members, should perform gay marriage ceremonies and allow ministers in gay relationships to serve in the church.' Although Boesak's own church rejected his interpretation of the Belhar, the fact that he would see its potential for this purpose demonstrates that Belhar can be used in this expansive way."


Can be used?


Let's exegete not eisegete!

More wordsmithing: "I want to support the Belhar Confession...I agree with most of the Belhar Confession, much of it is simply a restatement of Scripture...But in the end, I cannot...First, the Bible is full of examples of God's heart for the poor and the oppressed. But it goes too far to say He is in a special way God to them...God does not show partiality to the poor...Second,...because of its many perceived implications..."

Much of it is simply a restatement of Scripture?

Because of its many perceived implications?

I can't stand it when someone says, "Perception is reality."


Reality is reality!


Let's exegete not eisegete!

BTW, anyone read any of Paul's letters lately?

I don't find them to be the most systematic around; and I know lots of people who have assumed implications without explicit references after reading 'em.

BTW, anyone ever hear of that colloquial definition of "assume" that goes like this...?

I know some analists from the way left and way right are gonna fry me for this, but I don't see nearly as much as they do in those three or less pages to support their extreme ideologies.

I just see a nice reminder that reconciliation and unity are characteristics distinguishing authentics from posers.


Have you ever said something and then listened to a report of what you said?

I've lamented, "I'm always surprised to hear what I said."

It often happens on Sunday afternoons.

I think that's what's happening to The Belhar Confession.

The way left and way right seem to be hearing/reading what's not there in, uh, black and white.

They're hearing/reading what they want to hear/read without respect to what's actually being said/written.

They're projecting/transferring...

That's kinda sick.



I haven't decided if I'm gonna vote for or against it; which, I think, makes me a good person to lead discussions on it.

Yeah, I like just about all that's in it; and I'm not like some folks who expect everyone/everything to be pure and perfect in every way like, uh, Jesus and Holy Scripture (go back to the third paragraph of this KD for more implied...).

It's just that the BC contains really big stuff - admittedly, some small stuff has snuck in over the years - like The Nicene Creed, The Apostles' Creed, The Scots Confession, The Heidelberg Catechism, The Second Helvetic Confession, and the Westminster standards; and I'm not sure if this one measures up to 'em.

I guess I don't really care if it gets in or not.

After all is said and undone, it's a subordinate comment on the Word.

Like all confessions, it's a secondary source.

I'm hoping people don't vote pro or con because the way left and way right are advocating their assumptions as rationale for casting ballots.

It's like reading Holy Scripture.

It's not supposed to be about what we think He says through it.

It's supposed to be about what He says through it.

We may disagree on what we think He says through it; but the point remains our prayers/labors must be to discover together what He says through it instead of what we...

I'm absolutely convinced God is not double-minded.

Unfortunately, we have that tendency; which is why we expect too much from human stuff like...


Blessings and Love!

Friday, October 22, 2010

October 22, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Government-funded NPR fired Juan Williams for saying he gets nervous when boarding a plane with Muslims dressed like, uh, Muslims.

Can you imagine anyone getting nervous when boarding a plane with Muslims dressed like, uh, Muslims after 9/11/01?

I've boarded many planes since 9/11/01 with Muslims and, uh, well, geez, gulp, sigh, started praising God for my eternal life through Jesus.

I know all Muslims aren't going to blow up planes and strap bombs on babies and send them into supermarkets and remain silent while the bad ones do; but I'm only human and prone to...

Can't we talk about it without...?



It all started when Juan's other boss O'Reilly p-o'ed Whoppi and Joy on their show by saying Muslims rather than extremist Muslims do really bad things like 9/11/01.

They stomped off the show with snoots in the air and puffy cheeks quivering quicker than ecclesiastical crybabies who gotta turn/run away from churches when they do or don't do whatever they do or don't wanna do.

Or something like that.

Big Bill asked (see the first clip of this KD) on his show shortly thereafter with typical arrogance 'cause he's never wrong, "So, so where am I going wrong here, Juan?"

NPR fired Juan not long after that as the thought police cheered and commentators like the following deadpanned, "What took them so long?"



I like Juan Williams.

Unlike Bill, Whoppi, Joy, and the rest of 'em, he's so, uh, unpredictable.

He's one of BBPBHO's biggest advocates/apologists without being a mindless drone.

He's not afraid of taking on Fox's meal ticket.

Unlike most folks on the air, he seems genuinely concerned about discovering the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

I don't always agree with him; but, except for Jesus, I don't always agree with anybody and I only agree with Jesus on everything because He's God and that's just the way He is whether I like it or not.

Writing for The Atlantic on 10/21/10, Jeffrey Goldberg identifies what really concerns me: "There's a larger trend here, the increasing tempo of journalist firings around the issues of Islam, terrorism, and Israel...unjustified...More to come, undoubtedly."

Simply, people are getting into trouble when they disagree/contend with the ideological filters signing pay stubs.

It's nothing new in politics or, uh, churches.


I think of mainline denominations and American politics.

Increasingly, everybody's got a litmus test for their sense of orthodoxy.

It seems like everybody's looking for that one iota of divergence so they can say, "To hell with you!"

It's no longer enough in the church to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior as attested in Holy Scripture and pray/labor together to figure out what the heaven that means existentially as well as eternally.

It's no longer enough in American politics to affirm our commitment to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and reason together about it.


Today, you've got to agree on everything about everything right now or your imprimatur will be rescinded.

You can't be Christian in their opinion or American in their opinion if your opinions don't coincide right now.

Yeah, I know there are some serious differences in the church and American politics; but if we don't start looking for what's common and build on what used to be glue in the church (Jesus) and America (heritage), we're going to wake up and discover there ain't much left of either anymore.

I think that's why Jesus liked peacemakers more than...



A self-styled prophet wrote this to me when I was about to quit: "There are giants in the land. As big as those giants are, we must keep our focus on the destiny that God has set before us. Though the battle is lost in the natural, it is won in the spiritual realm...Don't let the giants of discouragement ensnare you."

In other words, keep keepin' on!

If you're a Christian, love Jesus by loving like Jesus; knowing He wins in the end.

If you're an American, always vote/work for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; knowing vastly more people are trying to get into this country than get out of it which must mean something better than bad about it.

Juan got into trouble for being honest about humanity.

No one is always right.

No one is pure and perfect in every way.

Parenthetically, that's why Jesus is Savior as well as Lord.

There are good Muslims and bad Muslims.

There are good Jews and bad Jews.

There are good Christians and bad Christians.

There are good Democrats and bad Democrats.

There are good Republicans and bad Republicans.

Now...take a deep breath...and read the next sentence very slowly.

If you disagreed with any of those "There are good ___ and bad ___" attempts at an honest estimate of humanity, it probably means you'd like to fire Juan or Bill or Whoppi or Joy or, uh, anybody who disagrees with you.

You're no better than those ecclesiastical crybabies who...

When we assume we have all of the answers, we have proved idolatry is only a smokescreen for narcissism.



Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

October 20, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



I like to hug and kiss.

It's the Christian thing to do: "Greet one another with a holy kiss!"

Yeah, except for up to 3rd grade, I've also always liked the other kind.

But I've been hugging and kissing in a Christian kinda way for a long time.

It expresses affection and unity; and God knows we know everybody's lusting for more of that.



I learned about hugging and kissing in a Christian kinda way in the Bible.

It seems early Christians liked to express their love for each other by cheek-kissing and hearty embraces even more than handshaking, high fives, or fist pumps.

While full frontals and Frenchies are reserved for another kinda love that folks familiar with Greek already know - Psst! Even people who've never taken Greek know what I'm talking about! - the holy kiss means friendship in, through, and for Jesus.

It betrays a devotion to loving Jesus by loving like Jesus; and that means wanting/working/praying for everybody's best regardless of who, what, where, or when without the need or expectation of response, regard, or reward.

It reminds me of a song...



Mother Teresa was a very good holy kisser.

I'll never forget watching a silent film of MT holy kissing starving people in the streets and gutters of Calcutta.

It converted me to holy kissing; and I've been doing it ever since: kissing hands/cheeks and hugging in hospitals, nursing homes, before/after worship, and whenever I get the chance.

I get the same results that I saw in that film.

Moretheless, she touched, cradled, hugged, and kissed those starving people until the alienation, anguish, fear, terror, and dread were transformed into peace, calm, and glistening.

Every once in a while, in my experience and most holy kissers, somebody turns away and says, "I don't do that!"

Most folks are starving for it.

Like me.

Maybe you.

There are lots of us who want to hug and kiss.



Some people prefer to wave fists, extend middle fingers, stick out their tongues, and walk/turn/run away from affection and unity.

Christians like to hug and kiss.

It's easy to distinguish good from bad religion.


Blessings and Love!

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 17, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



It's inevitable.

Boise State will play for the BCS Championship on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.

Despite their pansy schedule that makes Beloit College's look tough, sportswriters want playoffs so badly that they will sell out their integrity/souls and vote BS - Hmm. How appropriate is that!?! - into a game that only crackheads think they're earning.

It's sooooooo sentimental.

The human polls - Associated Press (sportswriters) and USA Today (coaches) - have moved BS into #2 ahead of Oklahoma, TCU, Auburn, LSU, Alabama, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Stanford, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Florida State, USC, Florida, West Virginia, Texas, Miami,...


Help me, Jesus!

I know they play on a cute/cool blue field and their part of the country could use some PR; but this is ridiculous.

Thank God for some coldly calculating computers at BCS HQs that still has 'em ranked below Oklahoma and Oregon!

Seriously, as if the preceding hasn't been, the "toughest" teams left on BS' schedule are Nevada and Hawaii.

Hit me with your best shot!

Can you imagine if BS played in the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, or even the Big East?

C'mon, guys!

Don't make a mockery of the BCS Championship just because you're trying to force playoffs; which, parenthetically, is something that I'd like to see before the parousia.

Exaggerating the quality of BS football concomitant to their anemic schedule just to force playoffs is disingenuous and unfair to those teams/players that play true championship schedules.



It's like when I was called to be "senior" pastor of a really big and fabulously well-to-do church when I was only 29.

I wanted the job.

Academically, administratively, and homiletically, I was kinda "qualified" for the job.

I was pretty back then - hair, Brooks Brothers, ripped, right papers, and...

But the pastor search committee was warned by someone who was my age now back then, "I know you like him. I know he's a very attractive candidate. I know he can do it in the pulpit. But it makes me think of my daughter coming to me at 25 and saying, 'Dad, I've found the perfect man to marry. O.K., he's only 10, but in another 20 years...'"


He was right!

I was unprepared emotionally and spiritually; and while I moved quickly from that big one to a bigger one only to discover my climb to the top of the ecclesiastical ladder of success landed on the wrong building, I fell excruciatingly hard after about ten years because I really wasn't the whole package at those times.

Parenthetically, I'm still not; but I'm praying and laboring and trying...

Kinda like BS and the BCS Championship right now.

Oh, it looks inevitable that they're gonna play in the game.


Again, everybody but crackheads - including the enablers of this probable farce - know they don't really deserve it.


ESPN's guru Lee Corso keeps saying, "BS can beat anybody in the country."


How does he know?

Has BS played anybody yet?

Virginia Tech?


They (VT) lost to James Madison which might get a good game from Beloit College.

Their (BS) legitimacy will be certified by beating Nevada and Hawaii?


That's my point.

They look pretty and want to be in the game bbbbbbbuuuuuuuttttttt...


That's what's wrong with America and too many churches.

They keep dumbing down for sentimental desires and fantasies.

Qualifications/standards have nothing to do with their re-imagined realities.



On the other hand, I'm glad God doesn't make me earn His grace.

I'm glad Jesus won the big one; 'cause I sure as heaven can't.

O.K., maybe there is a place for BS in the big game.

No, not that one.




Blessings and Love!

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



A staff member tried to joke when I arrived at the church around 1:30 p.m. after an early morning Bible study, visits to hospitals and a nursing home, a counseling lunch, and crap (Yes, even I must take time to...): "Where were you? On vacation?"

Though irreverent to profane thoughts rushed through my noodle, none made it to my tongue.

I just walked to my study without a word or wink.

Repeated jokes aren't funny.

It's like watching C-SPAN.

Anyway, suicidal thoughts have given way to homicidal ones after almost 35 years in the business when someone says at least once a month as she/he says upon greeting in the narthex, "I wish I only had to work on Sundays."

24/7/365 doesn't lend itself to repeated jokes like that.

I think of an elder in Ohio - an African-American judge.

I complained, "I wish you would talk to ___. She doesn't like me just because I'm white."

He said, "I'm not wasting my time. She's just ignorant."

Go back to the third sentence of this section.


I've been spending more and more and more time in prayer, study, and reflection on what it means to model Someone better.

For mainline pulpiteers and pewsitters who think that could be anyone from BBPBHO to Sarah Palin - yes, a diverse coupling; but mainliners are that diverse these days - the Someone in mind/heart is Jesus.

I'm so old-fashioned.

I believe Christianity is about Jesus; and I like George MacDonald's definition: "God in Christ, and Christ in man...The gift of the Spirit...[is] make you think as God thinks, feel as God feels, judge as God judges..."

Even if it comes from a 19th century Scot, that's one of the better commentaries on Galatians 2:20.

Actually, that kinda describes discipleship at His best; which is modeling Someone better.

Again, for mainliners, that Someone is supposed to be Jesus for people who identify themselves, more than less, as Christians.

Admittedly, any connection between Jesus and some churches is just coincidental.

Be that as it should not be, Christianity is supposed to be about Jesus.

Anything less than Jesus as founder, focus, and filter of creed/deed is, a, uh, bad, but too often repeated, joke.


An old gospel song explains discipleship this way: "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

Back to MacDonald: "God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy...He will never be satisfied with us until we are perfect, but He is pleased with our progress along the way...Our part in that process is to obey. Even the smallest step of obedience leads to spiritual growth and knowledge...Get up and do something the Master tells you...Instead of asking yourself whether you believe or not, ask yourself whether you have this day done one thing because He said, 'Do it'...It is simply absurd to say you believe, or even want to believe in Him, if you do not do anything He tells you."


That kinda stuff reminds me of the professor who said this after I asked what I should do in my first sermon, "Talk about loving Jesus by obeying Him. That'll shock 'em!"



I know I mentioned this on 10/6 (scroll down) - if it ain't worth sayin' twice, it ain't worth sayin' once; which is really helpful to preachers who recycle sermons regularly - but Francis Chan's Crazy Love is the best book on discipleship - loving Jesus by loving like Jesus - that I've read in a long time or, uh, ever.

Scroll down to the 10/6 edition for more on that; and what I'm gonna do when my book on biker culture as metaphor and challenge to people of faith, uh, uh, uh, sells and I have enough $ to...

Be that as I hope it will be before the parousia, Chan's chapter on "Profile of the Lukewarm" (read Revelation 3:14-22 in juxtaposition to Matthew 22:34-40 as the Biblical contrast between lukewarm/halfhearted/partial "Christian" posers and truly devoted via heart/mind/soul/body commitment authentic believers in Jesus as Lord and Savior) describes what is wrong with too many "Christian" posers to identify how authentic Christians weave behavior into the fabric of faith because behavior exposes the veracity of belief.

Or something like that.

Anyway, Chan's salty introduction: "Would you describe yourself as totally in love with Jesus Christ? Or do the words halfhearted, lukewarm, and partially committed fit better?"

I'm reminded of mainliners who, uh, pride themselves on being moderate about faith; as in moderately committed to Jesus, the Bible...

On to the highlights by contrast to the lowlights: "Lukewarm people...

...attend church fairly regularly...(Isaiah 29:13)...

...give money to charity and to the long as
it doesn't impinge on their standard of living...(I Chronicles 21:24)...

...tend to choose what is popular over what is right...They desire
to fit more about what people think...than what God
thinks...(Luke 6:26)...

...don't really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to
be saved from the penalty of their sin...(Romans 6:1-2)...

...are moved by stories about people who do radical things for
Christ, yet they do not act...(James 1:22)...

...rarely share their faith...They do not want to be rejected,
nor do they want to make people uncomfortable...(Matthew

...gauge their comparing themselves to the
secular world...(Luke 18:11-12)...

...say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their
lives. But only a part...(Luke 9:57-62)... God, but do not love Him with all their heart, soul,
and strength...[that's]...for missionaries...(Matthew 22:
37-38)... others but do not seek to love others as much as
they love themselves...(Matthew 5:43-47)...

...will serve God...but there are limits...(Luke 18:21-25)...

...think about life on earth much more often than eternity in
heaven...(Philippians 3:18-20)...

...are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely
consider trying to give as much as possible to the
poor...(Matthew 25:34, 40)... whatever is necessary to keep themselves from
feeling too guilty...(Matthew 13:44-46)...

...are continually concerned with playing it safe...(Matthew

...feel secure because they attend church...(Matthew 7:21)... not live by faith...their lives wouldn't look much different
if they suddenly stopped believing in God...(Luke 12:16-21)...

...probably drink and swear less than average, but...they
really aren't very different from your typical unbeliever. They
equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they
couldn't be more wrong...(Matthew 23:25-28)..."

Chan's salty conclusion: "Jesus asks for everything. But we try to give Him less. Jesus said, 'Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness...It is fit neither for the soil nor the manure pile'...He is saying...'You would ruin manure.'"



After reviewing that chapter with some of the most faithful guys in our family of faith, one said, "Makes me glad that Jesus is my Savior!"


Christianity isn't about how good we are.

It's about how great and gracious He is!

Yes, Jesus expects us to pray and labor and try to be His best in our lives.

Yes, Jesus knows we'll never be actually perfect.


That's why He has to save us from that.

Whenever you're reminded, like I was in my recollections shared in the first section of this edition, that you can never live up to anyone else's expectations, remember God doesn't expect actual perfection from us.

If He did, He wouldn't have come in Jesus as Savior as well as Lord.

That's why Christianity is good news; despite all of the bad news being dumped on us by...



Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 13, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Considering I have no hair except for what's in my nose and ears and on my face, the preceding video may seem a little off at the start of KD's look/prognostications at/for mid-term elections.

Of course, I'm a little off.

Moretheless - hint - I think both major parties are going to be humbled on 11/2.

Whether the video is a Samson metaphor for dyed-in-the-wool-but-not-Spirit Democrats and Republicans who are doing everything but their heavenest to ruin America or a metaphor for my interspersed sense of contrition will be for you decide.

Or maybe you just won't deal with the metaphors at all and confirm/contradict/criticize what I think is/ain't gonna go down on 11/2 to the shock of all those pachyderms and jackasses - Can you identify the party? - who'd vote for Satan if it were their party's nominee?




As mentioned in the last KD (scroll down to 10/6), I'm changing.

I'm more passionate than ever before about Jesus; yet while thanking/praising Him for His existential/eternal saving graces, I'm really praying/laboring to make Him Lord of every part of my life if you know what I mean.

What I mean is I've moved to the most confessional/repentant period of my life and ministry.

I could write a book about it; but, uh, my books don't sell very well.

Be that as it is and will remain until somebody takes a chance on my book about biker culture as metaphor and challenge to the church, I just sent a letter (10/9) to my outlaws in the spirit/Spirit of what I'm trying to convey:

Dear Lillian and Ralph,

I am writing to you from the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel Dean's
Office of the University of Chicago.

Arriving a little early to avoid traffic because I will be presiding at
a wedding in the next few hours, I have some time to write a
brief note that has been too long in coming.

While no one is pure and perfect in every way, I just want you to
know that Leslie has been a laudable wife, mom, and step-mom.

Certainly, it hasn't always been easy for her. ___ was especially
challenging; and we're still overcoming the vestiges of those

I haven't been easy for her.

While I had a marital hiccup about 12 years ago related to ___'s
time with us, Leslie is more than everything that I had ever hoped
and prayed for in a wife and mother to our children.

Truth is I have not been nearly the husband to Leslie that she has
been the wife to me.

Indeed, if it weren't for her, we would not have a reasonably stable
and secure home life.

These past few months have been extraordinarily humbling for me
as I have had a lot of time to think about my life, our life, and the

A long trip to Sturgis, my mother's health challenges, a cherished
friendship that I pray will be restored, some independent counsel
on my previous addiction to plastic (Gave up using credit cards
two years ago!), the sad state of our country's economy and
government, and the challenges of church life in an increasingly
secular culture have caused me to think deeply about my life,
wife, family, ministry, and lots of really important things.

I have concluded that I'm not as great as I thought I was as a
husband, father, pastor, and all of the rest.

My reason for writing is twofold.

First, while I must still deal with the consequences of my
shortcomings, I am expectant and psyched about what I
have learned; especially in the last two to twelve years.

Though people think I'm smart, it's taken that long for me
to put the pieces together.

I've been helped a lot by our Lord through some friends and

Second, I have re-committed myself to being the kind of
husband that Leslie deserves; and as we move to the end
of our first quarter century of marriage, I look forward to
giving my best to her for the rest of my life.

I want to thank you for everything that you are and have
done to make her into the woman, daughter, sister, wife,
and mother that she is.

She is truly a gem amid the fiberglass; and I am thankful
that I have some time left in my life to prove my affirmation
and affection.

Blessings and Love!

P.S. Your sons are pretty great too!


Somebody said, "Confession is good for the soul; but bad for your reputation."

Well, I'd rather err on the side of my soul if you know what I mean.



Speaking of humbling, I may be wrong but I think incumbents from both parties are gonna be surprised on 11/2.

BBPBHO ain't as popular as his sycophants fantasize; and he ain't as unpopular as his antagonists advertise.

Yeah, I've been following as many polls as I can find on the net; but just like I can't find anyone who voted for Johnson or Nixon, people who assume the mid-terms are a referendum on BBPBHO are as deluded as those who think Boise State deserves a shot at the national championship because of their incredibly cool blue field 'cause it can't be their pansy schedule that makes Rock Valley College's look worthy of BCS bowl consideration.


Rock Valley College doesn't play football.

That's what I mean!

Besides, just who's gonna challenge him from the GOP?

I think the Secretary of State has a better chance of...

And that's my first prognostication.

If BBPBHO doesn't dump the VP who ain't from anywhere near The Office in Scranton for her, she's gonna pull a Kennedy-on-Carter with much more success.


Some background from KDers:

California: "As James Carville said, 'It's the economy, stupid!' The recession is very deep...the true unemployment rate is much higher than the smoke and mirrors coming out of DC...The rate has stayed at 16% nationally and has actually gone up in the last month."

Illinois: "This is a time of testing - a shaking of what really matters. God desires to tear down the house of establish the house of David...The house of Saul builds in it's own strength and attracts the masses. The house of David waits, seeks the Lord, raises up disciples, and worships with holy fire...The house of Saul represents insecure leadership reproducing insecure leaders who bend to the crowd...It's time for the house of David...God is shaking us!"

Georgia: "Our employment rate just went up from 10 to 10.4%. The local papers are now saying Atlanta is the new Detroit. Homes are boarded up...grass as tall as the windows and weeds growing in the driveways...But to the point. What amazes me is this. DC says the recession ended 15 months ago. Where have they been this whole time? Is their economic team so slow and dumb that it takes 15 months to get a grip on real time? They need to quit flying around in their airplanes and find out what's really happening!"

Pennsylvania: "I don't care who, where, or what! They've all got to go! We need to start over! Defeat them all!"

New York: "I'm afraid most incumbents will win because we're just too stupid to vote the ___s out! So annoying! People ___ and ___ about them; but then turn around and vote them back into office. I guess we keep getting the incompetence reflected in us."

Maryland: "Isn't it great to live in a society where the penalty for lying to a Congressman can be up to 30 years in jail but the penalty for a Congressman lying to you is another two years in office?"

California: "November will be ugly for incumbents; especially Dems. They've earned it!"

Simply, people are ticked off; but I don't think they're ticked off enough for the kind of real changes in office that could inspire renewed hope across the land.


All 435 seats in the House are up for grabs.

37 Senate seats will be contested.

38 state and territorial governorships are up for grabs.

And that's not including the plethora of local stuff; which you can predict for yourself.

In other words, it could be more of the same or something much different from the last two to ten years.

While I may be wrong and we'll find out for sure on 11/2, I think the following prognostications are pivotal to keeping the same old same old for the same old same old or a bloodless revolution increasingly overdue.

Parenthetically, I see a handful of gains for the GOP in Governorships (up to 7), only five or six losses for Dems in the Senate, and maybe twenty newbies in the House.

The bellwethers beginning in my neck of the woods:

The Illinois race for Governor pits former Blago running mate Quinn against, uh, who really cares in a state with more Dems than white mice in a psychology lab. Quinn wins with the help of dead voters in Chicago.

The same goes for the Illinois Senate race.

I don't see the Freeport Mayor upsetting the incumbent this time around in District 16 (closer than previously assumed); but if things don't get better, watch out in two years!

Looking around the country at state capitals, watch for Linda Ronstadt's former boyfriend to win in California in my non-upset special. The rest should go as the majority of polls suggest.

Looking at the House where there are a lot of close ones that should end up with mutual surprises resulting in a modest GOP gain, the polls are laughably wrong about Pennsylvania's 11th District. Barletta's a firebrand on illegal immigration and the rednecks love him; but the ethnic vote remains strong for the incumbent along with my sense that a GOP win would signal the eschaton. Kanjorski wins big despite polls saying Barletta's ahead. NB! If the Hazleton mayor does beat Flood's clone in this race, it's gonna be a very, very, very big night for Tea Partiers as they serenade on Pennsylvania Avenue, "Turn out the lights! Your party's over!"

Several Senate races should go down to the wire; and watch for a close race in Florida with Rubio nipping the reborn populist Crist, Rand Paul defying the odds and pejorative press with a solid victory in Kentucky, Richard Burr getting a scare but hanging on in North Carolina, the most Mormon winning in Utah, and possible if improbable upsets for Tea Partiers in California (kinda) and Delaware (go back to the bold print in the preceding paragraph for a parallel).


Watch for some last second shifts as the great campaigner who says nothing eloquently...

Again, do not under-estimate BBPBHO's popularity; which is why the GOP's mid-term gains won't be nearly as big as Boise State's unwarranted rise in the polls.


In short, change is good as it conforms to something/Someone better.

I'm hoping my changes are falling into that category even as I lament the country's...

We'll see.


Speaking of seeing, uh, I mean hearing, click on every Tuesday live at 5 for political guests and commentary through 11/2; and check the archives for shows that you've missed.

Or just click on and then click on Kopp Disclosure for the bumper music.

Maybe you can mix some metaphors!

Go back to the first video.

It's humbling.



Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October 6, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Mom's surgery went well; or that's what I got from her first words to me on Tuesday morning (10/5): "Bobby, I think I'm gonna make it."

I was relieved.

My toothache went away.

As for my heart...


Incidentals come and go.

It's like the boy who asked his grandpa, "Do you think it will stop raining?"

Grandpa: "Always has."

What's important comes and remains.

Two of my three favorite dentists understand that/me.

One said, "You may be grinding your teeth because of all the stress with your mom and everything."

Her husband said, "Bob, I think you've got a mental problem."


My toothache went away after talking to my mom on Tuesday.

As for my heart...


I've been doing funerals for a long time; but I've never buried a parent or sibling or anything close to that except for Paul Swedlund.

In other words, I have clues - about 400 - but no experience of what that feels like.

Shrinks say it's the difference between sympathy and empathy.

All I know now is if I felt this "mental" about the possibility...


I'm changing.

I'm not as pastorally patient with the incidentals as I used to be but have more time than ever for who's/what's really important; trying not to be obnoxious about the incidentals but not wasting any more time on them at the expense of the important.

I'm looking deeper.

I used to say, "If you have a problem with your watch, don't look at the hands! Look deeper!"

Now I say, "It's what's on the inside not the outside of a watch that makes it run well."

That's more substantive than subtle.


C.S. Lewis said something like this: "The Bible is the most sold and least read book of all time."

That's why I rarely recommend books to people.

It's like seminaries that concentrate on Luther, Calvin, Barth, and even Moltmann while most of the eggheads remain Biblically illiterate.

We spend too much time reading books related to the Bible than reading the Bible itself.

That's a clue.

Anyway, I've just read Francis Chan's Crazy Love for the third time after reading it for the first time in July.

If I were a priest or some other kinda dictator, I'd take out a wad of $ from some church fund and buy a copy for every officer, member, and person who's thinking about leadership or membership.


I'd charge it but I don't do that anymore.

Moretheless, I'd like our church boards to cut down on the incidentals and take several minutes at every meeting to study it.

Anyway, Chan has identified the changing in me that's delivering me from the incidentals to the important: "You never know when God is going to take your life. At that moment, there's nothing you can do about it. Are you ready?...I have a sense of urgency...I'm doing funerals...I can't help but being urgent in my message...[So]...I'm going back to Scripture and seeing what the church was in its simplest form and trying to re-create that in my own church. I'm not coming up with anything new. I'm calling people to go back to the way it was. I'm not bashing the church. I'm loving it."

A day is coming when everybody will return from the cemetery but my mom, dad, sister, wife, or, uh, me.

Because of the last few days, I feel more and think less about it; and that causes me to really think about how I feel about the time that's left.


I've made some decisions.

I'm gonna pray longer and think harder on who's/what's important/incidental.

I'm gonna do my heavenest to follow Jesus' example of erring on the side of unconditional agape love over anal pharisaical law; even if it means telling the extreme theologies that they're making people twice as fit for hell as they are themselves.

I'm gonna take up the cross; allowing people who can't handle personal culpability to blame me for...

I'm gonna confess and repent at His prompting.

I'm gonna let go of all of the incidentals in my life (inanimate) and embrace who's/what's important (animate).

I'm gonna stop expecting and start...

I'm gonna go back to Him before I go forward.

I'm feeling urgent.

It just hit me after the toothache went away.

My heart aches when I confuse the incidentals (me, myself, and I) with the important (Him and His).

If this keeps up, and I hope it/He does, I think I'm gonna make it.


Don't be confused.

It's all about heaven in the end.

In the meantime, we're supposed to pray and labor that it may be on earth as it is in heaven.



Blessings and Love!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October 3, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



My heart and tooth ache.

I understand the tooth.

Gump: "It happens."

The heart is more problematic.

Jesus: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."


My mom's surgery, rescheduled several times after being told she'd have to have it or die, should be on 10/4.

I thought a lot about that yesterday; while visiting someone else's mom about 1000 miles away from mine.

Fortunately, I didn't have any gotta-be-here-or-the-kingdom-may-rise-or-fall-on-it ecclesiastical or other business last week; so I got to see her for a very few days.

Though nervous as everything but heaven because of the defining clause in the first sentence of this section, she kept saying, "Bobby, I love you so much and I'm so happy you're here and you'll always be your mommy and daddy's little boy..."



That felt so good; 'cause my vocation doesn't allow for much unconditional love.

I won't even bother talking about affirmation and affection.

It is what it is.

Anyway, as the very few days of being with my mom, dad, and sister and soaking up that unconditional agape began slipping away, my mom seemed to be feeling better about the whole deal; which was obvious to me when she started bugging me about wearing a helmet and told me on late Monday night that her pastor was coming to see me on early Tuesday morning.

I said, "Mom, I come here to see you, dad, and Sue; and maybe Sue's family if they've got time. I don't come to meet, entertain, counsel, or..."

My dad interrupted, "Janie, people who spend all of their time dealing with other people's problems don't like to deal with other people's problems when they're away."

With a sudden burst of energy/purpose, my mom blurted out, "Well, the least he can do for me is wear a helmet and visit with our pastor who wants to meet him."


How could I say no to meeting her pastor when she's my mom and facing...?


I told her that I'd wear a helmet most of the time - like when I'm riding in the rain or in the city or on one of the rudest roads in America (Route 90 between Madison, Wisconsin and the Indiana border) - if she bought one for me like the one that Jax wears on Sons of Anarchy.

BTW, if someone steps up to pay off my plastic, the same deal applies.

I guess everybody has a price.

Just ask Brett, LeBron, or Rahm.


I like my mom and dad's pastor.

He loves Jesus by name and believes mainline denominations would be better off not to mention faithful if they paid more attention to Biblical Christianity instead of the navel-gazing ideologies that have caught their fancies.

He helped us vent about medical care (?) that says you've got to have a particular procedure/surgery or you'll die and then postpone, reschedule, and...

He asked why less than 1% of a church's membership can paralyze a church from doing, uh, almost anything; prompting my hypothesis: "Because we're wimps and don't have the courage of our convictions which means we really have no convictions because convictions compel proactivity."

He liked that; and I liked him even more for liking that/me.

Then he said, "I don't know what I've done wrong; but everybody on the pastor search committee that wanted me to be the pastor has left."

I said, "That's a repeated refrain in our ghetto. From my personal experience as well as from counseling pastors who've gone through it, lots of pastor search committee members leave the church when they discover they didn't get what they thought they got; especially the ones who lusted for a champion for their agenda, best friend, or lover."

He liked that; and I liked him even more for liking that/me.

But my heart began to ache for him, peers, and, uh, me; especially as we discussed issues like membership and money.

I forgot about my tooth for the next two hours.

I just decided to love him; and even when we disagreed, I kept it to myself because piling on is a penalty in more than football.

Besides, it reminded me of something that I read in Francis Chan's Crazy Love: "Life is comfortable when you separate yourself from people who are different from you...But God doesn't call us to be comfortable."

We laughed between tears about mainline denominations spending most their time on what separates (navel-gazing ideologies) not unites (Jesus); recalling another line from Chan: "I'm going back to Scripture and seeing what the church was in its simplest form and trying to re-create that in my own church. I'm not coming up with anything new. I'm calling people to go back to the way it was. I'm not bashing the church. I'm loving it."

That's when I realized why my heart more than tooth aches.

I'm reminded of the first words out of his mouth, my response, and then his response to my response.

He showed up in preacher clothes.

I was in my it's-good-to-have-Bobby-home T-shirt and shorts without shoes.

He asked, "Are you trying not to look like a pastor?"

I said, "I hope so."

He said, "I get it."

Yeah, I like him.



The Lord is forcing me to expand my wineskin to make room for Him and His.

Decreasing self to increase Him and His is the most difficult challenge of life.

That remains a much too big part of why my heart aches.

I care too much about what I care too much about and sometimes it's only coincidental to Christianity as personified in Jesus and prescribed in the Bible.

As for the tooth, I think there's something more spiritual than sensual about it.

Maybe it's penance.


Blessings and Love!