Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Romance and reality aren't always bedfellows.

For example, when I was in college and dreamed of healing lesbians in a heterosexual kinda way, I didn't have any, uh, takers.

That came after ordination.


I'm only being, uh, honest.

Honeymooning pastors who say their congregations are sooooooo "wonderful" and post-honeymooning pastors who say their congregations are sooooooo "awful" provide another example of the challenge to balance romance and reality.

Personally, I don't trust anybody who's always positive or always negative.

I prefer people who are, uh, honest.

Life can be very messy; and balancing romance and reality seems integral to survival.



Getting back to lesbians, I don't lose too much, uh, sleep because of 'em; though I've heard lots of heterosexual men support a whole industry related to...

Seriously, and I may be wrong on this, I don't lose much sleep over the whole gay thing.

Admittedly, folks on the way left and the way right seem obsessed with, uh, turning me over to their ways of thinking which I find increasingly distant from His way of...

The way left wants me to ignore the Bible and says we've now got "more light" on it and now it's really, really, really kinda cool to be gay in the eyes of God.

The way right wants me to ignore the Bible and says gays should be booted out of the church because they're so, uh, queer.

I'm uncomfortable around the way left and the way right.

I'm uncomfortable around the way left because the Bible is bigger than their favorite parts; and just because there's a lot of romance around gays these days in our culture, it doesn't make it real to Biblical faith and morality.

I'm uncomfortable around the way right because the Bible is bigger than their favorite parts; and just because Biblical prohibitions to homosexuality cannot be denied unless you're on crack, the way right seems almost pathologically obsessed with gays while forgetting about things like their own, uh, pride.

The way left bugs me because they look at revelation and boast, "I know that's what the Bible says, but we think..." How big of them!

The way right bugs me because they pick on gays as somehow more deserving of their self-righteous indignation than, uh, their own self-righteous indignation; and I've often said to 'em, "O.K., if you're gonna kick out the gays, then you're gonna have to kick out the gossipers; which means nobody'll be left."


I prefer Jesus: "Come to Me, all who are..."



If Jesus loves the world, I assume that means you, me, and, gulp, them.

Truth is too many pastors/pewsitters are doing just about as much as Democrats and Republicans to increase the polemical polarization of our culture.

Everybody's so partisan these days; and if it keeps up much longer, churches will continue to splinter and die and America will continue to decline and we'll have blown the Godly grace extended to everybody blessed to live in America.

I'm romantic enough to believe we can come together through Jesus.

I'm realistic enough to believe Jesus is the only way for us to come together; because invitation, welcome, and inclusion are more important to Him than...

A Pittsburgh seminarian got it/Him in a 12/12/10 sermonette that can help churchy people on the way left and the way right to become more than Christianettes: "This holiday is not called Selfmas...No, we need the Christ Child, the baby Jesus. He is the only one who can truly liberate us from our fear, our sin, and ourselves. If we can only learn to see the world in a new way, the Jesus way, things would be much better. If we could give our pain and our fear to Jesus, He would gladly take it from us. If we saw the hurting and needy as Jesus sees them, we would see where our hands can make the world a better and more joyful place for someone else. Getting our joy from Jesus instead of looking for cheap substitutes in the world or inside us will bring a peace that will endure to our souls. That is a Christ-centered Christmas...You see it is always what is at the center of our lives that truly matters. Let's make Christ the center of this season."


Not bad for a mainline seminarian!

The way left and the way right would prove to be more, uh, Christian if they talked/walked about/with Him than about/with their strange bedfellows.



Emerging church guru Brian McLaren was recently interviewed by PCUSA Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons (go to the 12/11/10 edition of for the video podcast); and offered this advice: "Don't bring folks to where you are. Don't leave them where they are. Go with them to a place neither of you has been."

Jesus comes to mind.

I believe it's time for the way left and the way right to take their eyes off of their navels and see the real Jesus who is bigger and better than their romanticized ideologies corresponding to their extreme pathologies.

McLaren went on, "We're part of a huge cultural shift...If we want our tradition to continue in the future, we have to give permission and encouragement for creative innovation and creative exploration, which will require us to go back and rediscover what it is about the gospel that's precious. What does it really mean to be a Christian? What is our identity and mission in the world?"

Jesus comes to mind.

I believe it's time for the way left and the way right to take their eyes off of their navels and see the real Jesus who says kinship with Him requires expanding wineskins and unconditional agape because it's more about His amazingly overarching grace to save us from the damning consequences of our real sins than the romanticized ideologies born of pathologies pretending the extremes are "more right" and "more saved" than counterparts.

McLaren asks for the "nones" or majority of Americans who regard themselves as spiritual rather than religious, "Can you accept me where I am and lead me gently and wisely to a better way of life so that I can play my part in bettering the world?"

Jesus comes to mind.

Again, He invites, welcomes, and includes: "Come to Me, all who are..."

McLaren challenges, "We need to encourage the development of new congregations that are focused not on competing for a share of the religious market, but focused on helping the 'nones' rediscover a vibrant faith in Christ and a life-transforming community of faith...Think about not saving the church, but saving the world."

Jesus comes to mind.

Review the great commandment (Matthew 22:34-40) and great commission (Matthew 28:16-20).



I'm so romantic; believing anything/everything good and positive is possible through Jesus.

I'm so realistic; knowing the way left and the way right and sometimes even you and I are capable of really peculiarly selfish pathologies masquerading as noble ideologies that inhibit good for, uh, personal/corporate prejudices.

I'm so romantic; knowing I serve a "wonderful" congregation that really wants to honor Jesus.

I'm so realistic; knowing congregations can be really "awful" every now and then because they're/we're so human and never outgrow their/our need for Jesus as Savior if they/we can't tolerate Him as Lord.

I'm so romantic; believing gays and straights and everybody else can grow up and confess their sins rather than flaunt 'em in a 1 John 5:1-10 kinda way.

I'm so realistic; knowing that taint from the garden still causes us to confuse the mirror's reflections with God and diaries with the Bible.

Life is messy.

They're messy.

I'm messy.

You're messy.

And even if the way left and the way right won't admit it because they're so damned determined to convince everybody that they're "more right" and "more saved" than everybody else, all of the below (world) are depending upon all of the above (Trinity) to cut slack in the end because romance and reality can be so confusing in the meantime.

Simply, I'm glad God has all of it/us figured out.

I don't; and I don't think I'm alone.

We're kinda like the guy who said all he could handle was the peanut.

John 3:16-17 is enough for...


One more thing.

I've often been asked by the way left and the way right, "What would you do if one of your sons turns out to be gay?"

Considering I have five sons, I guess that's a fair question; suspecting the way left thinks that possibility would turn me into a "more light" kinda guy and the way right thinks that would send me into some kinda fundamentalist frenzy.


Here's how I've always responded: "I don't understand your question. I wouldn't do anything different from what I'm doing right now. I'd love 'em unconditionally."

I got it from Jesus.



Blessings and Love!

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