Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 11, 2011

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


I didn't feel like singing.


My manuscript on biker culture as metaphor and challenge to the church was rejected by a publisher last week.

I understand.

It's raw, redemptive, and, ergo, risky; too raw for conventional religious publishers and too redemptive for secular rags.

Though the reviews have been encouraging to its marketability from a broad spectrum including a 1%er, major magazine editor, two theologians, HD employee, and author of one of the best-selling biker books today, it's not uncommon for a book to get a few pink slips before...

Yeah, I know that.

I'm not giving up.

I believe it's going to be published before the parousia.

Uh, do you know anyone who wants to make lots of $ while publishing something that will provoke thought as to authenticity in the...?

But, dang, lots of folks don't like to think anymore.

Church and government are filled with 'em.

They just want something/someone to tickle their fancies.

The parable of the wineskins is about as popular as those texts on tithing.

I understand.

Still, I can almost hear Marv Albert screaming in my direction, "Rejected!"

Of course, I'm a pastor; so I know all about rejection.


I still don't feel like singing.


I was asked to write a story about something that I learned as a child for a children's book.

Immediately, I wrote "An Apocalyptic Moment in Fifth Grade."

It's short but...

I'll never forget one of the most apocalyptic moments in my life.

I was a fifth grader in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania's Lincoln Street

Sitting in homeroom during lunch one day and gobbling down my
peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich while trying to trade an
apple for a Hershey Bar or Mallo Cup, I watched my homeroom
teacher Mr. Moore take out his false teeth and proceed to gum
graham crackers to death.

It was disgusting.

My appetite for a Hershey Bar or Mallo Cup vanished.

I looked over and saw Donna making eyes at me.

We had a thing going on.

She would give penny candy to me if I would go into the
cloakroom and let her kiss me.

Though it was my first introduction to gender economics
and other things, I felt badly about it; but candy is
candy and...

Melvin was squirming in his seat again; which meant he
was about to make more than a little puddle under his
desk or expose himself to Tommy and Muffie. He did
that so much in fourth grade that Miss Chiskewicz lost
it, bit him on the neck in frustration, and ended up in
an asylum as part of her premature retirement from

Ernie was picking his nose as usual; then wiping it
under his desk.

Ann was picking her butt; then smelling her fingers.

Bobby was ripping off somebody's Tastycakes.

And Marilyn, the first girl that I actually wanted to
kiss and did under the big pine tree in front
of the library on Main Street just before summer
vacation because she was so much different
from the other girls which I later realized was
witness to her being in the third year of fifth grade,
started stroking my back without me objecting.

I thought, "Everybody in here is sooooooo messed

Then it hit me in a startling experience of adolescent
logic, "If everybody in here is messed up, then I
must be messed up too."

I hadn't even heard of Calvin.

While the words weren't in my mind yet, I sensed the
whole scene was totally depraved.

God knows I didn't pay attention when my Sunday
School teacher Miss Blanchard talked about some
kinda original sin in some garden in Bible days.

It was an apocalyptic moment.


For the first time, I realized what those guys who were on
the receiving end of God-breathed-Bible-writing must have
felt like along with a gnawingly greater and growing
awareness that I just might need a Savior to rise above
what was happening around and including me.

I've thanked God for Jesus ever since.

A true story.

Review: "It's short but...scatological."

Marv Albert: "Rejected!"

I guess it's hard to write a story for a children's book when your book on biker culture as metaphor and challenge to the church has been rejected.

Truth is I've written five books that have been published and only trail Rick Warren and the toothy guy in Texas by about, well, uh, geez, as many volumes as there are dollars in our national deficit.

Of course, I'm a pastor; so I know all about rejection.


He wants me to sing.


Staying with rejection, I've often deserved it.

I can be a real jerk at times.

That's one of the reasons why I love Jesus so much.

He has such a divine way of getting past, uh, me.

But, truly, there are times when I'm not as bad as...

It doesn't take a pastor to know what I mean.

I felt like that on Monday and Tuesday; catching everything but heaven for...

The particulars are irrelevant; because, well, you know what I mean...

Suffice it to say I was on the receiving end of some undeserved as well as deserved...

Bad thoughts swirled within.

They've rejected me as their pastor.

The staff hates me.

Nobody likes me.

I'm the lead in the Eagles song about wasted time.

Give up.

Stop trying.


Take the job in California.

Yet God has a way of picking us up when we've been knocked down.

Ella Jane's devotional for 1/11/11 ministered to my aching spirit: "Sometimes the hardest thing we can do is to wait and to hold on to our dreams when our flesh wants something now. Don't be so blinded by now that you lose sight of your destiny. You have a great destiny. You have a God-given passion...You are blood bought, redeemed and called out...Don't throw it away! Don't settle for a 'normal' life."

Then came Bob Gass' devotional of 1/11/11: "Growth is an uphill climb. If you want to keep growing, you must never stop climbing."

It's true: "Affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, proven character produces hope, and hopes does not disappoint..."

While I'd prefer not to start with affliction, He always, uh, renews/resurrects sooner than later and definitely in the end.


I'm getting ready to sing.


Two books are changing my life: Francis Chan's Crazy Love and Eric Metaxas' new biography on Bonhoeffer called, uh, Bonhoeffer.

They're returning me to an authenticity always at risk as a mainline politician, uh, I mean, uh, pastor.

Chan has helped me to remember/renew/resurrect my crazy love for Jesus that started when I first experienced His crazy love for me (see 1 John 4:19).

Metaxas' Bonhoeffer has helped me to remember/renew/resurrect my decision to die for Him and His if necessary; and it's always necessary in some way.

Chan and Metaxas' Bonhoeffer have also reminded me of the starkest existential fact preceding the eternal promise of discipleship (read Matthew 10:22 if you dare).

Staying with Bonhoeffer, not long before he died to love Jesus by loving like Jesus, he wrote from his prison cell, "Who am I? They often tell me...a hypocrite before others?...a contemptibly woebegone weakling?...a beaten army?...Who am I? They mock me..."

And then Bonhoeffer answers in Him who always takes our rejections and renews/resurrects sooner than later and definitely in the end, "Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine."


I want to sing!


Anyone who takes discipleship seriously will be rejected someway/somehow/someday by somebody.

Judas has many reincarnations (metaphorically).

I spend a lot of my time talking to pewsitters/pulpiteers/politicians/police/ponyriders and just all kinda, uh, people who are catching everything but heaven.

I remind them as I have had to remind myself in the last several hours that God uses moments of rejection to pave the way for greater growth in time in preparation for complete acceptance/affirmation/affection after...

Certainly, I would prefer to skip the pain - self-inflicted or otherwise.

I don't like pain; as certified whenever I fill in the blanks of those doctor/dentist forms asking about allergies with PAIN.

Yet as Paul wrote for anyone who takes discipleship seriously, "I consider the sufferings of this present time not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us."

He allowed Himself to be rejected to make that possible.


If you've got ears that...eyes that...

Besides, I want to sing!



Blessings and Love!


Anonymous said...

Good Morning Brother,
Thank you so much for your words today. They spoke to me and to my heart and to where I am. You have no idea how precious your message was/is to me.
As you well know by now, I am oficially a has been at St. John's. I cherished the time spent with them and hope it made a little difference in pursuing the agenda Jesus calls us to. Please keep me on your list, and let me know if I need to "subscribe".
You are both real and a very present inspiration as I read your thpughtful and thought provoking messages.
I will also miss the collegium and feel that there is both momentum and desire to touch/move Belvidere forward in mutual mission/ministry, kind of like we are actually called to do.
Please embrace Muriel as a member of the ministerium. She brings both gifts and possibilities.

with much love and a little pain,



Anonymous said...

Bob, Your Kopp Disclosure today was excellent. Thanks for the message. Our call is not to be blessed or cursed it is simply to follow and to preach the Master’s way. Paul

dennistheeremite said...

Without being at all abstract, being in the fifth grade says so much about who we really are. I think that is the real closet that everyone/I have/has to come out of. I love your writing and thinking. Keep it up.