Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22, 2011

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Whenever I teach homiletics, I quote Barth, Macleod, a salty old saint, and, uh, myself within minutes of the first class.

Barth: "It is not a matter of whether one wants to preach; but whether one can preach."

Macleod: "If it's not worth saying twice, it's not worth saying once."

Salty old saint: "You can't give away what you ain't got for yourself!"

Moi: "If you aren't psyched about Jesus, you won't get anybody else psyched about Jesus; and if you're not psyched about Jesus, you have lost the subject for the only sermons worth preaching!"

No wonder I've never been invited to teach at...

Anyway, as I've been absorbing Chan's Crazy Love and Metaxas' Bonhoeffer, I've been reminded why I felt called/claimed by God in the first place.



While my limited understanding of Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 convict me to esteem all calls/claims to honor Jesus because of the complementary character of His charismata, the call/claim of undershepherding is pretty simple.

Point all people to Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Enable relationships with Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Nurture relationships with Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Salt and salve - as appropriate - relationships with Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Pay lots of attention to Matthew 10 and John 10.

Insist on personal/corporate behaviors concomitant to belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Make no compromises on loving Jesus by loving like Jesus with selflessness, sacrifice, mercy, tolerance, forgiveness, and unconditional favor to all regardless of who, what, where, or when without the need or expectation for response, regard, or reward.

Never, ever, under any circumstance, in any context, no matter the cost...compromise on the truth of Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Don't confuse eisegesis with exegesis when employing the unparalleled source of His revelation in Holy Scripture in explaining/exhorting what it means to acknowledge Jesus as personal/corporate Lord and Savior.

Remember the Bible is bigger than your favorite parts.

And never, ever, under any circumstance, in any context, no matter the cost...pretend you're not as screwed up as everybody else; which is why I admit to thinking Sarah Palin is hot no matter what anybody says.

If you're a pastor because you couldn't get into law school or wasn't good enough to pitch for the Yankees, that's no reason to be a pastor.

It's like the old elder said to a young fellah being examined for ordination who said he would go into accounting or teaching if being a pastor didn't work out: "If you're called to be pastor, you can think of nothing else for the rest of your life even if you'd rather be doing something else for the rest of your life. So, son, I want to know if you're called to be a pastor before I vote on you being ordained."

Or something like that.


I was not called/claimed to control or comment on the audio-visuals, floral arrangements, lawn care, snow removal, temperature in the sanctuary, carpet color, the spirituality of oil-filled versus wax candles, menus for church dinners, table settings, where we'll store things that haven't been used since the War of 1812, the eschatology of modesty rails, the soteriology of my study's location, and other stuff distracting me from the call/claim and detouring people who need to concentrate so much more on Jesus than that lesser...

Yeah, I'll listen.

Yeah, I'll challenge/console as warranted.

Yeah, I'll direct 'em to those who are into that stuff for good, bad, and...

And to keep my sanity and positive countenance, I'll think about the last ride on my mule to South Dakota or the next 18 with my dad or something equally anesthetizing when...

I'm not above that kinda stuff.

I'm just not into it.

I'm not called/claimed for it.

I'm not that...gifted.


I really don't know anybody who is that gifted; which, I think, is why some pastors and others who think they are get into so much trouble.

We shouldn't even try to be who He never called/clamed us to be.

It's disobedience bordering on blasphemy.

I can't play the organ or drums, don't know much about computers, and hardly know how to change the oil on my Road King; so why would I tell any of 'em how to do what I don't know how to do?


Churches, governments, and other related businesses often get into trouble when people who should remain in the dugout step up to the plate; and vice versa.


Getting back to my call/claim which is not that different from others who have the same, uh, call/claim, reading Metaxas' Bonhoeffer (2010) reminded me of Bethge's, uh, Bonhoeffer (1967) that included this prompting: "Bonhoeffer maintained his interest in Bernanos, and added each new book that he wrote to his library. At his suggestion, many theological seminarists read The Diary of a Country Priest when it appeared in German translation in 1936."

That's why I read it while studying in Heidelberg in 1973.

I often quote these sentences to seminarians and anyone else like, uh, me who want/pretend to take Jesus seriously: "Our Heavenly Father said mankind was the salt of the earth, son, not the honey. And our poor world's rather like old man Job, stretched out in all his filth, covered with ulcers and sores. Salt stings on an open wound, but saves you from gangrene" (George Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest).

The truly called/claimed understand the parallel articulated by Yankees legend Reggie Jackson on his role with those championship teams of 1977/78: "I am the straw that stirs the drink."


Surely, salt that stings often gets stung.


That's what happens when you follow Jesus closely/seriously; and if that doesn't happen, it usually means you're not following Jesus too closely/seriously.

Jesus said, "If everyone thinks well of you...[and that everyone would include the bad guys]...beware!"

Beware of posers in Christian clothing who want to be liked!

Again, that's why some of today's pastors are so, uh, worthless; staying with the salt metaphor.

They're so concerned about being liked that they agree with the last person that they've talked to; making their ministries into clauses/sentences ending in prepositions that go nowhere for Christ's sake.

The truly called/claimed understand eternity with Jesus lasts a lot longer than pleasures fixed in time.

Bonhoeffer (just moments before dying for Christ's sake): "This is the end, for me the beginning of life."


I love the family of faith entrusted to me; and unless I'm assassinated or die of a broken heart first, I will pray, plead, push, pull, and keep rocking the boat to get it moving.

I love the family of faith entrusted to me; and I'm not piling up pension credits, perks, plaudits, or phony popularity at the expense of the delicate undershepherding balance (viz., Matthew 10:16).

Fortunately, I have an authentic covenant/accountability group of peers who aren't afraid to hurt my feelings if I wander too far away from the call/claim; and I am blessed with staff/officers/members/inquirers who are praying/trying to get it/Him right in our life together.

And I begin and end almost every day with a prayer attributed to the complicated Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard:

Lord, I have to make a choice, and I'm afraid that I may
make the wrong one. But I have to make it anyway;
and I can't put it off. So I will make it, and trust You
to forgive me if I do wrong. And, Lord, I will trust You,
too, to help make things right afterward. In Jesus'
name, Amen.

I have made many mistakes in every area of my life and ministry.

I am making many mistakes in every area of my life and ministry.

I will make many mistakes in every area of my life and ministry.

That's why I'm so psyched about Jesus my/your/our Lord and Savior!

And, therefore, as Moody once said to a mainliner who complained about his methods of evangelism, "I prefer the way I do it to the way you don't do it!"

Nails not snails symbolize fidelity.

Flaming out has always seemed more appealing than rusting out or fading away.

Now go back to the first section and start...



Blessings and Love!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wanted to copy all parts of this one and stick on the frig as a message one must/should/needs to hear daily. ...J