Friday, April 15, 2011

Clergy Meology, Iconoclastic Temptations

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



I've been so blessed by people asking for what He has prompted me to give away.

Paul was right: "I consider...not worth comparing to..."

Some folks thought I was bluffing or playing games or something else that coincides with their estimate of my character.


I'm with Paul again as the chief of bad guys who don't practice what they preach.

BTW, I've still got a few more briefcases, books, and...


Of course, I'm still struggling to get this/Him right.

That was more than apparent when my pony started bleeding last Friday and I had to schedule an operation for Holy Week without the benefit of adequate health care ($); and that's not to mention the cage with a cracked window, bald tires, and plethora of other annoyances that mean I won't be able to trade it in for the truck to help geezers, young athletes, and...

Yes, there are times when I wish I hadn't sucked it up and stayed in one of those high steeples with all of those unGodly perks that make a mockery of anything remotely resembling simple, humble, suffering servanthood as exemplified by Jesus and expected of anyone daring to claim Him as Lord and Savior.

Yes, there are times when I'd like to live like the clergy who crucified Him.

Yes, there are times when I'd like to...

...betray Him for any amount of...


Aside from the pony and cage, those dark thoughts came to mind when I heard about the latest recipient of iconic Sir John Templeton's Prize for Religion.

The guy, a theoretical astrophysicist in London, was shocked to win; for as he admitted almost two weeks ago, "...since it wasn't clear to me that I did have the entry ticket."

Following recipients like Bill Bright, Michael Novak, Chuck Colson, James McCord, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Billy Graham, Thomas Torrance, Brother Roger, and Mother Teresa who have "made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimensions" (stated purpose from Templeton's team of judges for the prize), Dr. Rees the recipient has no "religious" beliefs but occasionally attends an Anglican service.


Let me get this straight.

A guy who's not religious by confession but dips a toenail sometimes into anesthetizing higher liturgies gets a million in sterling for addressing a big question that brings Bill Cosby to mind: "How large is physical reality?"

Help me, Jesus!

That's like the guy who got a Ph.D. in New Testament for a dissertation on kai.

Yeah, I know lots of "others" aka non-Christians have cashed in over the years; but this guy ain't even in the spiritual ballpark.

And I can't afford Band-Aids for my cage or an operation for my pony or...


Dark thoughts.


Of course, this doesn't come as a complete surprise to me.

Sir John Templeton made lots of $ for my seminary and its trustees and favorite sons over the years so they could exemplify the simple servanthood of Jesus for their flocks; and if I hadn't sucked up...

There's still some green in my brown eyes.

Quickly, before he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1987 for lots of really benevolent stuff, he was a poor American coming from a small town in Tennessee before discovering his really green thumb for making $ before making buckets of bucks for the PCUSA's pension fund (Excellent!) and the seminary and its imperial priesthood as a trustee for over four decades before renouncing his American citizenship in favor of dual citizenship (Bahamas and UK) to avoid US taxes before...

The chronology may be a bit off.

Truly, he was a benevolent man; including the imperial clergy who somehow have missed what Jesus said about...

Everybody makes mistakes.

For example, articulating years before what has become of his beloved seminary/denomination, he said this about spiritual progress: "But why shouldn't I try to learn more? Why shouldn't I go to Hindu services? Why shouldn't I go to Muslim services? If you are not egotistical, you will welcome the opportunity to learn more."

His motto: "How little we know, how eager to learn."

Sir John flirted with many religions and was especially enamored by the Unity School of Christianity: "I believe all religions are becoming obsolete, clinging to ancient concepts...The idea that an individual can find God is terribly self-centered...The question is not is there a God, but is there anything else except God? God is everyone and each of us is a little bit..."


Now I understand a little bit more about what has happened to...

As I learned years ago, you gotta be careful about who's paying for lunch.


Some people are limited in their understanding of prostitution.

They think it's just about selling your body for a price.

Biblically, it also includes selling your soul for a price.

Imperial clergy come to mind; and there are times when it's so tempting to sell out Jesus for...


Let me put it another way.

My first real pastoral mentor apart from my home pastor was John near the Delaware Water Gap in New Jersey back in the early 70s.

A very rich man in his church would often quote the Ten Commandments then boast, "And you know, pastor, I have never broken one of them."

Finally, probably after a bad day when too exhausted to endure such BS, John asked, "Jesus said to give what you don't need to the poor. You are a rich man. What do you think of that?"

The man said, "Jesus could not have meant that."

I think that's how today's imperial clergy are going through their lives and ministries.

Matthew 23 comes to mind.



Blessings and Love!

1 comment:

Coleen said...

Giving Astrophysicist Martin Rees the Templeton Prize makes about as much sense as giving Barak Obama the Nobel Peace Prize….