Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm Hurting

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



I'm hurting.

A couple left the church because we added "contemporary" music to her-not-really-their-because-she-really-calls-the-shots service.


Have you noticed who is really wearing the pants in most American households?

"Her" service?

Help me, Jesus!

I'm hurting because I've been "there" for them through every crisis, hospitalization, emotional/intellectual/spiritual burp, and...

It brought others to mind who always seem to find/invent an excuse/lie to break fellowship.

How "Christian" is that?

Yeah, God enfleshed in Jesus, suffered miserably on the cross, rose, and reigns to encourage the dividing up of His, uh, body.



While I may be wrong on this, I'm starting to think people who separate themselves from other Christians - emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, or institutionally - just may be guilty of blasphemy against the...


Does anyone out there really think Jesus is into all of this jingoistic, denominational, sectarian, segregated, condescending, arrogant, holier-than-thou, my-way-or-the-highway, uh, uh, uh, looking for an appropriate word, uh, uh, uh,...crap?

I've seen it all since making the mistake of being obedient to my Beruf so long ago: people on pastor search committees leaving because they were looking for a best friend or even lover or someone to carry "their" agenda at minimum, saying they're not being "fed" and then slithering off to a Christian-liter because they didn't really want meat but rather pabulum to suckle their bigotries that rarely and usually only coincidentally match up with His, protesting efforts to make Jesus the only focus and filter of life and ministry because they don't want to be "that" Christian and forfeit relationships with those not as "into" Him, and auto-suggesting spiritualistic rationalizations to exit.

I'm hurting because no matter what I've done for 'em or would do for 'em if asked, it's what I didn't do for 'em or can't do for 'em that...

Lloyd was right.

Not long before leaving Hollywood for the US Senate, he counseled/cautioned me, "If you want people to bleed, you must hemorrhage."



Don't get me wrong.

I'm feeling quite well in the family of faith entrusted to me as undershepherd.

Please don't let the word out, but I know I'm appreciated for, uh, trying to be a faithful undershepherd.

While there's always 1, the 99 are moving ahead in, through, and for Him with His avec moi quite nicely.

I'm more excited than ever before to do all of the stuff that's part of my Beruf.

Unless I'm assassinated or knocked off by somebody distracted by a cellular or make-up behind the wheel of some cage, retirement ain't on the radar; and God knows because He made me that I'd never make it in one of those retirement states of...

Uh, I'm not the, uh, retiring kinda guy.

Yeah, Chuck and Brian and Jeff/Jeff and Ken, I need to be more obedient to sabbat; but it's hard when you're a lover and workaholic all wrapped up into...

I'd not only die for the family of faith entrusted to me as obedience to Jesus, I would do it willingly more than by any sense of compulsion.

In short, I'm psyched about/for Jesus; knowing Him as Lord and Savior and praying/trying to make Him known as Lord and Savior.

And yet when something happens like what's recounted in the second sentence of this KD, I can get a little...

I'm only human; just like everybody but Jesus and just like everybody who never ever doesn't need Him as personal Lord and Savior.



Sure, I can't understand why that really rich dudette/dude won't help to...

She/he never even asked if...

Yeah, it's hard being a lover in a world of...

God knows I'm frustrated by what I see in myself as well as peers when reading Hosea 4; especially verses 4-10 which could serve as a short etiological essay on the decline/demise of the mainline.

Certainly, I...

Then I read Hebrews 12.

Then I look at the cross.

Then I hear Him hurting: "How often I would have gathered you together as a hen gathers her chicks; but you were/remain unwilling."

Then I feel so ashamed because I haven't loved as He loved even those who hurt Him most badly: "Father, forgive them. They're ignorant."

And I remember what my late and first mentor Pastor Harold Mante said not long after I was first installed as a pastor: "Nobody's that strange. Some people just need a little more understanding than others."

I guess that's why He died.

He decided to hemorrhage for people who were hurting Him and His.

He decided to die to Himself for the salvation of everyone else; and when my hurts even remotely approach His, then, maybe, I'll get it/Him for once and for all: "If anyone really wants to be Mine, that person must deny self, take up the cross, and follow..."

About 25 years before going home to Jesus, Ted put it this way when I complained to him like I did earlier in this KD, "Compared to Jesus, that's not so bad."


And when I/we know/assimilate that truth into the deepest recesses of my/our...



Blessings and Love!


Janet said...

Pastor Kopp,

This last week I have been reading Bonhoeffer...The Cost of Discipleship. Got hung up on the passages about the rich young ruler...Bonhoeffer does get very detailed and you kind of have to wade your way through and then step back a little before tackling it again. And so I went to John Bevere's book, Honor's Reward, and he takes Bonhoeffer to a different level...but the crux of it all is that Jesus had a lot to say to the church in Laodicea about being lukewarm...that He would rather that we were either hot or cold..and that salvation is just the beginning of our walk...there is a cost to follow Him. We do hurt...for the things others do and say, but more so we hurt for them because they just do not "see" and "hear" what He is saying. Jesus not only suffered for us on the cross, but He was so terribly rejected and despised as well. So, for those believers truly wanting to take up the cross and follow Him, they will have the same. The lukewarm can't understand that cost...and that suffering for Him is to be our joy. They profess belief, like Laodicea (or the Israelites in the wilderness) but still want to keep the world/Egypt. My prayer is that I will be found worthy to enter that promised land of His presence and to rule and reign with Him. I do not want to be one of the ones that stand before Him saying "But I did all these things in your Name" and He says, "Depart from me; I knew you not." In the parable of the 10 Virgins, only 5 bought enough oil to keep their lamps burning...and when Jesus came those 5 entered in with Him - the gate was shut to the others because they were not ready. Both Bonhoeffer and Bevere show the really tough stuff, and the "church" has often given us a "feel good" gospel (as Bonhoeffer says, a cheap grace) and left out the sin and repentance...and the price. The Bride is to be adorned and prepared for the Bridegroom. That preparation is a very costly grace, but it will be worth it all when we see Him face to face.

In Christ,


Bruce said...

Dear Bob,
I am so glad that you got me onto Nouwen; he speaks to this!

Karen said...

Sorry to hear about the members who departed. Sorry it hurts. I have little wisdom to offer other than's probably more about them than it is about you.......and no good deed goes unpunished.
Peace of God,

Julie said...

What the couple did was walk away into the World...and I think, in my opinion only, of course, that they shall miss you and your comfort in His Name more than you shall miss them for in you they Had God's William Wallace. Your Tennessee Sister, Julie

Dan said...

A couple left the church because we added "contemporary" music to her-not-really-their-because-she-really-calls-the-shots service.
About praise/worship . . . Most congregations are completely ignorant about what and why we sing. When you say "we added", I cringe.

Preparing the way for a stylistic new direction is very important in churches. Pulpit time is required to shift the congregation gently into a more eclectic praise so they can understand and embrace the glory of God's music throughout the ages. People get their comfort zones. They settle into their ignorance. Thus, suddenly adopting an eclectic praise format, as important as it is, can be alarming. Lots of really lousy contemporary praise music is out there and pastors often have tin ears. This outrages traditionalists who think a hymn has to be 150 years old or its not worth singing.

But, the alternative is a bifurcated service of "young and old" ears. The rubric is "classic and contemporary services" so the congregation can be split on the basis of music, not message. Why not split the congregation on the basis of age, "at our church, we offer both geezer and youthful services."

As a serious singer of classical music, I take my praise music with an educated mind and voice. Frankly, there are some wonderful contemporary songs (see Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir). There are ancient patristic period lyrics that have been set to more modern melodies (see the Our Father/Lord's Prayer). One of the most enduring modern Christmas songs was written by a Christian comedian on the back of an envelope ("Mary Did You Know").

The choice of "happy clap" or "7/11 music" (seven words sung 11 times) is a loser. For a church which has sung only hymns, introducing rich contemporary melodies and Scriptural lyrics is essential. I can send you a couple of new song books used in "uptight" Presby churches if you want.

Crystal said...

Dr. K.
Isn't that just like God to remind us we're not the first, certainly not the best at loving the unlovable, by showing us "Calvary" again. Thank you for being real.

Brian Phillips said...

I hear ya, we are called to make disciples in the midst of a self centered consumer driven culture that has a primary language of shallow.

We call them to deep and it is hard for them to not give into the impulse of shallow and then looking for another place that might just let them get away with their B.S.

I still call you to Sabbath, love or not a lover, it will heal your workaholic drive. It would be a declaration or cherry on top of the under tone you keep of being free. Sabbath is a display of freedom and rest in Christ. And a good day for a stog!

Love ya man,

Ella Jane said...


I've been in Louisiana and haven't had a chance to respond but this is right on! I just experienced the same thing...someone I had invested a lot of time, expense, and prayer in just walked away from us last week. We continue to love and pray for them, but also must have the wisdom to turn them over to the Lord...and we keep doing what He calls us to do...Keep going on, keep loving them, and don't come down from your wall!
Love you

Ella Jane