Thursday, June 9, 2011

What Joplin Means to...

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



When we got back from Joplin, Harlan asked if it was a life-changing experience.

"Yes," I said, "for many...and for me, it was the renewing of an old call and compelling to a new one."

Hence, this KD.


As you can see in the preceding original video by Kathie with footage help from Don, Jeff, and Tim, it was/remains a disaster of Biblical proportions.

What you see is a glimpse of one mile wide and six miles long jaw-dropping/tear-drenching/overwhelming/numbing/gut-wrenching/drop-to-your-knees-begging...

Really, I cannot begin to describe the human suffering concomitant to destruction often likened to the dropping of a nuclear bomb.

Pictures of the aftermath of Truman's decision on how to end WWII immediately came to mind moments after arriving on the scene.

Despite Kathie's best efforts along with all of those pictures and reports in the media, there is no way to capture the whole picture in framed, uh, pictures, videos, commentary, and...

But I try because people ask; and an old call has been renewed while a new one is compelling.

Anyway, I liken what I saw to a one mile wide old and rusty razor that scrapped for six miles to carve a swath of suffering in the heart of Joplin.


The old call has been renewing within moi for quite a while; as I've been leaving the imperial priesthood to follow Jesus again.

Metaphorically, I think of it as shedding outrageously expensive vestments like winged-tips, button-downed Brooks Brothers shirts, Cokesbury cuties, and fancy stoles that redirect money from the poor to clergy who should know better to jeans, Ts, and steel-tipped...

Seriously, what kind of attire do you think Jesus would wear if He showed up for Sunday services?

If you read the Clergy Meology series in April or the edition on "Getting Dirty for Jesus" (just click on the archives in the right column if you've forgotten 'em or blew 'em off when first offered), I've talked a lot about returning to my Beruf.

Simply, I got into this gig to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, make Him known as Lord and Savior, and try to love Him by loving like Him because He is Lord and Savior.

Or something like that.

The problem has been getting caught up in that imperial priesthood hypocrisy/posing of, uh, not practicing what we...

Actually, the old call started coming back to me through my youngest Matthew about two years ago.

I was faced with an opportunity to get somebody else to sacrifice and serve so I wouldn't have to do it.

There were no takers.

When I was ___ing and ___ing about it, Matthew said, "Dad, you're always talking about not waiting for others to do what Jesus expects you to do. So why don't you do it and be a model of Someone better?"

Uh, out of the mouths of...


That's how we got to Joplin.

While it's hard for a guy with a Calvinist bent to admit, I've been humbled by the generosity of our family of faith at First in Belvidere mirrored by seven other churches that have partnered with Pastor Cliff Mansley of Joplin's New Creation Church to provide relief; emphasizing PM/NC were already providing relief to the neediest of the needy in Joplin before things got indescribably worse.

If you'd like to know more about the first delivery, you can click on this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. for a live broadcast of our worship service that will include a report from our partnership's first trip to Joplin; or if you're doing your own liturgical thing on Sunday, just click on when moved to do it and click on the archives for the service. You can also click on the radio version of KD via and check out the archived 6/7 show with some commentary by yours truly not many hours after returning from Joplin.

Annnnnnnd if you'd like to get involved with our partnership through PM/NC, you can send $; making out your check to First Presbyterian Church, Belvidere with "New Creation Joplin Relief" in the memo/note for designation, recording, and receipting. There are no administrative or handling costs and every penny that you send will get to PM/NC to help the neediest of the needy in Joplin.

Annnnnnnd if you want to go to Joplin to help rebuild hearts and homes, our pastor Jeremy is right now coordinating mission relief trips to Joplin to get dirty for Jesus! The first trip will be on June 26 - July 2; and, of course, he will be working closely in planning with PM/NC to determine the particulars. If you're interested in going or know someone who is or want to be a sponsor or know someone who wants to be a sponsor, contact me via this site,, or call 815-544-6402 and you'll be connected to PM/NC and Jeremy even quicker than Republicans are dropping out of the race for...

If you can't decide if you wanna, should, or can, read Matthew 25.


The renewing of an old call birthed/compelled a new one.

A little background.

First, go back to Matthew's charge.

Second, while I ain't no Harold Camping and have no aspirations in that, uh, direction (go to archived edition on that one), God knows even the slightly Biblically literate know we're indisputably moving closer and closer and closer to the eschaton.

Yes, there have always been earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, and other "natural" disasters; but the Bible's witness includes the forecasting of more and more and more of 'em with increasing frequency and intensity akin to the increasingly frequent and more intense birthpangs before, uh, birth.

Whether that's a year from now or a hundred years from now, only the unconscious or doped deny the increasing frequency and intensity of...

With that in mind coupled with Matthew's witness and the renewal of an old call compelling a new one, I've decided to, gulp, geez, sigh, uh, whoa, form a First Response Team in our family of faith to provide immediate 24-48 hour relief (water, food, first-aid, toiletries, muscle, prayer) to anyone suffering this kinda stuff.

There are other aspects of such a call that are very raw - PM/NC explained them to me - and you'll have to ask me in private to articulate 'em for ya. Let's just say it's a very, very, very dirty job; and now would be a good time to click on the archived editions about...

I'm going to start stocking the stuff in the new magnormous closet being built in my study to replace the bookshelves that were just for show anyway, get some real vestments and tools for ministry if you know what I mean, and trust God to exchange my brown beater for a...

If you're in our neighborhood, just let me know if you want to be a part of our First Response Team; and if you're not, God will tell you right now if you ask how you can...

Of course, if you dare to ask how, be prepared for a direct response requiring...


If you listen in on Sunday to our first delivery team's report, you'll discover the small stuff just ain't that, uh, big anymore for folks who...

BTW, for anal ecclesiastical sorts in our reading audience, yeah, I checked with some elders and members and staff on this; and they're all for it in a no-brainer kinda way. Yeah, they're enough votes. So I'm not holding a special meeting to get approval. Geez. Besides, if I had to get approval for something like this, I wouldn't wanna be... It's important for all of us to remember there is a higher authority than you, me, or them on all issues of faith and morality.



In short, I refuse to wait anymore to do what God wants done now.

I'm not gonna ask anyone else to do what God wants me to do.

I'm gonna welcome and include anyone who wants to be a part of His salvation army.


That rings a bell.

Moretheless, while returning from Joplin, several personal/corporate questions kept me awake/alert while driving Kaye and Carl's truck:

I know that's what you think, but what does Jesus think?

I know that's what you wanna do, but what does Jesus want you do to?

I know that's not what you wanna do, but what does Jesus expect?

I know you like..., but what does Jesus like?

I know you don't like..., but what does Jesus like?

I know you..., but what about Jesus?

Catch the drift?

Now, a confession.

I'm a really lousy person, parent, partner, pastor, and presbyter; and anything else that begins with the letter...

I've got plenty of help from the past/present/future on realizing this fact of my life and ministry; especially former members who wanted a personal hero or lover to champion their agenda not to mention my 10th grade Latin teacher who...

Annnnnnnd my mirror doesn't lie and I stopped smoking weed after my freshman year in college until Bruce succeeded in tempting me before a Greek exam in my first year at...

I'm only scratching the surface of who I can be through Him as a...

Yet I've gotta admit the dirtier I get for Jesus, the cleaner I feel on the inside.

Hey, anybody want the last few stoles in my closet?

Please come and take...everything you want/covet!

I need more room for Matthew 25 kinda stuff!

I'm called/compelled.

I can't do anything else anymore.


That rings a bell too.

Actually, it's more of an alarm/heralding.



Blessings and Love!


Brett said...

Well after spending several minutes looking at the pics of joplin it kind of puts it into reality of the forces of a storm like that it almost reminded me of pics of a war zone that was bombed. The way the trees were merely just stumps with a few bare branch's and nothing but debris as far as you can see. How do you pick up and start over after that everything in your life gone. Gone before you could say good by to your life's doings. Every thing that you have know as your normal life gone not just your computer crashed and you lost everything not just you got robbed and your valuables are gone but everything. Everything that was yours gone no do overs no negotiating no but not that even some of your loved ones gone. I couldn't imagine leaving my house and coming back and my whole neighborhood being gone. But this is the reality that these people face. How do they get up in the morning? Knowing that they have nothing sure we brought them the things they need to survive but their still is a lot more to life than that. No couch to nap on no living room for your couch if you did still have one. No dishes to do no laundry I'm sure they all had these things as we all do but its gone all gone. As in gone with the wind gone never coming back. These people must only fear god nothing else because they have lived a life that no one wants to live ever they have survived the wrath of god and mother nature and how they all made it thru i don't know but they did.When i saw the pics i wanted to cry i couldn't imagine loosing one of my loved ones to a storm like that and i have heard some of the stories its never good.At first i wanted to go and see it for my self but after seeing it here i don't think so.what do you say to someone who has lost everything how do you look them in the eyes and tell them its going to be ok? how do you tell some one its only stuff that they lost and it can all be replaced there are things in my life that cant be replaced but that isn't a option.Their was no decision to what to loose even if it was put away for safe keeping its gone. The one place that everyone in this world could call a safe place is gone to these people never to come back as they know it. Well bob that's all i have for now thank to you and all the others that went to joplin to bring stuff.

Bob S. said...

Love to do the trip to Joplin, but I've already been away from my wife one week this year [and she doesn't like me being away---plus, last time I went, the Lord/Mother Nature dropped a ton of snow on our place that she had to shovel/plow!].
But I assume Joplin won't recover in a few months, so she and I could go together next year sometime [2012].
Keep dumping all that ecclesiastical junk!

By the way, I preached a message at York County prison tonight that you might be able to use:

Theme: Grace, Forgiveness & 2nd Chances
Stories: Me getting "banned" [for life?] from local York library and Baltimore Presbytery jobs [though I said it was 2 friends, not me]
Biblical characters who didn't get a 2nd chance [all because they hadn't given up the past--Lot's wife--or because God needed to establish holy fear in his people in the beginning of a new era in the life of Israel]: Achan & first conquered city; Uzzah & God's new kingdom in Jerusalem; Ananias & Sap. as God began the Holy Spirit powered kingdom of the Church [[[my, how far we've fallen!]]]
Biblical characters who DID get a 2nd chance:
Abraham to produce the chosen heir
David to produce the beloved son of the golden years
Manasseh & Hezekiah [15 years of extra life produced a horrible king for 50 years who later repented]
Jonah trying to run away from God
Peter denying Jesus 3 times
Thief on cross, now in Paradise
Apostle Paul, from "screwing" Christians to begetting them


Julie said...

I made a point to listen to the post Joplin program on KD.
I envy your "moving" whether the church moves or not- your duffle bag ready to go in a moments notice, your faith taking you in new directions.
I applaud the knowing whats important in these times and whats useless and not worth anyone's time.
I applaud Matthew 25- every word, every example...and verily I say...Follow the Light!!
Your Sister in Christ, Julie

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Praise the Lord!