Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Traveling's RIP

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



My wife succeeded in getting me to trim my half-beard-goatee-whatever.

I decided it was easier to do that than, uh, well, gulp, sigh, uh, you know what I mean.

It struck me as an odd request/demand; considering it's about the only place that hair grows on me anymore apart from in my nose and around as well as in my ears.

Yeah, I can grow some on the sides of my head in a lame attempt at a monk cut; but as my sister says, "You'll either have to succumb to corrective combing or just shave it off because you look as ridiculous as those old hippies who grow it long on the sides so they can make a ponytail in the back."


I never knew people cared so much about how other people...

Actually, that's not true.

Remember Pearl?

She's the one who asked me to shave off my beard almost thirty years ago because it reminded her of the bad relationship that she had with her son; and after I shaved it off with the expectation of earning her affirmation and affection, she greeted me with that sweet, sick, and syrupy transferring smile, "Now about your moustache..."

I won't begin to repeat the stories of former students and continuing colleagues who've told me about pewsitters/pulpiteers as well as "relatives" who think they're entitled to control the kinda vehicles that we drive, what and where we eat, where we live and send our kids to school, and just about everything including the bewildering disdain for them that's in the privacy of our minds.

It's like the little boy growled during discipline, "You can make me sit down and shut up; but you can't control what I'm thinking about you right now!"


I'm closing in on the completion of six decades in time.

I don't think I've ever told anybody anything anytime anywhere anyhow related to the kinda stuff identified in the next to last sentence-paragraph of the preceding section; even when trying to endure/overcome the toxic fumes of cologne/perfume that would knock over a bull at fifty paces.

Sure, I've had fun in the privacy of my mind; like when I'm at the beach and see old saggy guys in Speedos or women wearing swimwear that, uh, well, gulp, sigh, uh, you know what I mean.

But it hasn't ever dawned on me to try to control their, uh, whatever.

I'm not saying I'm better than anybody else; 'cause as anybody who's ever read these pages knows, I've been really humiliated by five books that have never threatened sales of the profound prose of the Hawaiian-shirted guy on the left coast or toothy guy in Texas or even Howard Stern's favorite hooker.

The church that I pray/try to love like Jesus loves me doesn't invite people to worship that much because, uh, well, gulp, sigh, uh, you know what I mean.

Really, I know my, uh, place.

Yet, in one of the very, very, very few things that I'm not as lousy a person, partner, parent, pastor, presbyter, professor, police chaplain, and just about anything else beginning with the letter p as lingerers, formers, foes, or exposed express, I'm not thaaaaaaat bad.

It hasn't ever dawned on me to try to control others.

That's for Nazis and other Satanistic sorts.

I just try to point people to Jesus as He expressed Himself in Holy Scripture, let 'em decide on Him which is their choice no matter what hyper-Calvinists say, and don't stick my nose into their business like a dog lunching on her/his own vomit.

People, to me, are God-made-liberated snowflakes - each quite different and beautiful in her/his own way.


I'm not thinking about any of that because I'm headed out on my chrome pony in a few days to see my parents and sister in Pennsylvania for even fewer days; and anticipating the typical disdain for bikers and inevitably inane queries about why I don't wear a helmet except in states that abort babies but insist I wear one because they think it will make me look better in the casket.


It's all about control.


'Cause if people really cared that much about me or any other biker, I wouldn't have to...

Besides, just think of the hope extended to my enemies when I don't wear one.

Actually, that's not what I'm talking about.

It's about traveling.

It's about being free to be who God made us to be; and when God is the author, our freedoms don't inhibit the freedoms of others and we live quite nicely concomitant to Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12.

My Jamaican missionary friends say the islanders refer to our trip from alpha to omega as traveling.

I believe we travel well as long as we don't become detours to the traveling of others; or become detoured by the control needs of, uh, Nazis and Satanistic sorts.

And, of course, that can happen as long as we remember it's all about Jesus and His gift of freedom for all and not...

So, God willing, I'll have more to say about the ride when I get back next week.



Blessings and Love!


Ken said...

Preached Sunday in place of our Senior Pastor who is on vacation.
Did the same two weeks ago.
On June 26th I wore a blue short sleeve shirt with the Hope Logo and no tie. (I’m back editing before I hit send. Do I need to say I had pants on?) LOL
On July 10th I wore a tan sport coat, shirt, tie, and matching coordinated pants.
After July 10th message a parishioner shakes my hand on his way out and says “I’m glad you wore a tie up there today.”
(Editing – adding my text was Micah 6:1-8 – and I guess he didn’t want to walk humbly with His God!!!)

Oh how I wish I could think fast on my feet. Would that I would have said, “So did you like my message two weeks ago?”

BTW, the senior pastor only wears shirts (editing again – he does wear pants) – no tie and hasn’t for two years – we are trying to make visitors feel comfortable about clothing while we discomfort them about behavior challenging them to walk according to the Word, not the world.

I chose to dial your prayer line (first time) and heard the story of the signs by the church. God sure has a sense of humor. You know if one or the other had been damaged, the posers on the side of the undamaged would say “See, God IS on OUR side, not yours.”

I guess it would never occur to them to ask if they are on God’s side.

Have a safe trip and enjoy the ride.
Friend Ken

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Well put, friend.