Thursday, January 26, 2012
My Birthday Confession
Counting time in the womb which I do because God does, I turned 60 about two months ago.
While you won't find that listed in Parade or even The Boone County Journal, Boone County Shopper, or Belvidere Daily Republican, it's kinda significant to me; 'cause I never thought I'd, uh, you know, ever be, uh, this old.
I mean I still listen to Jimi Hendrix.
When Paul and I got together to bury our friend Paul in Kansas City back in 1994, we looked at each other and asked simultaneously after comparing notes before the service, "Who's gonna speak at the next funeral?"
Now more than then, I know the time left ain't as much as what's been spent.
Now that my wife's been hired/called as CE/youth person - she's lots younger despite people who believe in reincarnation thinking I'm Peter Pan - I figure folks will stop wondering if I'm staying at First until I'm assassinated, die, or retire.
Parenthetically, I'll never retire.
I'm not the, uh, retiring kinda guy.
People who've left the church during my tenure have already figured that out. That's why they left. They realized they couldn't outlast me 'cause my call is stronger than their, uh, uh, uh, whatever. Again, unless someone pulls the trigger or Grandpa Jacob's cancer is in my system, I'm counting on more than a decade or two to keep scratching on the surface of my relationship with Him/His.
Really, I feel so fresh and new and, uh, born anothen.
I'm learning more and more and more every day; again, just scratching the surface of an expanded exciting adventure with Him/His.
I love Jesus more and more and more every day and thank Him for the privilege to share Him with others and join, uh, forces with everyone/anyone who gets it/Him.
Certainly, He's in charge; and like Jerry described fidelity for me so many years ago before I only got it/Him recently, "I'll go wherever He wants me to go, say whatever He wants me to say, and do whatever He wants me to do; depending upon His grace."
More than less.
Trying more than less.
I don't have an updated resume/dossier/PIF on file with www.pcusa.org or anybody else; but media stuff related to I Just Wanna Ride (FTW) has forced me to update my vita which is symbolic/representative of my, uh, evolving relationship with Him/His:
The Rev. Dr. Robert R. Kopp
There are many other names given to me by antagonists!
While you can read what I really think about this on page 161 of I Just Wanna Ride (FTW) or go to the egotistical version on pages 234-235 of my non-best-selling Fifteen Secrets, here's a real
brief summary for the curious, suspicious, distrusting, and cynical...like me:
Born on March 2, 1952 in Washington, D.C.
Non-distinguished graduate of Wyoming Valley West High School (1970), maxima cum laude (Wow!) graduate of King's College (1974), M.Div from Princeton Theological Seminary (1977), and D.Min. from Drew University (1982).
Lots of studies in Germany, Rome, Geneva, and Israel.
Is this getting impressive or what?
Stints as Professor of Homiletics at Nazarene Seminary and Carolina Divinity School.
Pastor of churches since May 8, 1977 (ordination) ranging in size from just over 100 to a shade under 3000.
Those last two paragraphs are really important to clergy who are into size and status regardless of what Jesus or Paul said or people figure out sooner than later.
Five non-bestsellers before I Just Wanna Ride (FTW) which, uh, I think is more important than anything so far that's come, I think, from Him into my noodle.
Lots of other stuff to impress those impressionable posing clergy; but I'm most proud in a Christian kinda way of being a police chaplain for Belvidere and Boone County (Illinois) and just completing five years as P of a big junior tackle football league.
Of course, my day job is undershepherd of Belvidere's First Presbyterian Church.
Seriously, it's about who you are more than what you do or have done.
I'm still working on the first part of that last sentence; meaning I'm just scratching the surface of...
I have a really, really, really big family; and if I have to explain that to you...
First Presbyterian Church
221 N. Main Street
Sorry, don't text, twitter, or Facebook; and once I get your e-mail address, you'll...
Back in October when I was with my covenant brothers in Montana and blessed to spend so much time with Eugene, I got caught up in his/His disdain for religion about Jesus more than relationship with Him and his/His disgust with clergy who are often more religious about Him/His than relational with Him/His.
Maybe that's why my vita has...
Anyway, I was overwhelmed by an inspiration/indigestion.
Does anyone really think Jesus would wear the funny kinda stuff (vestimentum) that clergy often wear?
Does anyone really think Jesus would lead worship with one of our bulletins in hand or liturgies in mind?
Yeah, I can just see Him now in Genevan robe with collar and tabs and...
And, surely, He'd get out our directories, rubrics, ceremonies, rites, a good bulletin cover service, and...
This section has been a metaphor for...
Speaking of my latest book, one of our elders who gets it/Him sent one of his recent prayers to me: "Dear Father God, may Bob's book be a major tool for people to be pointed to Jesus. Open up all avenues for it to become a best-seller and be a blessing to multitudes for Christ's sake. Amen."
Of course, my mom hates it.
That's because it's so direct/candid that she keeps asking, "What do people in the church think about it?"
She's asked me that almost as much as she's bantered and moaned about me not wearing a helmet to give hope to people who hate me in a Christian kinda way.
Essentially, she doesn't like some of the language and personal confessions; and despite countless explanations of the genre/art of reporting, quoting, and incorporating reality into, uh, reality redemptively and that I don't use the language personally because I try to be more creative in a Vonnegutian, Buechneristic, and Daliesque kinda way, she still hates it.
I didn't write it for her; and I didn't write it for "religious" people who care more about, uh, posing stuff than an authentic relationship with Him/His that would disrupt their, uh, "religion" scarcely/occasionally/coincidentally related to Him.
I wrote it to distinguish posers from authentics and encourage everyone/anyone to experience the real Jesus who loves so lavishly, graciously, and unconditionally.
I wrote it for people who have not been reached by the conventional/religious/Jezebeled/posing/pathetic/polluted/nauseating-to-Jesus church that's scarcely/occasionally/coincidentally related to Him.
Or something like that.
Actually, as Bill so masterfully explains in one of the better reviews archived by www.bnnsradio.com, the book has more to it than its author can grasp.
A recent review from a Presbyterian "bishop" (aka Executive/General Presbyter) in Kentucky comes to mind: "Just finished I Just Wanna Ride (FTW)...Several observations...I wish it didn't, at least to some degree, condemn me as a poser...poop...I realized I don't like to read/hear/consider the word ___ no matter what it might cause me to consider...poop...I'm not sure whether the biker's journey is a metaphor for the Christian's or vice versa...I'm going to buy a copy for my daughter-in-law (Presbyterian minister/Army chaplain/HD owner) and son (clergy kid and Kawasaki owner)...I'll probably buy a copy for my other son (Jeep fancier) and daughter-in-law...Will ask my wife to struggle through the book - ___ or no ___...I'm not sure whether I should say 'good work' or not...poop."
That's why I wrote it.
After six decades, I'm still trying to...
God knows I have regrets.
I haven't always been a good-or-even-mediocre-more-often-awful son, brother, husband, dad, friend, pastor, presbyter, or...
I'm still trying/failing/trying/failing/trying/failing/trying...
And while it always helps to remember that cycle is exactly why Jesus came/remains/reigns - to bridge the gaps - I have regrets.
It's more than the conditioned Calvinist in me.
It's a Romans 8:thing.
For anyone who gets it/Him - and I'm just scratching the surface of it/Him - it's/He's all about redemption.
Restoration of relationships with Him and His.
My regrets are overshadowed by no doubts about His redemptive purposes for me/you/us.
That's why I still...
Though I've poured my heart into it to encourage people to get in touch with the real not religiously created Jesus who's so lavishly, graciously, and unconditionally loving, some won't like/get I Just Wanna Ride (FTW).
Though I don't pretend/expect to have it/Him all together in my life or ministry and need to confess and repent and depend upon His mercy as much as anybody else despite being paid to be holy, some, even those closest to me, will pretend/expect...
Though I've been around a while now, I know I'm just scratching...
And, I guess, that causes some around me along with me to itch...
Simply, I'm not satisfied with what I've done or what I'm doing.
I'm at peace about it because I know He knows I'm...
But I want more!
I want to be more faithful to Him/His.
I want to love Him/His to...
Why this birthday confession?
While I don't know everything - again, just scratching the surface - I have learned we never arrive until we, uh, arrive if you know what I mean.
And it's O.K.
That's a big part of His message in Jesus.
Nobody gets it/Him completely right...now.
He saves us from that delusion/damnation.
Part of my call is to admit it for myself to free others to...
Well, that's whatever you judge it/me to be.
It's a lot/nothing to think/pray about.
More or less, it's my birthday confession.
BTW, I'm heading out for a few days after Sunday's service for book stuff; so no new KDs for a few days.
What a ride!
Looking forward to the next...
Blessings and Love!