KDs are designed/developed/inspired/mused/auto-suggested/indigested to make folks think; an especially uncommon experience among Democrats, Republicans, and jingoistic mainline denominationalists who continue to discourage dissent with their ever-threatening thought police.
"Since God has so generously let us in on what He is
we're not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job
just because we run into occasional hard times.
We refuse to wear masks and play games.
We don't maneuver and manipulate
behind the scenes.
We don't twist God's Word to suit ourselves.
We keep everything we do and say
out in the open,
the whole truth on display,
so that those who want to
judge for themselves
in the presence of
2 Corinthians 4, The
I've been taught
to dump my garbage before someone digs it up.
Starting with God
in a 1 John 1:5ff. kinda way, I'm doing that more than less in these last...
more disarming to busybodies, gossipers, and other slanderers than to cough up
the truth about ourselves before others twist it into falsehood or
everybody knows or, uh, anybody who grew up around the 60s knows President
Clinton was lying about not inhaling weed. That's why few conscious
beings believed him when he said it didn't do nasty stuff with that intern
chick. That's why he never engendered much trust while in office.
If a person will lie about something as inconsequential as...
everybody's messed up in some way somehow sometime about something with or
Paul was clear on
that: "All have sinned and..."
Not you all.
Truly, truly, He
says to you/me, there are no secrets...sooner or later...and definitely in the
end if you know what He
ourselves from the pathology to hide when we're gonna be
discovered eventually anyway.
God can handle
the truth about us.
That's why He
came in Jesus - to save us from the damning consequences of the truth about us.
And if other
people can't handle it, then that's their more than existential problem in a
Matthew 6:14-15 kinda way.
Before Fifteen Secrets for Life and Ministry was
published about nine years ago after writing it about twelve years ago, the
title was Fifteen Theses for
Life and Ministry.
The publisher prompted
"Nobody will buy it if we say fifteen
So he changed it
Both of us were
Be that as it turned out to be, I
look back at those not so secret secrets that were intended to be theses
and realize I've changed some/lots in the past twelve years.
changed some/lots in the last twelve hours, uh, minutes, uh, seconds, uh...
change; but we better hope we do if we're going to get better instead of
So I've decided
to have some fun at my expense and hold some "Deeper Discipleship"
sessions over the summer - 15 if you can guess why - and admit where I've
changed and let folks grapple
in a Christian kinda way with whether those changes have been
I've never held
any classes related to the book for egotistical reasons - ponder on that for a
while - though several churches have and you can too if you'd like a box of 'em
at a highly discounted price for reasons noted in previous paragraphs (viz.,
postage and discretionary humorously insulting honorarium).
this confession/inspiration/indigestion was reading my latest book in
preparation for a NPR interview on 4/27 and discovering some typos and other
aggravating printing miscues along with some stuff that I'd do/write
things don't bother me.
The typos and
other printing miscues really don't bother me because I've grown up when it
comes to anal grammar/spelling stuff; believing content/substance is more
important than form/style no matter what religious people think.
bother me either; or as I wrote in the non-bestseller that we're gonna
dissect over the summer maybe along with your church/group: "When you
think you've arrived, it's time to start over" (Thesis/Secret 11 on pages
Speaking of my
latest book, Kathie will post the schedule for this summer's appearances and
signings below; including what happened on 4/28 which will be posted summarily
in the next edition on 5/1.
I'm heading off
to NE Pennsylvania after the second service on Sunday to see my dad who's been
ailing along with my mom and sister who I haven't seen for too long.
Of course, I'm
taking the pony!
eschatological kinda weather that we've been having in an apocalyptic kinda way
- just snowed big time over there - people have already asked, some with
sick smiles if you know what
I mean and bikers do, "Are you still going to take your
Actually, my pony
will take me; but, again, if you don't ride, you have no idea what that
means. It's kinda like trying to figure out why dogs like to stick their
heads out of cage windows; which, uh, bikers do get.
lots of non-bikers, especially the ones who'd like to be bikers if they, uh,
uh, never mind, seem to get some kinda thrill when they see bikers riding in
the rain and cold and... There's even a commercial about it with some
wimpy excuse for a dude tsk-tsking a biker in a downpour. Maybe
you've seen it. Psst. What they don't know is authentics would
still rather ride than being caged regardless of the weather; and that's a
metaphor for life in general.
Getting back to
the point (?), authentics know it's going to rain sometime during just about
every ride. You're going to start in it or ride into it and yet always
ride through it sooner or later; or as LS sang in tribute to moms:
"Troubles will come and they will pass" (Simple Man).
falls on everybody."
When I'm asked
those kinda questions - see the third sentence-paragraph again - I wonder
what's happened to the adventurous spirit of America.
One look at who
and what's going on in D.C. and I think again, "Never mind."
So, yeah, I'm
gonna ride in the rain and through the rain...to see my dad, mom, sister, sign
some books in Plains, and stay free.
I don't expect people
who prefer cages to understand.
cages, it's become fashionable for pastor search committees to be told what
they can and can't ask candidates for their churches.
And that's why so many churches get
into so much trouble!
They fail to ask
stuff that's important to 'em because somebody told 'em that they can't ask
such questions and then they're surprised to find out that...
Aside from never
seeing rules about that except for ones auto-suggested by people who
think they..., I recommend pastor search committees recall - they've all got
bad experiences to recall - what happened when they didn't ask stuff that's
important to 'em and were surprised to find out that...
"Who's afraid of the big bad...?"
C'mon, if you're
gonna have to live and maybe even minister with 'em, you better ask 'em about
stuff like polity, sexuality, abortion, weed, patriotism, riding motorcycles in
the rain, or whether BBPBHO is really the...
If not, you'll be sooooooory when
you're surprised to find out that...
Bad weather can
be overcome, uh, if you prepare in advance.
You can always
take an alternate route and always take along appropriate...
Don't get me
Some churches are
pastors are just sick.
I've got a
Moretheless, it's the responsibility of
denominational oversight folks to make sure sick folks get healed before
they're allowed to date and certainly before they marry if you know what I mean related to all
I know at least
two churches in the local expression of my franchise that really,
really, really need some healing before they should ever entertain calling
And I'm gonna do my part to make sure
will always be made and every day ain't a hot fudge sundae for the best of, uh,
marriages of any kind; and if we're related to Jesus authentically, we can/must
work out most of 'em if we're not gonna be posers about loving Jesus by
loving like Him.
Go back to the
last two sentence-paragraphs of the previous section.
So, go ahead and
administer your litmus tests before signing on the dotted line.
You'll avoid lots
of bad weather and overcome most of the unavoidable storms, quakes, and...
It's your church
on His behalf; or, rather, His church with you being the stewards of...
So, as long as
you stay within the real rules of your franchise, ignore those control freaks
with their imposing ideologies on ya and let Him direct you to the right...
BTW, there is a
way to cut to the quick and really smoke 'em out.
Just ask her/him
Ask, "Who is
Jesus to you?"
Don't let 'em
quote Barth or Kung or Moltmann or BBPBHO.
Ask 'em for a
If she/he can't
talk about Him without stuttering, stammering, or asking to be excused for the
restroom, just thank 'em for their time and show 'em the door.
As a sage
once told me about any kinda marriage, it's better not to get married
in many instances if you
know what he/He means.
Simply, if she/he
gets Him right or wrong,
the odds are in your favor on figuring out where she/he stands on the other
if the search committee can't talk about Him, all bets are off.
attempt to get on a pony - rain or shine - if you haven't taken some
lessons from Him.
I don't check the
financial records/statements of the saints who gather for worship, work, and
witness in Belvidere, Illinois (FPC).
I don't even
sneak a peek at the pledge cards that we don't use anymore.
It's my, uh,
right and some pretend responsibility as a member of presbytery aka my
I know that runs
counter to what a lot of church management gurus pontificate.
I know financial
stewardship is among the best measures of a person's fidelity to God.
plastic balances don't lie.
You can tell a
lot about a person's spiritual health by how she/he spends $.
It goes back to
The Rev. Harold F. Mante (RIP).
my home pastor; and among the top ten of wisest mentors in my life.
He told me before
5/77 to keep my nosey nose out of the financial records/statements of church
the person, he said the smell can be intoxicating or nauseating.
warned me about the unavoidable prejudices that develop when an undershepherd knows what a
person gives in praise and thanks to God through His Church.
He always had
good advice; which, uh, really worked when I paid attention to him/it.
For example, he
said I should never learn how to use office equipment: "If you're not
careful," he warned, "you'll end up running off the bulletins
He also told me not
to accept keys to every lock in the church.
Think about it.
Uh, BTW, he
always said, "Think about it."
A lost art in...
Yeah, he was an
early inspiration for KD.
Moretheless, he told me to
be absolutely faithful to Jesus but never a mindless drone to anyone else
(e.g., denominations and other governments that often confuse auto-suggestion
with divine revelation).
necessary to check the financial records/statements of church members if you know what I mean.
necessary to check the financial records/statements of saints if you know what I mean.
good stewards by, uh, Spirit.
They don't waste
any time on natural debates about tithing; knowing He expects 'em to manage
everything entrusted to 'em in ways that will honor Him.
everything entrusted to us by Him - time, talent, thought, treasure - for His
Or as my pastor
often said, "Christianity without stewardship is about as authentic as
Christianity without faith, hope, love, or Jesus."
I never have
problems raising $ in the Church.
I don't have to
check up on saints who keep checkin' in with Jesus.
That's why I
don't talk too much about $ in an institutional kinda way.
I just keep
askin' Christians for $ to do, uh, Christian kinda stuff; and they always,
I spend most of
my time talking about Jesus and what it means to follow Him in a Biblical kinda
includes financial stewardship.
Yet I don't have
to keep pressin' it; because saints make the, uh, connection.
come regularly while walking Kopper.
He goes and then
happens many mornings in a Psalms kinda way (check out the texts via
Nelson's or Strong's).
Two or three days
ago, Kopper was doing his thing and I was trying to do His thing and I began to
confess my ingratitude after a few moments of singing, "Count your
blessings, name them one by one...Count your blessings, see what God has
prompted by an inspiration/indigestion to sing, I was bantering and moaning
with him and Him about not appearing on Leno or NPR or even Stewart or
Colbert to hawk my latest book, scrounging around for $ to see my ailing dad
not to mention upgrading the pony with more stuff to weather the, uh,
weather, selling my Cleveland TA1s and never being able to hit a ball with the
same confidence since, not having more $ to give away when someone shows up
with a hand out, wondering how I'm gonna afford the mission opportunities this
It/I was kinda
I can be that way
That's what my
Jesus was a beggar; but He begged for others.
If you don't know
what I mean, good for you and bad for me and...
Moretheless, in the midst
of the, uh, again, pathetic bantering and moaning, I started singing,
"Count your blessings, name them..."
I began to feel
so ashamed for being so selfish and ungrateful and...
I confessed it to
him and Him and he wasn't moved to do anything other than his thing while I
felt some increased communion with Him in a 1 John 1:5-10 kinda way.
Yeah, I mourned
the ingratitude; then quickly began praising Him for the excessive graces that
I had, uh, not acknowledged enough in adoring thanksgiving.
The walk ended
after about 30 minutes.
may/can/should be a closer walk with Him.
A story from
Theophane the Monk.
"I had just
one desire - to give myself completely to God. So I headed for the
monastery. An old monk asked me, 'What is it you want?'"
"I said, 'I
just want to give myself to God.'"
him to be gentle, fatherly, but he shouted
at me, 'NOW!'"
stunned. He shouted again, 'NOW!'"
reached for a club and came after me. I turned and ran. He kept
coming after me, brandishing his club and shouting, 'NOW! NOW!'"
years ago. He still follows me, wherever I go. Always that stick,
always that 'NOW!'"
I've decided I
can't wait any longer to be born again, uh, again.
I mean it's time
to be more like Jesus if I'm really, really, really serious about loving Jesus
by loving like Jesus.
So I've decided
not to mention needs/wants/desires/hurts/hopes/fears to anyone ever
again but Him; though he aka Kopper may still...
As Norby scolded
one morning over caffeine, "If that's what God wants for you, you're gonna
True in a Matthew
6:25-34; 7:7-12 juxtaposed to James 4:3 kinda way.
In the meantime,
I've scaled back in...
I've decided not
to wait any longer to be born again, uh, again.
the only place you get regenerated - don't wait until you die, because, there's
no place to regenerate after you're dead" (Tozer).
not think of yourself more highly than you ought."
recognizing our dependence upon F/S/HS for all things here and hereafter.
recognizing our interdependence within His family to keep the Church
apostle: "To each is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common
good...We each have different work to do. So we belong to each other; and
each needs all the others."
Simply, no one is
any more nor any less important than anyone else because everyone is
interdependent in dependence upon F/S/HS.
depends upon that kind of individual humility.
Fleshing it out
in our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois
begins with the undershepherd
not preening around in garments (vestimentum
in Latin which accentuates their inappropriate not to mention
distracting antiquity) that would make the suffering servant blush with...
It means the
organ is no more nor no less important than the drums, guitars, and...
It means our
Chancel Choir is no more nor no less important than our Praise Team.
It means our
youth groups are no more nor no less important than our geezer groups.
It means our
radio station is no more nor no less important than our First Response Team.
It means our
deacons are no more nor no less important than our elders.
It means our
custodian is no more nor no less important than, uh, gulp,...
Catch the drift?
Let's go deeper.
ordination - setting apart for sacred purposes - shouldn't be limited to...
priesthood of all believers for
That's why we
ordained brokers, bankers, secretaries, teachers, construction workers,
homemakers, musicians, factory workers, and just about anybody/everybody who
was ready to acknowledge and accept their call/Beruf/vocation/job/whatever-ya-wanna-call-it
as entrusted/enabled by F/S/HS to fulfill the apostolic exhortations of this
edition's first section on 4/15/12.
never intended to elevate any one over any other.
recognizes the distinctions of interdependence in dependence upon F/S/HS for
the health of the Church.
I think that's
why I've always declined to use those church lot parking spaces reserved
for clergy which, I guess, is how, uh, some clergy boast their, uh, humility.
Please don't get
I've done my
share of preening; but rather than rationalize it, it's time for me to confess
designed a bulletin cover for us that got it/Him. (Note from Kathie: Bob is being too kind, I did not design the picture but rather found a graphic and tweaked it a bit so it could be used as a bulletin cover.)
That came to mind
while reading a note from Jim Wilken (check out the link in the right column of
this site): "Had lunch with my buddy Rudy today who met this morning with
his buddy Kent whom Rudy gave a copy of I
Just Wanna Ride (FTW). Kent told Rudy he's always ready to go
for a run or go on a ride. But church? Well, he can take or leave
it. The quote was, 'Church sucks. What is there about biking that
can draw people out and bring them together that Christ doesn't have to bring
people together in the Church?' I did not have an immediate answer."
"As I was doing the closest thing to riding that I can do to feel the wind
in my face (mowing the lawn on my tractor), I thought, 'That was the wrong
question.' Here are questions we should ask. What is it about us
that will go for a run or a ride but not respond when Jesus says, 'Follow
Me!'? What have churches done to Christ that makes it easier to hang
with Him while running or riding?"
"I should have gotten off the tractor then; but the lawn wasn't
done. So I kept mowing as God and I kept talking. Not that you
asked, but here's the title to the sequel to I
Just Wanna Ride (FTW): I Just Wanna Ride with Jesus (LTW)."
"We don't get to say FTW with Jesus because we're supposed to be showing
His love to the world; hence LTW. And if we are going to love the world
and love the world as it needs to be loved as
opposed to how it may want to be loved, then we are gonna want to
ride with Jesus. As a matter of fact, we are going to want to do
everything that we do with Jesus."
"It's a fill in the blank sort of thing; as in, 'I just wanna ___ with
Jesus.' If we are His disciples, then we need to do it with Him; or we
don't need to do it. Wanna bake? Bake with Jesus! Wanna
sing? Sing with Jesus! Wanna feed folks who are hungry, shelter
people who are homeless, and protect people who are vulnerable? Do it
"In case you haven't figured it out, this sequel that you are going to
write has someone willing to collaborate with you. Not that there's
anything wrong with I Just
Wanna Ride (FTW), but Kent's questions suggest to me that you have
to press on."
"Anyway, that's what was going on while I was on the tractor."
knowing there's always room for improvement.
That's how our
interdependence in dependence upon F/S/HS evolves in a faithful kinda way.
When the splash
turns into cash and the publisher is ready for another risk, I'll be calling
The Giants win
the Super Bowl and everybody's talking about Tim Tebow going to the Jets.
It reminds me of
No matter who's
winning what, all we hear about is Tiger coming back, backsliding, coming back
again, sliding further back, coming back again and again and...
Getting back to
TT - you can read more about him in the archives of KD not to mention the gazillion
comments/commentaries/kudos/cynicisms at your fingertips by googling his name -
it's a win/win for everybody involved.
The Jets steal
The pressure is
off the Giants with everyone expecting even more of Ryan, et.al.
The Broncos bolt
to the top of Super Bowl prognostications with, arguably, the best
on-the-field-coach-quarterback in the history of the game.
Getting back to
the Gator who won't follow in the footsteps of Broadway Joe if you know what I mean, he
spoke to over 15K in Georgetown, Texas at an outdoor Easter Day worship service
1:16-17 to mind which often escapes the noodles of most mainliners these days, he
said it's important to be outspoken about faith, urged/admonished athletes to
be role models, and said he welcomed the attention of his witness for obvious
reasons if you know what
I couldn't help
thinking of a fundie classmate at seminary who urged/admonished me just before
I was ordained, "Talk about Jesus! That'll shock 'em!"
And I can't help
but lamenting that I needed to be told that or that TT is scolded by
posers in pulpits/pews for doing it so convincingly/compellingly/consistently/courageously.
Reminds me of
Moody responding to a critic: "I prefer the way I do it to the way
you don't do it."
Now that the
posers have gone back into hibernation until 12/24/12, I gotta confess our Holy
Week on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois was awesome.
Yes, awesome in the highest
spiritual sense of that word.
bean-counters are excited about our Maundy Thursday service being packed for
the first time in years, He showed up in a big, big, big, awesome, awesome,
awesome way; bringing to mind what you can hear by dialing 815-544-3535.
It was almost Pentecostal
in an Acts kinda way.
Then came our two
services on Easter Day.
Of course, the
posers didn't get it/Him because they were, you know, just doing their
little-dab'll-do-ya religious thing.
But for those who
showed up with faith or wanting faith or renewing their relationship with Jesus
or inviting Him into their hearts for the first time, it was awesome.
A funny moment in
a horrific way after more thought.
I preached at the
first service and we had an awesome
cantata in the second one that aligned hearts with Him in an awesome way.
After the second
service, I greeted an unfamiliar fellah who complained, "I came to hear
you because ___ told me to come and hear you; and now that you didn't speak, I
guess I'll never hear you."
"Friend," I said, "you wouldn't have heard me if I spoke; 'cause
if you didn't hear Him in the music of the moment..."
services, teaching appointments, and so on, people can hear me over 130 times a
When I told my
wife about it, she said, "You're right and wrong. He wouldn't have
heard you if you spoke. That's right. Of course, that's why he
doesn't hear and doesn't honor God regularly. He's not supposed to come
to worship to hear you or anybody else but to hear Him through you and others
That reminds me
of the very, very, very few folks who still don't get the genre of my latest
very, very, very few folks don't get some of the language that I quote,
reference, and the like.
They remind me of
folks who think Jesus was using Emily Post's best as quoted in Matthew 5:21ff.
or the plethora of pret' near expletives directed at the Pharisees throughout
Some folks don't
know Greek, care about Greek, or flunked it in seminary. I'm not saying
Greek is that important; but it ain't bad in curing posing Biblical
you know what, uh, it means.
It goes back to
thesis 4 of Fifteen Secrets:
"Trying to be rational with the irrational is illogical; the
ancillary being, being wrong invalidates argument and being right does not
pulpits/pews who don't get TT,
uh, don't get TT and Who makes
Posers on Easter
Day(s) and other "holy" days don't get
Him because they come to hear...
true worth of a church member is revealed by his life on Monday rather than on
want 10%. He expects 100% if
you know what He means.
another way, the authenticity of someone's Christianity is exposed by the
priority of worship in their lives apart from Easter Day(s), Christmas Eve(s),
fruit will follow its native tree."
tree is known by its fruit."
another way, the authenticity of someone's Christianity is exposed by
confession, conduct, and countenance consistent with Christ.
man has any moral right to go before the people who has not first been long
before the Lord."
"Tarry with Me."
Uh, there is no
Posers on Easter
Day(s) and the like don't get that/Him because they listen to the wrong voices.