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.
"Do not think of yourself as being more important than
chatting with someone who's a tad too full of her/himself as I can be too
often, I remind 'em as I remind myself that there's only one Messiah.
specifically for the thick-egg-headed like me, I'll elaborate, "If I die
on Monday, there will be ham and cole slaw in Fellowship Hall on Wednesday and
then a pastor search committee will be elected on Sunday 'to find somebody who's better than
the last one.'"
If you don't
believe that's true for you as well as me, you don't need acid.
still think size matters.
Listen to 'em.
"So, uh, how
big is your
church?...So, uh, how big is
your attendance?...So, uh, how big
is your budget?...So, uh, how big
is your staff?...So, uh, how big
is your total compensation?...So, uh, how big is your...?"
think being bigger means
If you don't
believe that's true for you as well as them/me, just don't get caught with your
Some pastors are
more Freudian than Christian in a suffering servant kinda way.
When I was a
really big and important
pastor of two really big churches
and then one kinda big one
before going to one that thought it was better
which enabled/deluded me to think I really deserved bigger salaries and houses
and stuff than smaller pastors
in smaller churches,I'd only show up for
meetings or conferences or workshops or local ministerial groups or
Rotaries or prayer breakfasts or community worship services or the like if I was the featured speaker and got
to sit up front with the other big and important...
I was too big/important/indispensable to
waste my time listening to anyone who was smaller
I was big which made me better than anyone who was
If you don't
believe that's true for you as well as them/me, take a look at your community's
and when they grace everyone with their presence at meetings, conferences,
workshops, local ministerial groups, Rotaries, prayer breakfasts, community
worship services, and the like if
they're not the featured speaker and sitting up front with the other big and
How big are you?
How big am I?
Not big enough to be
considered indispensable; unless, of course, I'm/we're stoned.
BBPBHO is gonna
serve out his second and then be about as important to anybody else as any
peanut farmer or Bubba behind, uh, Bushes.
Dan was replaced
by Katie who was replaced by...
Rush and Sean
and Chris and Rachel and Brian and Jay and David and O'Reilly
have shelf lives and will be replaced by...
Starr then Favre
then Rodgers then...
Joe then Mickey
then Derek then...
I've been doing
funerals for about four decades.
I've seen deacons
and elders and staff members and pastors and pillars...and wives...and
If you don't
believe that, wake up and smell the roses before they're placed on your...
Are you getting depressed?
If you are, it's
because you've forgotten there's only one Messiah; and He is enough.
integral in a Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 kinda way; but not indispensable.
Only Jesus is
And when we
figure that/Him out, at least two wonderful things happen.
First, we do our
best and leave the rest to Him in a parable of the sower kinda way.
Second, we sleep
well; knowing the past, present, and future are in bigger and better hands than
the 10th commandment; except, uh, for one thing.
It has nothing to
do with anything, uh, big; and
He has told me to keep my mouth shut about it so He can work on it.
I don't covet anything
I know the only
size that matters is the size of His love for you, me, and everybody else in a
John 3 kinda way.
While I've got
too many friends who can't wait to retire because of everything seemingly going
to hell in our world, country, mainline denominations, sideline facsimiles, and
even District 100, I'm more excited than ever before since a week
in October 2011 with Eugene and covenant brothers as Matthew 23 and
Luke 11 were opened up to me in ways never taught in seminary or churches
enabling such idolatries.
Besides, by His
grace, we've just about completed the purging and pruning of posers on the
corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois; and I've got lots of
encouraging to do with the trickles to increasing flow of authentics or wannabe
authentics coming through the doors.
We're no longer
polluted by people who cannot serve unless they're leading with some sick sense
of entitlement that has nothing to do with service personified by the
I figure I've got
about 20 more years to go; barring cancer from Grandpa Jacob's genes or
Of course, like
you, I'm not indispensable even while knowing I'm integral.
And if I die
today, there will be ham and cole slaw in Fellowship Hall on...
I'll never forget
hearing a debate between Episcopalian Bishop Spong and Chuck Colson.
outrage over people who claim HIV is God's punishment on indiscriminate,
promiscuous, adulterous, and otherwise extra-Biblical sexual behaviors;
asserting, "I know God has not used HIV to punish sinners!"
"How do you know?"
Some people look
in the mirror and see God.
Be that as it is, Colson's
question leads to another question that is very, very, very unsettling:
"If we really believe God is Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior, does
that no mean He, at the very least, allows
things to happen to us - good, bad, and otherwise?"
asking: "Does God punish people for their sins against Him here and now as
well as hereafter?"
Graham's wife on to something when she said, "If God does not bring
judgment on America soon, He will have to apologize to Sodom and
cannot escape the truth of God acting in history to punish people who insult
His holiness by behaviors antithetical to His revealed will in Holy Scripture
as enfleshed in Jesus.
indulgence of our insults is not limitless.
His sense of justice.
Israel was a mess
at the time and Hosea prophesied about God's patience running out: "Hear
the word of the Lord...for the Lord has filed a lawsuit against the
people...There is no truth, no faithful love, no knowledge of God in the
land...Cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and adultery are rampant; one act of
bloodshed follows another...And so the land mourns and everyone who lives in it
are affected...My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...lack of covenant
love...the decision not to make God first in their lives..."
the culprit: "But let no one dispute and let none confuse...because with
you is my contention, O priest."
messed up and falling apart because God's people - priests and pastors and
churches - weren't telling people to stop insulting God's holiness by their
bad behaviors; and Hosea was reporting God as being as mad as hell and not
going to take it anymore.
became a metaphor for the whole mess - taking a whore as a wife as a metaphor
for God's people whoring around and away from Him as husband.
Hosea wanting his wife back, God always wants us back.
God still wants
heaven not hell for us; and so He's always inviting and welcoming back.
God never gives
up, goes away, lets go, or stops loving us.
Just like the
story of the prodigal son, He never turns His back on us or closes the door to
us if we'll just go back to Him.
Hosea's story is
the good news of our Father who is constantly hurt by us; yet refuses to disown
us or divorce Himself from us.
story comes to mind.
It's about a
little boy who loved to build model sailboats.
Well, he built an
especially beautiful one; and spent hours sailing it on a nearby lake.
The wind came up
furiously one day and swept the sailboat out of his reach, out of sight, and it
later, he saw it in the window of a pawn shop.
explaining his sorrowful plight to the storekeeper, the storekeeper would not
give the boat to the boy; insisting he pay the price now attached to it.
beautiful sailboat was now very expensive.
But the boy loved
the sailboat; so he went home and waited for weeks until he had saved enough
money to buy it back.
As he was leaving
the shop with his sailboat, the boy said, "You're mine twice. You're
mine once because I made you. You're mine twice because when you were
lost, I bought you back."
That's what Hosea
tried to tell us.
God is our
Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior.
"False witnesses to Jesus do not change the truth about
Jesus and truly following Him."
I met Adamson
many years ago at Assumption Abbey, a Trappist monastery, near Ava, Missouri.
We discussed many
things over the years; and, occasionally, still, I hear from...
He tried to teach
many things to me about following Jesus; and some have...
He taught simply.
When asked, he
claimed his only source was God through Holy Scripture as enlightened by the
In the days
following Boston, I have recalled one of those timeless conversations back in
the early 80s.
I was talking to
him about my studies in Europe in the early 70s.
We got around to
my meetings in a pub on Heidelberg, Germany's Hauptstrausse with Colin.
Colin had a
British passport but looked like Yasser Arafat; and it didn't take too long for
me to learn he was in the PLO.
Though we didn't
use the words back then, he was posing as a student while in a sleeper cell
of religious fundamentalists who used terror to advance their...
conversation that grew heated, I mocked his religious leader - yeah, that one - as a murderous
thug and scoffed, "Really great god that ya got there, pal! Maybe
he'd tell ya to murder babies and non-combatants 'cause you're too cowardly to
take on people who can fight back; but Jesus would never do that!"
Trying to explain
the principles of guerrilla warfare juxtaposed to conventional resistance to
superior firepower to me, I told him that I'd already read Che in college and
didn't need his help to understand that coward either.
laughed, and said so coldly, "Listen, I know you're here studying to be a
professor or pastor or something equally useless; so while I live in the real
world trying to make things better for my people, you can pray over the victims
that get caught in the crossfire."
I said something
that I regret...and never saw him again.
Adamson chided me
for not talking more about Jesus with him: "He is the only One who can
change such hearts."
Then he said,
"Jesus would never murder the unborn, the born, or...anyone. He
would not use murdering weapons or words. Jesus wants people to come
together through Him to live in interdependent peace. Jesus did not come
so humbly, sacrifice so greatly, rise so gloriously, and continue to reign so
majestically to divide or destroy people. He came to save people from
Then he said in a
piercing way to my spirit, "If you are really going to follow Jesus as
your Lord and Savior, you must never use murdering weapons or words."
It brought back
my last words to Colin and...
Then he asked
questions in rapid succession.
Himself perform an abortion?"
Himself murder anyone?"
Himself look the other way in the face of hunger, poverty, sickness, unmet
needs, and the many imprisonments of the poor by the wealthy?"
Himself look the other way if someone was in pain?"
Himself look the other way if someone was causing pain?"
He asked many,
many, many questions.
And whenever I
did not respond quickly enough with a pejorative to behaviors unbecoming
someone who claims Jesus as Lord and Savior, he'd almost shout, "You are
not ready to follow Jesus!"
Before he went to
his compulsory disciplines that day, he said something else that has never left
me: "False witnesses to Jesus do not change the truth about Jesus and
truly following Him."
While he did not
explain that fully to me, I've come to understand it was his way from Him of
saying to Christians who are judgmental about..., "What's that I see in
I've come to
understand it was his way from Him of saying Christians have no business
telling others how to live in peace with everyone if they/we cannot live in
peace with each other.
I've come to understand
it was his way from Him of saying Christians who use murdering weapons or words
are as bad as...
I've come to
understand it was his way from Him of saying Christians who segregate and
separate and exclude are no better than...
I've come to
understand some religions - including so-called "Christian" ones -
are just as bad as...
I've come to
understand the only way to save Boston and...is Jesus.
Following Him fully.
Not the made up or pretended or reimagined or academic or ecclesiastical or traditional or...one.
"What did I ever do to You to deserve this?...Why tell
me to carry them around like a nanny?
It's too much...If this is how You intend to treat me, do me
a favor and kill me right now.
I've seen enough. I've had enough. Let me out of
Early one crisp
spring Sunday morning on Cherry Street in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a
pastor and I were milling around in the sanctuary when a florist came in
with flowers and asked, "How do you want these arranged?"
a smile about to erupt in laughter, Stimp asked, "Well, bishop,
his beat, I replied in kind, "Not sure, brother, 'cause I'm trying to
recall what we studied about that in seminary."
He lost it.
didn't..and, staying focused, repeated, "So how do you want these
commences with a major misconception fed by seminaries - that anyone really
cares about those courses on CPE, exegesis, ecclesiology,
eschatology, evangelism, hermeneutics, homiletics,
traditio-historical-ideological irrelevancies usually rarely incidentally
related to Holy Scripture, missiology, pastoral psychotherapy, polity,
Biblical languages, rhetoric, soteriology, and...
is more about babysitting than discipling; or as Dylan warned
about religious-not-relational "Christians" expecting
"an errand boy for their wandering desires."
Most clergy spend
about seven or more years learning to disciple (nurturing Biblically
Christocentric faith) after conversion (accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior).
sentences ending in prepositions, entry level pastors soon discover survival
often depends more upon agreeing with the last person that they've talked to.
I remember a
pastor about my age right now saying to me not long after it started officially on
May 8, 1977, "You'll often have to decide whether you're going to be a
good humor man and tell people what they want to hear or faithful enough to
tell them what they need to know."
Buechner put it
this way, "A prophet's quarrel with the world is deep-down a lover's
quarrel. If they didn't love the world, they probably wouldn't bother to
tell it that it's going to hell. They'd just let it go."
Are you willing
to salt to save; or do you prefer salving to survive?
important to you?
Being liked on their terms or loving on
Are you an existentialist
pastor - I prefer saying undershepherd
to the Good Shepherd - makes that decision eventually
with the inevitable consequences: "If any man would come after
Me, let him..."
I don't like to
the more I scratch
the surface of the Bible to find out what
it's/He's all about and what we're supposed to be all about upon getting what
it's/He's all about, the more I get being an undershepherd
comes with a lotta expectations from
Him about not toning down or watering down to get along with anyone
who doesn't wanna be totally committed to Him in praise and thanks for who He
is and what He's done for us.
Or something like
I guess Billy was
The big decision
is followed by many smaller decisions that will or, uh, will not confirm if
we've really made the big decision.
Getting back to
Moses and the nanny church, God said, "Bring Me 70 elders who are
known as leaders to you...I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the
Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that
you will not have to carry it alone."
That's a good
preface to the expanded revelations of interdependent ministry dependant upon
God's calling/gifting in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and...
That's His way of
gifts and unleash 'em!
Nanny churches -
which "Pastor ___" controls/does, uh, everything - build unhealthy
dependencies from God to themselves, enable idolatries to themselves that
distract from the attention/affection/allegiance due God alone, and inhibit
true evangelism setting the stage for the discipling that multiplies the undershepherds needed to
increase the Kingdom "on earth as it is in heaven."
Let me put it
and unleashed several elders/leaders who can lead worship and provide undershepherding care so
that our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere,
Illinois is increasingly interdependent in dependence upon Him not, uh, me or
anyone other than Him through His.
allowing me to exercise my Beruf/charismata
that includes - in addition to my primary call to FPC to be the
- being a friend to pastors, fulfilling ordination promises to my judicatories,
and taking missionary trips to evangelize/disciple/whatever, it allows time for
my continuing intimacy with Him that increases the efficacy of my Beruf/charismata as...
Anyway, I was away this past Sunday;
and, later in the evening, my youngest son poked, "Well, dad, if you keep
letting other people lead worship for you and stuff like that, maybe they won't
need you anymore."
beginning to get my role as noted in the second and third sentence-paragraphs
of this section juxtaposed to Matthew 10, John 10, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12,
Ephesians 4, and..., I know my role is integral yet not indispensable.
JB set the
standard for undershepherds:
"He must become greater. I must become less."
That includes identifying and
unleashing gifts in an interdependent-upon-each-other-dependant-upon-Him kinda
Let me put in
A little card was
taped near our church's mailboxes for staff and officers: "It's not about
you! It's about Him!"
It's better to
dump your dirt before someone digs it up.
Aside from it
being the only Christian thing to do in a
confessional/repentant/redemptive/restorative kinda way, it pulls the rug from
under those who wanna stand up and say how awful everyone is but, uh, them.
Also, it's fun.
I've found few
things as much fun as admitting an accuser's got it right about something wrong
The look on their
Ya can't tell if they're
gettin' a vision from God or went before they got to the restroom.
Self-righteous speck-inspectors don't know what to do with people who
humble themselves before 'em.
tryin' to expose and dispose and..., a humble person will just say, "Yeah,
you're right...I said/did that...I'm sorry...I hope you will forgive
That's the best
way to deal with 'em; and then let Him take care of the rest: "You will be
judged in the same way that you judge...The measure you give is the measure you
will get...If you forgive, you will be forgiven...If you don't forgive, foooohhhhggggeeeetttttaaaaboutit."
I'm not a shrink
and God hasn't told me why so many people are such self-righteous
My guess is some
people feel better about themselves and how awful they know they really
are by spending more of their time on how awful others are than how awful
It's cheaper than
Or maybe they
really do feel superior to others.
they're on heroin.
Or maybe they
just like to talk about other people's problems to avoid dealing with their own
Maybe that's a
substitute for heroin.
Again, I don't
know; just guessing...
BTW, going back
to "Needling Gays" that you can call up by clicking on the archive of
it to the right, did you know that some people think being gay is worse than
being a gossip?
Yeah, it's true
in an untrue Biblical kinda way.
They assume God
has prorated their big ten to account for whatever phobia's enslaving 'em.
Buuuuuuut it could be they
know that many more people are into gossip than gayness.
Maybe gossip is
more acceptable than gayness
Did it ever occur
to 'em that if they're gonna be, uh, you know, fair as they kick out the unrepentant gays,
they're gonna have to kick out the unrepentant gossipers!
Then nobody'll be
left on Sunday mornings!
What to do? What to do?
Maybe the better
way is to call everyone to confession and repentance so that...
We like to play
in the dirt...
I made a tough
decision to let a staff member, uh, go
many years ago - go
is euphemistic for saying we woulda fired him sooner than later if
he didn't, uh, go...
Whenever we had a
staff meeting, he'd jump in and start in on other staff members; pointing out
how they weren't doing their jobs.
It was brilliant!
By pointing out
their inefficacies, we never got around to his!
Well, finally, we
got around to him and he had to, uh, go...
For almost a year
after he, uh, went, people
would come and ask, "Why did he have to go?"
I'd always ask,
"Why do you want
If that didn't
end the dirt-digging inquiry, I'd ask, "Why do you need to know?"
If that didn't
end the dirt-digging, I'd ask, "How will this honor Jesus for you to know
why he's gone?"
99% of all
inquiries were never satisfied because
they were after dirt and I wasn't shovelin' it up for 'em; and
only somebody who wants to get dirty will play in the dirt with 'em.
fathers often referred to such curiosity that often feeds gossip with no
Jesus-honoring intentions as vanity.
They got it from
Solomon got it
His way of saying we get dirty when we play in dirt.