Friday, June 27, 2014
When playing 9, my first goal is to break 40.
If that's not proving possible, my second goal is to break 45.
Buuuuuuut if I'm playing horribly like recently, my goal is to refrain from tossing my clubs into the pond next to the 9th green.
Billy, my favorite Special Olympics world golf champion, and I play 9 or more every week.
Sooooooo Billy has watched my most recent awful attempts at meeting my aforementioned goals.
Earlier in the week, I blurted more than petitioned after an especially hideous approach shot, "Sweet Jesus, help me!"
Billy: "Maybe He's listening to somebody else right now."
Me: "I'm sure there are more important things on His mind."
Billy rushed over to me to initiate a fist pump.
Then I hit a decent drive on the par 5 7th and blurted more than thanked, "Finally, a good shot!"
Billy: "You're getting closer to the fairway."
Me: "I hope that's true for you, me, and everybody else."
Billy rushed over to me to initiate a fist pump
Driving back home after the round, I rationalized, "I think I'm not playing well because I'm just not focusing. I'm thinking about America and the Middle East and the denomination and..."
Billy: "That's right, Pastor Bob. You think too much when you're supposed to be playing golf."
Me: "You're right, Billy, I've got to stop stressing out about all of the..."
Interrupting, he counseled, "God will handle it. You just play golf."
I reached over to Billy to initiate a fist pump.
Blessings and Love!
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Metaphorically just meeting in Detroit in ways that don't stretch reimagination, the PCUSA has just given the green light to same-sex nuptials and red light to anyone who likes Israel.
While some have been forecasting this for years about a denomination "irretrievably apostate under current management" with decisions increasingly only coincidental to its confessional heritage not to mention, which it increasingly doesn't, Jesus by the book, an exodus from its annually decreasing membership is picking up more pace than the fall of Iraq to religionists as close to Islam by their book as the commissioners in Detroit have proven to be to ours.
Not to worry!
Detroit's moderator has appointed a "reconciliation" task force to go to churches and judicatories for "conversations about unity" and...
Unity assumes something about Someone to be united about.
To reach common ground, ya gotta have common ground.
The truth is there is a decreasing minority in the PCUSA that still believes in Jesus by the book and an increasing majority that kinda does when it fits into their ideology with two feet planted firmly in the air.
Sooooooo when someone asked me how those who still believe in Jesus by the book supported by the confessions of the PCUSA that used to, uh, "guide" us because they, uh, encouraged faith and obedience to Jesus by the book were gonna "receive" the moderator's reconciliation team, I said, "While I embrace this gesture as well-meaning though naive and theologically inane and intellectually dishonest, it is being considered laughable across the board by most folks a little left of moderate to right."
When pressed, I went on, "Actually, I think he's gotta be a few fries short of a happy meal. Really, talking about reconciliation with Jesus-loving-Bible-thumping believers after doing what they did in Detroit is like a psycho uncle coming up to you after raping and mutilating your momma and saying, 'Hey, I know you're a little miffed about this; but I'm sure we can find common ground and stay just one big happy family.'"
Anyway, though He may not mean much to 'em anymore by the book, I was thinking about what Jesus had to say about reconciliation...
Matthew 18:15-17 is our Lord's reconciling recipe.
I really like Clarence Jordan's paraphrase in The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew.
Moretheless, here's the plan according to Jesus by the book:
1. Try to work it out face to face.
2. If that doesn't work, bring along a few fair and objective folks who will tell the truth to both of you while insuring neither of you is tempted to lie about the conversation to others at a later date.
3. If that doesn't work, try a committee, board, or bunch of good folks to sort it all out.
4. If that doesn't work, isolate and avoid 'em. Or as 8th graders say, "Just blow 'em off!"
Now read Romans 16:17-20; Titus 3:10-11 for more context to #4.
Though our Lord commands us to love and seek reconciliation with even the unlovable people in our lives, He knows some folks are not reciprocal and will remain irrational and irascible.
Now read Matthew 10:5ff.
That's why I wrote in a book that never sold much, "Trying to be rational with the irrational is illogical; the ancillary being, being wrong invalidates argument and being right does not necessitate it."
Simply, reconciliation requires common ground for there to be common ground; for unity assumes something about Someone to be united about.
Precisely, polity is not enough to hold a denomination together if a decreasing minority still believes in Jesus by the book and an increasing majority kinda does when it fits into their ideology with...
If reconciliation ain't really possible because of such an irreconcilable chasm between the decreasing minority and increasing majority in the PCUSA, what's the forecast?
Apart from some 1st century Pentecostal thing or parousia - both of which appeal to me - I see three movements.
First, the denomination will continue to decrease in membership and cultural influence.
Second, the triumphalists who are on a winning streak apart from Jesus by the book will be increasingly strident and mean to folks who remain faithfully in the franchise according to Jesus by the book and supported by its confessional heritage.
Third, the increasing majority will increasingly conspire to drive out the decreasing minority like the prevailing religionists in Iraq that kinda reminds me of what happened to Bonhoeffer and...
Say it ain't so!
Of course, reading Jude contextually, all of this is quite...positive...in the end.
In other words, the Jesus-loving-Bible-thumping believers of all denominations may be disappointed as the apostates break His heart; but knowing who wins in the end keeps the salt pouring and reflecting light shining.
Blessings and Love!
Saturday, June 21, 2014
This is a special edition of Kopp Disclosure.
With permission/encouragement of the elders of First Presbyterian Church in Belvidere, Illinois, the following statement will be read at both services on Sunday (6/22/14), included in our next newsletter, posted on www.belvpresbyterian.org and www.koppdisclosure.com, and broadcast over www.bnnsradio.com. We are also giving permission to www.churchandworld.com, www.layman.org, and www.pcusa.org to post it at their discretion as an encouragement to sister particular churches and judicatories within the PCUSA who are called to remain faithfully:
"You've probably heard disturbing news in recent days from Detroit about our denomination. Our elders remain steadfast in declaring, 'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.' While our denomination increasingly drifts from Jesus by the book, we will, depending upon God's grace, order our life and ministry on the corner of Lincoln and Main with prayer, proclamation, and passion for Jesus by the book. While confessing our sins against our Lord and each other, we will not affirm, condone, or cooperate with any actions of our denomination that insult God's holiness as personified by Jesus and prescribed in Holy Scripture. When we are wrong about Jesus by the book, we will confess and repent. When we are right about Jesus by the book, we will remain steadfast. Please join us in praying for the knowledge, wisdom, strength, and courage to look up, stand up, speak up, and act up for Jesus alone as above all others."
If you would like to investigate the results of the recent meeting of General Assembly in Detroit, I recommend www.churchandworld.com, www.layman.org, and www.pcusa.org.
A special edition of our weekly Deeper Discipleship (Wednesdays from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. in the summer) this Wednesday (6/25/14) will allow for Q&A and prayer regarding the ramifications of GA decisions for our family of faith.
Personally as your undershepherd to the Good Shepherd, I remind everyone that I have spoken and written consistently and extensively about my call to remain faithfully and I remain faithful to that call in the spirit of Luther, Bonhoeffer, McCord, Gillespie, and others concomitant to our Lord's high priestly prayer in John 17.
I will not hide, run away, or quit.
I will salt, shine, and allow for correction according to Master Jesus according to our manual Holy Scripture.
My trust is in the Lord alone (Psalm 62) whose ultimate triumph is certain regardless of our/my/their stupidities, sins, and apostasies.
Blessings and Love!
Thursday, June 19, 2014
"Judas watched for an opportunity to betray Jesus to them."
We talked about the whats and whys of this week's GA in Detroit.
I expressed shock; praying commissioners would reject apostate committee recommendations in plenary.
Rhetorically, he asked, "Why are you surprised by what's going wrong at GA? Don't you remember it was self-serving narcissistic civil and ecclesiastical bureaucrats who coupled then conspired to crucify Jesus?"
"Remember from where you have fallen. Repent! If not, I will come
to you and remove your lampstand,...unless you repent!"
Blessings and Love!
Monday, June 16, 2014
America and her mainline churches are declining; and over and over and over again, You say, "Return to Me and I will restore you."
Increasingly and intentionally shutting You out of our civil and ecclesiastical governments, classrooms, market, media, and entertainment, the rivers of living water that refreshed the land are turning into trickles.
While our part of the Kingdom known as PCUSA gets smaller and smaller and smaller in size and cultural influence, claiming 1.7 million on rolls that translates into about a third of that in really active worship and ministries, we rejoice with the elders meeting in Detroit this week who remain true to You as a remnant of what we were yet can still be if we seize this GA meeting moment to confess, repent, and return to You through Jesus by the book as compelled/chastened by the Holy Spirit.
Mustard seeds come to mind.
Gospeling leaven that mixes in to make all better generates existential hopes for eternal envisionings.
We thank You for predestining commissioners, smaller in number yet poorer in spirit, who will look up, stand up, speak up, and act up for Jesus by the book with enthusiasm and without equivocation; and though the darkness blurring sight will strategize to marginalize if not silence them, we trust resurrection for all who remain faithful during these meantimes.
Your saving sovereignty as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit regenerates our strong calm sanity to worship You alone, work for You alone, and witness to You alone with the Bible as our manual and Jesus as our Master in whose name we pray.
Blessings and Love!
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
GA starts meeting on June 14 at the Cobo Center in Detroit and ends on June 21.
GA is short for General Assembly - the biennial meeting of the Presbyterian Church (USA) that is supposed to make decisions that will advance the Kingdom "on earth as it is in heaven" as supposedly guided by a Book of Confessions and Book of Order supposedly based on the Bible.
Of course, for many Christians still remaining on the rolls in the franchise aka denomination increasingly decreasing in membership and cultural influence, connections between recent decisions along with unchecked constitutional defiance from left and right seem startlingly coincidental to its books.
Indeed, many Presbyterians who still love Jesus by the book hold their breath as recent GAs seem determined to "amend" the answer to the first question of The Shorter Catechism: "Our chief end is to horrify God, and to annoy Him forever."
Simply, it almost seems recent GAs are darkly determined to drive off as many people as probable who love Jesus by the book by actions antithetical to Jesus by the book.
This year's docket continues the lamentable trend.
Commissioners - ruling elders (non-clergy) and teaching elders (clergy) in theoretically equal numbers augmented by bureaucratic staff/watchdogs programmed to make sure the elders don't drift too far from "their" priorities - are being asked to allow member churches to host same-sex weddings, replace the Biblical understanding of marriage including a woman and man with "two people," create some kinda task force to keep talking about same-sex marriages until the PCUSA pastors who don't think so wear out or walk out to allow those who think so to preside at 'em, divest from companies who do too much business with Israel because it hasn't been very nice to Palestinians, abandon the Biblical "covenant" of affirming Israel as special to God as Holy Scripture is revised again to fit into the most popular ideology masquerading as theology, advocate female and just-about-any-kinda-sexual-lifestyle for leadership in the Boy Scouts of America, and...ad nauseam.
Parenthetically, I keep wondering why some franchise jingoists - mindless drones who embrace any decision from GA regardless of correspondence to Jesus by the book - wonder why more and more and more folks are withholding or redirecting contributions and "voluntary" per capita apportionments as they just take the lead from them about divestment from companies/organizations/tribes that tick 'em off.
Be that as it is and seems will be until the franchise's thanatos libido is totally satisfied, I'm asking you to join our friends in Presbyterian Elders in Prayer (www.presbypray.org) to encourage everyone everywhere regardless of franchise to pray for the rebirth of the PCUSA according to Holy Scripture in the name of Jesus as chastened to confession and repentance and compelled by the Holy Spirit in a Romans 12 kinda way.
Ya can't renew something/someone that ain't been newed.
I'll probably be called a troublemaker for what I just wrote; noting I've often thought I'd rather be called a heretic by heathens than blasphemer by people who still pray and labor to love Jesus by the book.
I'll probably be accused of upsetting the peace, unity, and purity of the franchise for what I think; noting I have no heaven idea what "their" standards are for heralding peace, unity, and purity because I was called, nurtured, examined, and ordained to undershepherding by previous generations of Presbyterians who prayed and labored to love Jesus by the book and books based on the book (viz., BC and BO).
I'll probably be called some kinda theological Neanderthal for still thinking Christianity is only about Jesus by the book rather than books about the book that always seem to rationalize us away from Jesus by the book to satisfy the twitchings in apostasizing heads, hearts, guts, and, uh, loins.
Uh, I'm used to it.
After four decades of undershepherding, I've been called so many things; and, really, I'd rather be called a fool for Jesus by the book than a fool for whatever foolishness is masquerading as Christianity with only coincidental correspondence to Jesus by the book.
Truth is sooooooo many people are sooooooo offended by just about anything from anyone that everybody's a troublemaker of some kind in sooooooo many people's estimation.
Everybody's a troublemaker to someone about something.
All ya gotta do these days is look at someone the wrong way or not look at someone the right way or not yield the right of way or yield the right of way the wrong way or just quote Jesus by the book and you're considered a mean, nasty, and abusive troublemaker.
It's like I tell young pastors who want to be liked by everybody in their churches: "Forget it! And look up what Jesus said about being liked by everybody! I don't think so! Here's the vocational deal. You're gonna be damned if you do and damned if you don't. What a liberating reality! Knowing you're gonna be damned if you do and damned if you don't, forget about doing that damned kinda stuff and bring some heaven into your church by talking about Jesus by the book. Give 'em the Gospel! That'll shock 'em!"
Sooooooo what kinda troublemaker are you?
Against Jesus by the book?
For Jesus by the book?
Are you one of those folks who see God in the mirror and declare during deliberations, "I know that's what Jesus and the Bible say; but I think..."?
Are you one of those folks who bow your head, heart, guts, and loins before Him and confess, "Lord, I know I'm a sinner; but I will not confuse my sin with Your will as personified in Jesus and prescribed in Holy Scripture. Your not my will be done 'on earth as it is in heaven'"?
Elijah comes to mind.
He was called a troublemaker because he refused to go with any flow that wasn't within the movement of the Spirit.
You know the most famous chapter in his story.
He beat up the bad Baal religionists who were no match for him because, as Jesse Jackson likes to say, "God+you=majority."
My favorite part of the story is when Elijah shows up and says to King Ahab who always seemed to have a Jezebel of a time staying faithful to God and the people of Israel who always seemed to be bantering and moaning about something/someone and then getting mesmerized by their idolatries that distracted 'em from fidelities by the book, "How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him! If Baal, then follow him...and go to hell!"
If that doesn't sound like GA 2014 - die Abfall oder die Erweckung.
It reminds me of Dr. McCord who often talked about the state of mainline franchises like the PCUSA - BTW, this story has parallels with all of the current increasingly apostate sisters to the PCUSA - by telling a little story about two guys at a cocktail party.
First guy: "I don't know who I am, what I'm doing, where I'm going, or what it's all about."
Second guy: "Don't worry about it! Your pastor and church are going through the same thing!"
I'm also reminded of Bill Thompson, long-time stated clerk of whatever franchise preceded the current one, who said to me in 1975 when I asked why he turned down a nomination to become a federal judge, "There are many federal judges; but only one stated clerk."
Then there was this meeting in Aurora, Illinois a few years ago with about twenty of our presbytery's most out-spoken theological Neanderthals like me. One of 'em who must have been stoned or trippin' kept going on and on and on about how we could reverse the increasingly apostate trends in the franchise by educating the membership about Jesus by the book. Two others who have been on the wagon long enough to be sober about it all said simultaneously, "We've lost! Deal with it! We're never going to get it back. The challenge for us now is to protect our congregations from the wolves at our doors while trying to be personally faithful in a denomination where faithfulness no longer exists."
Here's another one with metaphorical value. I attended a presbytery meeting in Sterling, Illinois on Tuesday (6/10). I had been up since 3:30 a.m. and asked if the coffee was loaded. The hostess replied, "We only serve 'Presbyterian' coffee here! Decaf." Selah.
I guess it all comes down to this for Presbyterians and sister franchisers who still love Jesus by the book and seem to be outnumbered in their neighborhoods.
Do you/we have the, uh, faith to keep keepin' on and, like Elijah with a plethora of Biblical personal parallels, tell the increasing number of apostates that they're, as Jesus said, "making people twice as fit for hell as they are themselves" knowing that we'll be called mean, nasty, and abusive troublemakers for the telling the truth by the book in the name of Jesus as compelled by the Holy Spirit?
Let's face it.
They've won...for now; buuuuuuut in the end, He wins!
Sooooooo following the lead of heroes like Luther and Bonhoeffer and so many like 'em with Jesus as the ultimate model/Master, let's not run away, hide, or quit.
Let's keep salting and shining in the meantime.
I mean, uh, if Jesus can go to the cross for us/them...
Besides, why would anyone leave one stinking denomination for another stinking denomination?
They're all sooooooo human.
As Harold always told people when they transferred their pathologies to us and threatened to leave, "If you find that perfect church, don't join it because it won't be perfect anymore if you do!"
No wonder so many of us find more comfort in predestination than volition.
It kinda frees ya up to look up, stand up, speak up, and act up for Jesus by the book while too many, uh, things are going to, uh,...
Yep, heaven is for real and so is...
That's something/Someone to keep in mind while praying or participating in the next GA or...
Blessings and Love!
I asked friends who are familiar with the franchise to prognosticate about the possible ramifications of this year's GA; promising, "I will not identify anyone by name because big brother will come after you if..."
Here's what I gotta say to anyone else who responds, "You're not on your own. If you're with Him, He's with you. It's among the most consistent themes of Holy Scripture."
Let's start with someone close to me: "The PCUSA is irretrievably apostate under current management."
Mentor in New Jersey: "John 15:5."
Important Pastor in Bay Area: "Our beloved mother church is about to shoot herself in both feet by voting in gay marriage and voting out peacemaking in Israel; historic theology and personal relationships remain our strength while common sense and non-popularized and politicized thoughtfulness are pushed away as if by a military zeal."
Pastor in South Carolina: "Never have so few expected so little from so clueless."
Former Staff Member of our Last Great President: "The pro-Islamist faction will finally succeed in radicalizing the PCUSA as the first mainline church openly anti-Israel and boycotting purchases and investments linked to Israel."
Pastor in Illinois with Clearing Discernment: "To quote Saruman in the Lord of the Rings: 'So you have chosen death.' The PCUSA/GA is like a Stage 4 lung cancer patient who has decided that the best way to treat his pathology is to smoke twice as many cigarettes, twice as fast."
Executive Presbyter: "The darkhorse issue will concern the fate of the OGA/PMA."
Editor of My Favorite Website: "Who am I to rule out the possibility that God in His grace will surprise us as I believe He did in 2012?"
Christian Radio Manager: "The church cannot duck these questions Scripturally."
Former Pastor in PCUSA: "A continued and deeper descent into apostasy and depravity."
Proverbial Founder of the CCM and Commissioner to GA: "This assembly will be the nail in the coffin. Our evangelicals are but a remnant that can only provide a prophetic voice. The denomination is lost and gone down the hedonistic path."
Buddy in Pennsylvania Who, Unlike Moi, Gets Recognized by our Author Advocacy Group: "I believe the nearest clothing store will run out of garments of self-justification in which we will wrap ourselves."
Commissioner from My Favorite Presbytery: "Whatever happened to obedience to the WORD of GOD?"
Photojournalist in Pennsylvania: "How appropriate for the PCUSA to hold its convention in Detroit! A dying denomination in a dying city!"
Lawyer in Pennsylvania: "PCUSA? Is this even a viable organization? Or is it another group like the Baptists, Methodists, UCC, and the like fighting for institutional survival as their local churches fade away?"
Sunday, June 8, 2014
I always wear a helmet during monsoons.
Otherwise, nah; for reasons explained in my non-best-selling I Just Wanna Ride that you can get from me - only 7 first editions left - for $250 per or www.amazon.com for postage and handling,
Since first mounting a Honda 50 in 1968, I've been hearing it about helmets.
Sooooooo I've got a deal for folks who insist that I wear a helmet more often than not to prove it's all about the sanctity of my life more than trying to control it.
Once you've demonstrably documented your affirmation and advocacy for the sanctity of all human life from womb to tomb, you can send a check for $500 to me and I will find and buy a vintage helmet just like William Macy's Dudley wore in Wild Hogs (check clip above).
If you do, I will wear it more often than not.
If not, please do not bother me with your...
BTW, I am serious.
BTW(2), this isn't about me (check clip below).
Blessings and Love!
Friday, June 6, 2014
"If you are distracted by anyone or anything from joy in Jesus,
the only way to refresh your joy is to
refocus on Jesus!"
Surprised there wasn't another 6.
Regular early Friday morning 9 with my favorite Special Olympics world golf champion; and if you've ever read Henri Nouwen's In the Name of Jesus - yeah, take that as an urging - you'll know why Billy has been a big part of my joy in/from Jesus for the last decade.
Billy scored well.
Mine: 4, 4, 4, 5, 4, 4, 7, 9, 4.
Wasn't that special?
Feeling good after the first 6...hmm..., I walked to the 7th and started swatting gnats from my ears, nose, eyes, and...spirit.
I was distracted from the joy in/from Jesus of golfing with Billy by...bugs; if ya know what I mean in a metaphorical more than literal kinda way.
I couldn't get her/him/them out of my...spirit.
Thinking more about her/him/them than..., the distraction turned ugly and Billy asked after I carded the 9 on the par 5 8th, "What happened? You were playing really well!"
"Well, Billy," I answered, "I've got too much on/in my mind; and I've lost my concentration."
He counseled, "Just think about what you were thinking about before you started playing so badly."
Reminded of how easy it is for the dark side to distract from the bright side with ensuing ugliness, I thought of that old advice from Adamson.
Repelling requires refocusing.
"It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is
the place you will most want to be, and end up being!"
Blessings and Love!
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Let's be honest.
Anyone who says Christianity is complicated is spending too much time in books about the book than in the book itself; and, usually, people who spend more time reading books about the book than the book itself are looking for ways to rationalize their beliefs and behaviors that are not consistent with loving and following Jesus by the book.
I think of W.C. Fields who spent more time reading the Bible as his end approached. Asked about it, he said, "I'm looking for loopholes."
A recent conversation comes to mind.
A pastor who I counsel because of clergy killers came to see me back on April 11.
Hurt and discouraged, he asked, "Is Christianity as complicated as we are making it? Did Jesus really have all of these theologies and denominations and bulletins and vestments and stained glass windows and ornaments and furniture and...in mind?"
"I may be wrong," I answered, "but I think Christianity is really, really, really quite simple. Love Jesus and you know for sure that you're going to heaven after the last breath. In the meantime, you love Jesus by loving like Jesus because You're so grateful to be going to heaven after you die. As far as I can see, that's Christianity by the book."
I've found people often like me who make Christianity sooooooo complicated just don't want to follow Jesus by the book because they don't believe in Jesus by the book and find rationalizations for beliefs and behaviors apart from Jesus by the book in other books only coincidentally consistent with Jesus by the book.
Or something like that.
Surely, there are lots of guides for pastor search committees put out by parochial interests.
You know, "Gotta make sure she's/he's a real Baptist...Presbyterian...Pentecostal...Fundamentalist...Roman...Missouri Synoder...whatever."
Annnnnnnd if you're into that, you probably need to look for a good funeral director instead of a pastor.
You can read more about that in Matthew 15 and 23.
While I have diminishing respect for that kinda stuff because that kinda stuff is more related to philosophy and ideology and vanity and ego/mob theology than Jesus by the book, I'm not goin' to get into tinkling contests about it; but, again, just ask yourself if those kinda churches looking for those kinda pastors are doing much heaven good anymore. I know ya can't talk about that at franchise meetings or you'll get charged with something or marginalized at least; but in the privacy of your own relationship with the Lord...
This isn't a guide for churches into too much of that.
This is for churches that just want an undershepherd to the Good Shepherd who will try to love 'em with Jesus as the pattern according to the prescriptions of Holy Scripture.
Sooooooo because it's really not that complicated, I'm gonna limit this guide to three simple concerns: identity, intentions, and inheritances.
The authorized guides with all of their helpful vetting information often forget what follows and that's why they often have to elect another PSC sooner than later.
Yes, take a long look at the authorized guides; but don't forget to consider...
A friend thinks all PSCs should start with this question: "Who is your Lord?"
He explains, "If Jesus isn't demonstrably first or if there are any idolatries close to Him such as denominations or traditions or polities or..., run like hell away from her/him."
From what I can tell about Jesus by the book and most of Christendom's history, it's supposed to be all about, uh, Jesus by the book.
Lord and Savior.
By the book.
If you're interviewing someone and she/he is talking more about Osteen or Oprah by the culture than Jesus by the book, run like hell away from 'em.
Let me put it another way.
While saving 'em for officers, I've stopped asking dumb parochial questions when someone wants to join the church. I just ask two questions: "Who is your Lord and Savior? Depending upon God's grace, do you promise to try to love Him by loving like Him?"
I figure if a person gets those right, she/he won't be among the irascibles, irregulars, and irreconcilables being enabled by too many churches who don't follow Jesus by the book.
Ditto for pastors.
Let me repeat.
Let 'em dump their garbage cause folks will dig it up sooner or later if they don't.
If you want to know what she/he thinks about something, ask!!!!!!!
While most of your questions will be answered if she/he answers those two questions in the preceding section with precision, passion, and persuasion, ask!!!!!!!
Yeah, I know some parochial "authorities" caution you against it. Some will claim ya can't ask 'em about war and peace and abortion and homosexuality and gay marriage and gluten-free diets and...
But the pewsitters are gonna wanna know sooner than later and they'll ask and if you haven't and they find out that...
Well, you know what I mean; and if you don't, you shouldn't be on the PSC anyway/anyhow/anymore.
Let me be specific.
If you want a leftie or rightie or someone like you know who with no perceptible principles, ask the kinda direct-in-your-face-no-blinking interrogatives that will get what you need to know before you sign anything.
This is really important.
Get rid of staff members and even members who weren't healed/redeemed by anyone else anytime before.
Don't cripple your new pastor with old problems; especially when it comes to staff members.
Inherited staff members can be very dangerous because they are never really or quite as loyal to the person who didn't hire 'em in the first place. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they are loyal to.... Puuuuuuuhlease! Sometimes conventional wisdom is conventional wisdom because it's conventional and repeated. Many inheritances don't make the transition. PSCs know who will and who won't. Get rid of the ones who won't!
God knows I know.
While I've been fortunate in only having two or three inheritances go really sour in four decades and while I'm in a situation right now in which I was blessed with a few really, really, really awesome inheritances, the rule of the thumb is the rule of thumb. If they have been a problem before the new pastor arrives, they will be a problem no matter who is called. Remember, they nailed Jesus and He was pure and perfect in every way. If you don't clean up the mess before she/he arrives, she/he will inherit a mess and then get messy as your new pastor tries to clean up the mess with minimal help from the masses who wanna be liked by everyone including the miscreants. And don't even bother thinking of calling on your ecclesiastical superiors if you don't clean up the mess and your pastor gets messy! They could care less. Really. Here's how they think: "Preachers come and go...but we need the taxes from the churches to pay our bills...So let's sacrifice another..."
I'll never forget the prospective pastor's wife - not related to me - who was asked if she had any questions for the PSC. She asked, "You seem so nice; but, please, tell me about the bastards in your church?"
It may sound crude; but get rid of the wolves or they'll end up barking and biting and...
Finally, my friend also thinks PSCs should ask, "What would make you run for the door if you found out it was true about our church?"
He says, "The answers can help discern both values and fears."
Of course, Jesus said pastors are gonna catch lots of hell trying to get people into heaven.
Matthew 10 quickly comes to mind.
That's why I tell pastors, "Keep running to Jesus and you'll stay a step ahead of the..."
Blessings and Love!