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.
may be wrong, I've never thought faith...or nations can be built on broken
nations are best built on Jesus by the book.
Yet, a dip into His story aka history is
often helpful to understand the origins and antidotes for faith...and nations.
comes to mind.
Thanksgiving was observed by Massachusetts Pilgrims in 1621 during their second
winter in America.
The first winter
killed 44 of the original 102 colonists.
So the remnant
united with about 80 native Americans for three days of feasting and worship to
give thanks to God for the blessings of the preceding year.
holiday of Thanksgiving was born; praising and thanking God from whom all
to be a day to give thanks to God for everything from
that first celebration forward.
Bradford of Massachusetts made the first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1623:
"Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest...spared
us from pestilence and disease...granted us freedom to worship God...listen to
the pastor and render thanksgiving to Almighty God for all His blessings."
Washington proclaimed thanksgiving to God for deliverance from kings "to
acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God."
Lincoln established Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday by an Act of
Congress in 1863 for "...praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in
the heavens...nations are blessed whose God is the Lord...But we have forgotten
God...We have vainly imagined, by the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all
these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our
own...It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly,
reverently, and gratefully acknowledged...by the whole American people."
does anyone really think Bradford, Washington, or Lincoln would be elected
today to anything almost anywhere in our country?
Yes, His story aka history is
often helpful to understand the origins and antidotes for faith...and nations.
Looking back and
looking forward, one of the most consistent messages of Holy Scripture
is betrayed in the rise and falling
of America: "Return to Me and I will restore you."
non-best-selling book was Praying
Like Jesus (1986).
The picture on
the back may be the last glimpse of moi avec hair.
convinced I had a perm for that shot.
No matter how
I've tried to persuade him, he's thrilled to share his discovery with, uh,
everyone/anyone who listens.
I've learned it's
tough to convert Chuck when he's convinced.
My sister is
ago, she said, "Bobby, you're going to have to decide what you're going to
do about your beard. Either you shave it all off or cut it down to a
half-beard or goat; 'cause right now you look like your head's upside
I've never been
into corrective/creative combing.
Phyllis likes my goat.
it's-ergo-I'm gay; which is really helpful 'cause I'm in the PCUSA.
He likes the born
to be wilder look.
But since Jeff
cut off his beard and went from looking like the Lion King to a...
You'll have to
ask Adelaide, Chuck, or Jeff what I think he looks like now.
Ain't for polite
All I'll say is
Jeff convinced me no matter what's convincing Chuck to go with Matt more than
I told you about
But as my
homiletics professors told me and I've told my homiletics students since,
"If it's worth preaching once, it's worth preaching twice; and if it's not
worth preaching twice, it's not worth preaching once."
story short, I shaved off my beard because Pearl wanted me to shave off my
beard because my beard reminded her of her son with whom she had a really,
really, really bad relationship; and whenever she looked at me, she transferred
bad feelings to me and...
After shaving off
my beard, I thought she would like me and maybe even buy something for me.
She looked at my
baby-butt face at the time and said, "Now about your moustache."
I've learned only
God defines me.
People try; but
in the end as well as sooner than later and usually sooner than later, God
defines me...and you...and everybody else.
Sooooooo I never ask
anyone anymore anytime anyhow what they think about my...
I look in the
mirror, reflect on Numbers 6 now and then, and...
What does this
have to do with remnant?
As I was telling
one of the aforementioned not too long ago, "We both believe in Jesus by
the book; but you're going down one path and I'm going down another path.
I can't go down your path and you can't go down my path because we're
inspired/indigested to go our separate ways for now; but, in the end, we will
end up at the same destination because we both believe in Jesus by the
I know some folks
don't buy into that.
they have more qualifications and litmus tests for salvation than...Jesus.
I have come full circle; yet still scratching
the surface of my relationship with You through Jesus by the book as mused by
Call compromised and corrupted by too many
years of academics, ecclesiastics, and invention elevated to revelation with my
conscious cooperation is reversing/recovering/refreshing like a hard turn
against seductively strong currents of carnality.
Rebirthing to the simple gospel - urging
trust in You with no rivals for time and forever – has recalled old kinships,
repelled inauthentics, and riveted passion to look up, stand up, speak up, and
act up for Jesus; always acknowledging faithless inclinations and encouraging
correction to confession and repentance by the example of Jesus, explanations
of Holy Scripture, and common sense.
Along the way, sorry to say, I exchanged
confessional clarity, conversion catalyzing, and concrete Christianity for
positions, popularity, possessions, and pseudo-proprieties.
Along the way, I have insulted Your holiness
by talk and walk with the always collateral injuring of Your people.
Yet, You never abandoned me; calling me back
to You even when distancing myself as far from You as my idolatries persuaded.
The journey continues; and You demand the
wineskin to expand again from above and make more room for new opportunities to
experience and express You.
Thank You for forgiving my erroneous
omissions and commissions; and thank You even more that the advancement of Your
kingdom on earth as it is in heaven does not depend upon me.
Thank You for always providing who and what
are really required; and thank You even more for ignoring my beggings always
inferior to Your providence.
I accept what is about to happen as
prophesied, envisioned, and confirmed; not knowing the details as yielding to
I trust the wherewithal by Your grace for
Your honor; not knowing what is necessary as yielding to provision.
Most especially, I thank You for eternal
certainty overcoming existential confusion; knowing I am irrevocably Yours through
Jesus in whose name I pray.
Aside from being my favorite gospel group of all time,
the video at the top is a metaphor akin to the Song
of Songs for folks who get it; and if ya don't,
ain't no way for me to explain it.
Of course, existentially, both also bring to mind...
This motion was
seconded and prevailed by an overwhelming majority at Blackhawk Presbytery's
stated meeting on 11/11/14 at Oregon, Illinois' Stronghold Camp and Retreat
Center: "Acknowledging same-sex nuptials are legal in Illinois and the
PCUSA affords discretion to its teaching elders by the authoritative
interpretation of the 221st General Assembly to preside or not preside at such
rituals+ceremonies=rites and particular churches may host or not host such
ordinances upon session approval subject to the review of higher judicatories,
Blackhawk Presbytery will honor the consciences of teaching elders and particular
churches within its bounds; noting its members are divided among those who
embrace the authoritative interpretation as witness to progressive theology and
those who reject it according to traditional Christianity.
Presiding/participating teaching elders and hosting churches may exercise their
consciences as permitted by the authoritative interpretation. No efforts
to force teaching elders and sessions who decline to preside/participate/host
will be encouraged, enabled, or condoned. Those who embrace and those who
decline do not need to fear ministerial infringements or vocational reprisals
in Blackhawk Presbytery."
Blackhawk Presbytery has become a you-don't-bother-us-and-we-won't-bother-you
oasis for progressives and
traditionalists in a denomination reflecting its host country's increasingly
divisive and ultimately destructive my-way-or-the-highway
I hope that floor debate about the aforementioned motion was
I think others
could benefit from BP's increasingly uncommon civility; as the PCUSA,
sister franchises, America, and rest of the world betray their collective thanatos libido.
Having said that
and praised God for that, we're going to be voting on making same-sex nuptials
a part of our denominational constitution throughout the rest of 2014 and into
the first half of 2015.
PCUSA may/will, uh, evolve from allowing 'em to advocating 'em by
allowing/advocating/ordering 'em in its rule book with decreasing
correspondence to you know who based on you know what.
everybody's gonna be voting to approve or reject the recommended change to the
constitution from marriage being "between one man and one woman" to
"between two people."
family's dog Kopper, fondly referred to as "our gay dog" because
he's so sweet on me while assuming he's human not canine, is hopeful.
C'mon, folks on
the hard left and right, lighten up!
Anyway, to become
a part of the constitution, all that's needed is a simple majority of 86
out of 171 presbyteries.
If it doesn't
pass, I predict Crazy Joe or Texas Teddy will be our next President.
I asked several
folks who are really into this with much more litigious interest/sophistication
than moi to address three questions.
If it prevails,
what will it mean?
If it does not
prevail, what will it mean?
If it fails, what
happens to the nuptials that were performed since the authoritative
interpretation of the 221st General Assembly?
A common general
response: "The authoritative interpretation is not a part of the
constitution. It remains an authoritative interpretation of the
constitution regardless of the vote on the amendment to the constitution."
addressing the three questions, here are the collective responses as summarized
as simply as possible by moi.
Q. If it prevails, what will it mean?
A. Freedom...without bounds!
Q. If it does not prevail, what will
A. Nothing! The authoritative
interpretation remains/applies no matter how the vote goes.
Q. If it fails, what happens to the
nuptials already performed?
A. Nothing! That's the, uh,
genius of the 221's GA. The AI supercedes the amendment.
Sooooooo, mes amis, folks
who wanna get hitched to someone from the same gender can, uh, do it in the
PCUSA because it's always gonna be allowed and maybe advocated yet, at minimum,
The train has
left the station.
Uh, score one for
the, uh, hard left!
Getting back to
Blackhawk Presbytery, we get to vote on advocating it even though it will be
allowed no matter how the vote ends up/down on 2/10/15 at Rochelle, Illinois'
First Presbyterian Church.
Sooooooo how do
non-progressive traditional theologians like moi remain faithfully?
think/pray this will maintain integrity despite not pacifying spirit,
intellect, or gut.
who hasn't made up her/his mind on this since the topic's been raging in
the franchise for, ooooooohhhhhhh,
40+ years must be living in the ozone layer of reality with an
indecisiveness only matched by BBPBHO on most moral/national/global matters,
I'm gonna get in line as soon as the debate starts; and when my lips hit the
mic, I'm gonna move the previous question. Again, ya gotta wonder what
the anything but heaven folks have not been thinkin' if they haven't already
made up their minds on this one. Reeeeeeeaaaaaaaly,
are we inclined to keep the floor open for a few hours more of venting,
pontificating, advocating, antagonizing, bantering, and moaning?
Assuming the vote
to amend the constitution will prevail in BP, I'm gonna ask the stated clerk
aka ecclesiastical secretary to record me as dissenting from both the AI and
the amendment just so I'm covered on both at the same time in an exercise of
time/emotions stewardship: "I
ask the stated clerk to indulge my constitutional right to be recorded in the
minutes by name and church as dissenting from the authoritative interpretation
of the 221st General Assembly and our presbytery's vote to amend the
constitution from marriage being 'between one man and one woman' to 'between
two people' as categorically contradictory to over two thousand years of
Biblical, confessional, constitutional, historical, traditional, and common
If the vote
prevails in our presbytery, I hope other presbyters will dissent; using
the suggested wording or, probably, something much better to express this
amendment as an abomination and insult to Jesus by the book.
If the vote
prevails in other presbyteries, I hope presbyters will dissent; using the...
Jesus never said
it would be easy to be part of the remnant.
Read Matthew 10
for more on that.
It's like our
administrative assistant aka my boss in Belvidere said as we discussed the
folks who have left over the years because they picked up their marbles and
walked away because of their my-way-or-the-highway
weltanschauung, "We're sure glad Jesus never gave up on us
every time we disappointed Him."
She's so much
wiser than me; even if only a year older.
I was asked what
I wanted to "pray for" at "A Gathering to Pray and Remember
Persecuted Christians" held last night.
Knowing the host
church would not allow me to participate in "their" observance of
Holy Communion, I said I'd like to pray for persecuted Christians in America.
Gathering to Pray and Remember Persecuted Christians
Proverbs 14:25-27, 34
Your word is clearly conclusive even if
increasingly ignored and not compelling to our world, America, churches,
commerce, public schools, families, and marriages: “Return to Me and I will
As we pray for people around the world this
evening who are being increasingly bruised, beaten, battered, and butchered for
loving You by loving like You with the compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and agape
of Jesus, we see and sense the increasing persecution of Christians in
Except for isolated instances at the
demonically inspired hands of jihadists, people who love Jesus by the book in
America “have not resisted to the point of shedding blood.”
We admit to superficial, trivial, and
inconsequential protestations of persecution like fears of our deodorants not
keeping us dry all day long, the temperature in the sanctuary being too cold or
hot, the volume of the music being too low or loud, someone looking at us the
wrong way, being told that it’s Biblical to tithe at least and urged not to act
so boorishly toward each other as bad witnesses to Jesus, and other eventually
embarrassing examples of selfishness, pettiness, and idolatry.
Yet when elected officials at the highest
levels of government read Holy Scripture out of context to herald blasphemies,
courts and law enforcement censor and curtail confessions consistent with Jesus
by the book, public schools only invite You and Yours back after tragedy as a
salve rather than before as the preventive solution, Your prophets are told not
to use Your enfleshed name when asked to invoke Your presence and beg Your
blessings at public celebrations and dedications, separation of church and
state is a one way reality in favor of the state, and so many increasing
affronts to Your holiness in number and intensity, we know America is not
immune to the tribulations of these end times.
Yes, Lord, we understand by Your example in
Jesus and explanations in Holy Scripture that we will be hated and hurt by
people who hate and hurt You.
We are not immune to the increasing instances
and intensity of persecution as prophesied.
And while we rejoice to suffer for Christ’s
sake as we remember those who “endure to the end will be saved,” we beg Your
Holy Spirit to encourage the increasingly persecuted of America as well as
world to the heaven/paradise – the pure and perfect place of personal peace
where there is no more pain or tears forevermore – that awaits as assurance
enabling strong calm sanity and peace through the increasingly meantimes.
Thank You for inspiring our hosts for this
gathering to overcome the separations, segregations, and fencings of Your
people by unchristian traditions and idolatries so we may be as one people
under You to look up, stand up, speak up, and act up for Jesus in whose saving
name we pray.
rhetorical question for ya.
If people who say
they love Jesus by the book in one franchise fence "their" tables
from other people who say they love Jesus by the book in other franchises, how
will people who don't know Jesus as Lord and Savior ever be convinced by those
who say they love Jesus as Lord and Savior yet segregate, separate, and fence
themselves from other people who say they love Jesus as Lord and Savior
that Jesus overcomes the idolatrous humanisms that segregate, separate, and
fence to bring together everyone into one great family of faith through Him as
Lord and Savior?
complicated and confusing.
franchises pretending to know Jesus by the book who segregate, separate, and
fence themselves from...
Oh, I get it.
My translation of
the Bible must be wrong.
"Come to Me, everyone, all yu'uns, except
I knew that guy
who keeps showing up at games with the John 3:16 poster is nuts.
It took sooooooo many, tooooooo many, years
before I learned this about myself.
I may be wrong
I am wrong
I can be
stubbornly wrong about...
Sooooooo much pain, tooooooo much pain, has
been caused by me because I haven't just
been wrong about...but I've sooooooo
often, tooooooo often,
been stubbornly wrong about...
happens when we egocentrically reimagine divine revelation apart from
Jesus by the book.
I've done it sooooooo many, tooooooo many times
because I've been so arrogant about thinking I'm sooooooo right and others are sooooooo wrong:
"Ya'll not me have sinned and ya'll not me fall short of..."
Frankly, I don't
think I really got that in my gut - it had been swirling around in my noodle
for years in an intellectual if not spiritual kinda way - until that
apocalyptic moment early one morning in October 2011 while reading
Matthew 15 and 23 under Eugene's influence.
Jesus said clergy
make people twice as fit for hell as they are themselves.
I guess that's
why clergy conspired with the state to murder Him.
No wonder Dick
Sheppard fought the bishops and said the only thing that separates people
from Jesus is the church.
No wonder C.S.
Lewis' old demon told the young demon that their best work is done at the steps
of the chancel.
The people who
said/say they were/are the closest to God did/do their worst to distance
themselves and those under their influence from the incarnate God.
The enfleshed God
who filled Holy Scripture full of its eternally intended meaning was/is
rejected by those, like me, who were/are stubbornly, heinously, murderously
Has anything really changed since His
Or do we still
have this instinct - let's call it original sin or total depravity - to
descend from the theocentric to the egocentric to the peril of everyone around
Since that apocalyptic
moment, I've realized why I've had this deep disdain for clergy, like me, in
the deepest recesses of my soul.
people twice as fit for...
conspire to murder...
I can barely
read/recite His sorrow: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem...clergy...women and men
who say they know Father and Son and Holy Spirit...how often I would have
gathered you together as a hen gathers her baby chicks but you..."
scratching the surface of my relationship with Jesus.
I've learned to
say about most things, "I may be wrong about this; but here's what I
think...If I am wrong by the example of Jesus, explanation of Holy Scripture,
and common sense, please tell me so I may confess, repent, and honor Him."
I've learned I'm
only 100% certain about...Jesus being Lord and Savior.
Annnnnnnd considering all
of the below juxtaposed to all of the above, thank God for His forgiveness
through faith in Jesus!
Gerry helped me
to realize how wrong I have been about...
has come to me with some of the inane things that some pewsitting and
pulpiteering people really care about...[If I have to catalogue 'em for you,
you may be among the "some" who've brought 'em to me!]...that bear no
consequence to the rise and fall of the kingdom, I've often blurted, "I
really don't care about..."
After one of
those blurtings in front of Gerry, he corrected me: "Bob, I think you
really do care.
You care about the people who care too much about the wrong things. But
you do care and I know it!"
about being wrong sooooooo often,
I admitted/admit he is right about how I've been wrong.
I really, really,
really care about people even when they really, really, really...
refreshed since admitting I was wrong about that.
refreshed since admitting I really, really, really care about mainline and
sideline denominations including my own, the left and right and sideways,
Democrats and Republicans, Bears and Packers, along with all of the below who
really, really, really need, like me, to become more intimate with all of the
Annnnnnnd as I get closer
to Jesus - and I've got such a long way to go as I'm just scratching the
surface of my relationship with Him - I find myself tearing up whenever I
read/recite that lament of His over clergy like me.
Maybe that's why
my spirit is filled with more sorrow than anger these days.
always insisted we never end an essay or paper or book or something homiletical
with a quote; but, these days, I'm feeling like the Tin Man: "Now I know I
have a heart; because I can feel it breaking."
She had been
around and in and out of many churches before coming to ours about seven
She offended a
good friend, often mentor, and visionary elder on the corner of Lincoln and
Main by referring to me as a jackass.
He came to me and
complained about her referring to me as a jackass: "I won't tolerate
anyone calling my pastor a jackass."
"Well, uh, while I don't think I'm a total
jackass, I think I can be something
of a jackass every now and then."
There are three sides
to every story: her side, his side, and the truth.
I can be
something of a jackass every now and then.
Keep that in mind
as you read on.
I had jury duty
again on Monday.
Last time was
back in 2012; and you can read about it by going to the right column, clicking
on 2012, and then clicking on "Jail or Jury Duty for Pastor Bob on
my mind on much of what I wrote back then; but I've got a few more
amplifications along with a
strategy for permanent disqualification for ever being called again for jury
We had to report
by 9:00 a.m. so we could sit around for about an hour before they showed
us a film about the privileges/responsibilities of serving as a juror.
meetings, they hold up everybody else for people who think it's rude to be on
I felt patriotic
when hearing about other countries that don't have jury systems/opportunities.
and within, I grew anxious when they talked about the jury-of-peers thing.
I felt kinda
important when they said jurors are more important to the judicial system than
lawyers and judges; but then noted we were getting $12 a day and $.10 mileage
and wondered who they thought they were kidding.
Lots of waiting
Then we went home
because they didn't need us.
Not to worry.
It's only our tax
$ not at work.
I figured there
were several reasons why it was a mistake to call me for jury duty;
assuming any of 'em would disqualify me:
1. I'm a
pastor. I thought that separation of church and state thing would knock
2. I'm a
professor. There are people who talk about doing things and people who do
more than talk about things. I didn't think they wanted a professional
3. I'm a police
chaplain. I counsel and care for police officers as well as work with and
for 'em. If that doesn't make me a bigot on the side of law and order,...
4. I've got this distrust
of lawyers; knowing they service whoever's paying 'em without much real regard
for truth, justice, and the American way. Kinda reminds me of another
5. I worked on
the campaigns for a local judge and the state's attorney. If that doesn't
make me a bigot on the side of law and order,...
6. I'm a
Christian. Aren't we disqualified from most kinds of public service these
7. I can be
something of a jackass every now and then.
None of that worked.
strategy for permanent disqualification for ever being called again for
One of the other
jurors was wearing a T-shirt that expressed her feelings for the occasion:
"Just Another Day in Paradise."
That gave me the
idea to get a T-shirt with "Let's Talk About Jesus" on it.
If you make one
up for me, I promise to wear it.
I couldn't return
on Tuesday to sit around wasting more tax $; so they rescheduled me for
How about black
letters on an orange T or orange letters on a black T?
I will wear a
nice blue blazer so as not to appear too contemptuous and maybe, uh,
maybe, uh, be permanently disqualified for ever being called again for
So what the
heaven does this have to do with remnant?
It's all about
talking about Jesus whenever and wherever with whomever.
I really want to
be held in contempt for that by people who don't love Him by the book.
Annnnnnnd now you
also know why I wasn't offended when she referred to me as a jackass.
Things like jury
duty and denominational jingoism/idolatry bring out the...in me.