Another Symptom of the Thanatos Libido in the Mainline
“You ask why we started Blackhawk Presbyterians for Fidelity?
If you can’t see the symptoms of the thanatos libido in the
mainlines moving to the sidelines, I can’t explain it to you.
Trying to be rational with the irrational is illogical.
But let me put it another way.
Change is inevitable.
Fighting change is bad stewardship.
Overcoming change is enfleshed Matthew 10:16.
If I have to explain that to you…”
He was one of my two closest friends in seminary.
We buried the other one almost 25 years ago in Kansas City.
The three of us played on the only softball team that could beat the university administration’s ringers.
We often skipped the second hour of Dr. Metzger’s class to watch the coeds rowing at the lake as we munched on Hoagie Haven’s specials.
Speaking of a thanatos libido, the three of us rode iron ponies to New Hope after Greek on Fridays.
After graduating, getting stripes that don’t heal, and almost losing our souls in high steeples of isolationistic privilege, we returned many summers to hobnob with the rest of the elite; and one night jumped over the fence to the married students’ pool with a bottle of Yukon Jack and scolded a middler who threatened to call the police, “Go ahead and we’ll stop sending money that pays for your tuition and board.”
We never claimed to be pure and perfect in every…any…way.
We’ve always understood the same for our denomination; though too many in it have anesthetized their spirits to that reality.
My remaining brother has always been more stable than me.
He hasn’t delighted in salting the franchise as much as me.
Unlike me, he gets no sick pleasures from poking bears.
Maybe it’s because my dad was a lifer in the Air Force and his was a lifer in the PCUSA and its predecessors.
Maybe it’s because he went to seminary after college and a tour as a SF cop while I just went after college, Boy Scouts, a paper route, lifeguarding in the Poconos, and living off the good name of the Kopps in Wyoming Valley.
He served a church for over three decades and finally convinced me that’s how it should be which is why I’m nowhere near retirement deep into the second decade of undershepherding on the corner of Lincoln and Main.
Anyway, because he will always be older than me with some health inheritances that restrict his spirit, he retired.
What has happened to him since by ecclesiastical bureaucrats and fainthearted presbyters will probably kill the church that he served so faithfully as another symptom of the thanatos libido in the mainline.
Parenthetically, before reading on, it’s important to recognize most mainline denominations care more about process and organizational charts and Robert’s Rules and imagined proprieties and inane pathological habits and antependia and anachronistic liturgies and Turabian and MLA and Gregg and how they’re “viewed” by secular idols…than Biblical, confessional, constitutional, traditional, historical, and common sense Christianity which must be making Jesus barf in a Matthew 15 and 23 kinda way.
He was never charged with any misconduct during his tenure.
Though following someone who went on to be president of a seminary that’s full of itself with more money than Trump or the Clinton Foundation, the church matured and grew and built upon the best of the past in remarkable ways.
Let me repeat.
He was never charged with any misconduct during his tenure; moreover, he served his presbytery with distinction, served on many boards of trustees of highly respected institutions, and never, never, never engaged in any kind of schismatic activities.
Though he was not like too many of the mindless drones in mainline denominations who have no consciences captive to Jesus and swallow whatever their franchises belch out with hardly anything even coincidental to Jesus by the book, he was a company man who played by the rules and rarely rocked the boat while funneling tons of denarii into their coffers.
Here’s what he and the church got in return during the not so sweet years commencing retirement; or as he refers to it, “our years of exile.”
All under the guise of clearing the way for his successor which proves agape as well as Jesus is far from the SOP of the franchise with lame “interim” rationalizations that would make Pharisees blush, here’s what the control freaks who care more about their organizational idolatries have ruled dictatorially for him, his family, and the saints in the church who still need God’s graces through him:
- He cannot talk to church members;
- He cannot set foot on church property;
- Church members are forbidden to request him to preside at weddings and funerals; and he is forbidden from attending weddings and funerals;
- He must deny all requests for pastoral care, hospital visits, and the like which, I guess, includes people who are suicidal and need immediate care more than bureaucratic BS;
- The current interim has decreed he is not welcome back in any way until a new pastor is called and then only if the new pastor invites or “permits” him to come back;
- Church members as well as this fellah have been told they can’t speak to each other even if they bump into each other in the grocery store, local school, restaurant, or any “public” place; and
- His wife, who is a member of the church, is supposed to abide by the same nonsense.
Apart from such proscriptions being totally antithetical to any Christian ethic personified in Jesus and prescribed in Holy Scripture, the judicatory “enforcing” this stuff seems to forget the Bill of Rights in our Constitution.
Of course, knowing how many of them still have Karl, Josef, Mao, Angela, Fidel, George, and…as role models, I guess it’s, uh, logical.
While I suspect this report will prompt some interesting rationalizations and hysterical defensiveness from professional interims and their enablers, this is another sordid symptom of the thanatos libido in the PCUSA and her sister mainliners that have moved to the sidelines of religious life and influence in America; and if I have to explain this to you, you wouldn’t understand anyway because you’ve been blinded by someone or something other than Jesus by the book.
Have you ever been surprised to hear what you’ve said?
Because no one reads my books or rarely listens to what I say on Sundays, I’m not quoted that often; but, recently, this particular “retired” pastor quoted me in an installation service which he may or may not have done with the permission of his denomination’s thought police and Gestapo: “The church has too often lost its first love. As preacher Bob Kopp said, ‘The problem with the church back then and here and now isn’t that it’s too political or social or theological or liturgical or anything else, but that it’s lost its passion for Jesus Christ. Jesus just isn’t who He used to be around the church anymore.’”
I believe an accurate assessment about why mainline denominations are going everywhere but to heaven.
This is just another symptom of their thanatos libido.
When I shared my sadness about this with my administrative assistant, she asked, “How can the other pastors in that presbytery or members of the church allow this to happen?”
I said, “That’s what happens when there’s nobody willing to shatter the sound of silence. That’s what happens when people don’t look up, stand up, speak up, and act up for Jesus. That’s what happens when people don’t salt, shine, and leavenate.”
In short, that’s what happens when Jesus is no longer Lord and Savior - when made-up religion about Jesus replaces a relationship with Him.
Blessings and Love!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!
Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Thank you for your writing. You are a breath of sobriety and sanity--maybe not in that order!--in a topsy denomination. I love reading your disclosures and they spark my discipleship.
As to the informality of my form of address for you--well, I'm your younger colleague by a year or so ('53); I, too, went to Princeton and studied under Bruce Metzger and Dr. Mac (Donald as I called him)--class of '82; I claim three (3) honorary, imaginary, worthless but impressive sounding doctorates which I trot out whenever my ego needs a boost; and am happily a TE, HR. Love being a Teaching Elder and am unimpressed that the franchisers want to return to a nonsensical MWS--note the "s" is singular when we have two "s"esses, though I guess shouldn't give an S*%@.
You are in my prayers as one I give thanks for and whose ministry has enriched and profited my growth in faith. FTW, write on, ride on.
Just a fan in Tennessee, I pray,
God's peace to you,
Vicit agnus noster, eum sequamur.
Thank you for this article, as a retired minister in forced exile from a presbytery in the Synod of the South East, I know the truth of this situation. The Presbyteries are not guarding the integrity of the congregations they are stealing the resources of Bible Believing churches to fund the social agenda of the liberal left. They have denied the power and truth of Jesus Christ for a lie.
Your note is a tonic to my soul, mon ami
Great KD, A real headscratcher for sure.
As an associate at my first church I saw the ugly underside of all of this. The former senior pastor wouldn’t let go. The current senior pastor was paranoid. The former SP’s wife was a piece of work. Countless church members came to my office and asked, “Aren’t these 2 men Christians?”
Lesson I learned: Move away when I retire. Save everyone a lot of heartache.
See, someone read your post.
Very well said, Brother ! Another excellent example of liberal inclusion by exclusion .
Pastor Kopp, You Preach the truth and it`s all about Jesus. That`s what we all need Jesus. Thanks you Pastor Bob, For just being you.
I think your K.D . is your best work so far...really righteous.
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