Thursday, December 21, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Scratching the Surface



(A Brief and Incomplete Look at the Difference Between Like/Is)

Albert Einstein was a familiar face at Princeton Theological Seminary.  While teaching at the university, he was a frequent guest lecturer at the seminary.

Although one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century, he was very forgetful.

It wasn’t unusual to spot him strolling across the seminary campus without one of his socks or both of his shoes!

There is one story of how the university switchboard received a call asking for Dr. Einstein’s address.  The operator said, “I’m sorry, but Dr. Einstein has made it clear to us that we are not to give out his address to anyone.”  “But,” the voice whispered after a short pause, “This is Dr. Einstein.”

It is important to know who you are.

Buuuuuuut it is even more important to know who Jesus is.

That’s why Constantine called the bishops to Nicaea in the first quarter of the 4th century.

Arius had confused people with his Biblically illiterate nonsense about Jesus being kinda like God but not really true God.

There is a difference between like and is.

That’s what the Council of Nicaea was all about.  It was called to declare definitively if Jesus was like God or is God.

Relying on Biblical revelation (e.g., John 1, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1), the answer was unmistakable: “We believe…in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.”

Simply, Jesus is not like God.  Jesus is God.

Jesus is Emmanuel or God-with-us – the incarnation/enfleshment of God.

Or as one child exclaimed upon finally figuring Him out, “Jesus is God with skin on.

That’s why the earliest confession of the church was so clear, concise, and conclusive: “Jesus Christ is Lord!”

Jesus is God.

The message of Christmas is God’s incarnation/enfleshment in Jesus with the intent of enabling our confident living and eternal life through faith in Him as Lord and Savior.

Here’s a letter for parents about the real meaning of Christmas:

Dear Mom and Dad,

It’s hard to believe Christmas is just around the corner.  Tree lots are springing up and McDonald’s is selling movies again; though I’m not sure what their selections have to do with the season.  But in some strange way, all of it gets me pretty excited.

I know you’re wondering what to give the kids this year.  It seems nobody remembers what you gave them last year.  There aren’t many things that don’t wear out, get thrown out, or become played out.  That’s why I’m writing.  I’ve got an idea that can change all of that.

Do you remember when your babies were born?  Do you remember how you were lost in wonder, love, and praise?  Do you remember when they were baptized?  You promised to tell them about Jesus.  Do you remember those first Christmas Eve services when their faces seemed to glow even more than the candles in their little hands?  Do you remember listening to them sing about that “Silent Night, Holy Night” for the first time?  I know you remember when they saw the manger scene and exclaimed with such innocent joy, “There’s baby Jesus!”

I know you know what to give them for Christmas.

I’m not one of those Scrooge-like posing “Christians” who make holidays look like a bad case of hemorrhoids.  I like popcorn balls, candy canes, cookies with sprinkles, eggnog, mistletoe, and even the funny man in the red suit.  They help to make the season bright.

I just want you to remember why we’re always excited; and not just around this time of the year.

It’s all about a baby.  Jesus.  Emmanuel.

So give Jesus to the kids!  He is the only gift that last forever!

Blessings and Love!


Blessings and Love!


Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!



Friday, December 15, 2017

If You Are/Know A Cigar Snob

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



    O.K., this is a little genre departure for KD.

    It may be a little too masculine for...

    It's a special edition for cigar snobs and people who know cigar snobs and don't mind connecting 'em to other cigar snobs.



    The following is a string of alerts to cigar snobs; beginning with the most recent.

    Enjoy...or not...

    Forward...or not...

    Only time on this site; so if you or she/he want to...

Sent: Friday, December 15, 2017 7:21 AM
Subject: Cigar Snobs Alert from the Back Porch (9)

First feedback edition.

Before I get to that, I was introduced to Cuban fumas back in the early 70s while studying in Heidelberg.

No embargo.

Well, I'd almost forgotten how much I liked 'em as I bought into the self-gratifying-market-deluding sentiment that transplanted seeds into foreign soils across the water from the island have resulted in fumas as good as and sometimes even better than Cuba's most renowned export apart from liberation theology.

It's kinda like saying, "I just bought a new artificial plastic evergreen with real Christmas spirit because I'm tired of taking Lassie out to look for a tree."

O.K., maybe, occasionally, rarely close...but no, uh, cigar.


It's kinda like saying, 'Yeah, those New Jersey Vidalia onions are just as good as the ones from Georgia."


Anyway, my favorite-mayor-of-all-time gave a Cohiba Behike 56 to me for Christmas and I had an OBE with it on the way back from UW Hospital Madison on Tuesday night.

Burned my fingers to the nails!

The word awesome just doesn't quite capture the transcendence.

Don Norek - go to the archives of to read up on one of my continuing heroes - would treat me to a Cuban Cuban every once in a while; so I wasn't completely out of the loop pero that was infrequent because he'd also pawn off clones to moi with a wink.  Sooooooo if you can get your hands and spirit on one of those pre-et-post Castro babies, indulge!

O.K., some feedback.

Pennsylvania: On dealing with aftertaste if you're fortunate enough to have someone who wants to stick her/his tongue down your throat: "Bourbon mouthwash - preferably 101 or higher."  BC, Digger, and Judge have said the same thing to me.

Illinois: "You're killing me, man!  And I can't believe you are giving these away!"  Nice.  Appreciate it.  But have you seen my book sales?  In one of the most humiliating experiences of my life, I'm running behind the toothy guy from Texas in sales by about ten trillion to one.  Wouldn't mind a nod from Thompson but not holding my breath except for a Cohiba Behike 56.

Pennsylvania: "Why don't you start a website like your other one?"  Because webmaster Kathie is kind enough with and I don't know if this string is too, uh, masculine for, uh, broader appeal.  I mean, really, I think some of the things that you like about CSAFTBP would get you into trouble if you ever uttered 'em in front of what, I guess, according to professors and papers and journalists and sissy clerics and other politicians marching to the beat of Gloria's tambourine, is the much more fragile of the genders.  Notice I said genders.  From what I hear from mainline ecclesiastical franchises and the ACLU, God remains wrong.  There are a lot more than two. 

Missouri: "I've been forwarding these to friends.  Is that O.K.?" Sure. With my fan base, beggars can't be choosers; but if you have 'em, send their e-mail addresses to me and I'll put 'em on the first edition mailing list and they won't have to trust your discretion.  Uh, wait a second.  I'll probably be accused of some kinda harassment if I send them unsolicited.  It's happened with as cupcakes and snowflakes can't handle Jessup's assumption.  So have them send their addresses to me and I'll hook 'em up.  But, again, forward away!  Hey, send some to Thompson and CA but not Megyn Kelly or doe-eyed Rachel Maddog.

South Dakota: "How often are you going to send these out?  I really like them.  They're better than the serious things that you write."  Great.  Just great.  Maybe that's why my denomination won't let me speak at their self-gratifying biennials.  Not surprised.  Peterson, Bright, Ogilvie, Evans, Larson, Lovelace, Gagnon, Legvold, and...weren't 'good' enough for 'em.  I wonder if Calvin or Farel or Luther or Bullinger or Barth or Bonhoeffer or even Paul or John or even... Per your interrogative, when I feel like it; which usually happens when I'm tired of babysitting, refereeing, officiating, pontificating, deliberating, consoling, consulting, defecating, inspecting, injecting, detecting, or cleaning the restrooms and collecting the trash while we wait for our new custodian to start.

Alabama: "I was offended by your insinuations about Alabama in the last edition."  Join the club.  I live for that.  Salt.  Light.  Leaven.  Get it?  You need to talk to my dad to figure out what I'm trying to say.  After I voted for McGovern, he said, "Son, now I know I don't have to worry about you.  You don't need drugs!"  Speaking of Ps, my favorites are 1, 16, 35, and 40 with JFK being the best because he had much better taste in, uh, uh, uh, fumas than even, uh, uh, uh, Bubba who can be excused because of being married to you know who and, most important, 35 had the common sense to stock up on authentic Upmanns when he had the chance which, of course, he did because he knew when he was going to make sure that proletarians like moi had to study in Germany to get 'em.  BTW, will someone puhhhlease teach Maxine how to pronounce 45?  She reminds me of the chick who kept talking about "Eric Clapner. I like Eric Clapner."

O.K., that's it for the first feedback edition.

If Santa is kinder to me than he's been to Alabama, you should get the next edition before the 1st.

Merry Christmas!

It is about Jesus, uh, you used to know, uh, no matter what your local school board or Rahm says.

BTW, Rahm?

Does that guy have no shame or what?

Him criticizing anyone anywhere about anything related to leadership is like me telling my favorite/personal mechanic Jason how to fix the truck that I don't have.

----- Original Message -----
From: Bob Kopp
Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 2:56 PM
Subject: Cigar Snobs Alert from the Back Porch (8)

Dear Santa,

Why did you put coal in Alabama's stocking?

You didn't give much of a choice to them - creep or crook.

I would have thought you'd learned something from the last candidates for POTUS.

The guy who won can't keep his hands off, uh, uh, uh, Twitter and the, uh, whazzzzzzztheword, uh, uh, oh, yeah, gal who lost is the antidote for sexual harassment.

Alabama was worse - sissy or Allen/Brooks phallic symbol.

I guess we'll see.

Too bad.

Anyway, if you're not going to come through with a Ford 150 or big plastic card to Woodstock Harley-Davidson or Marengo Guns or box of favorite fumas, please hold off on anything related to Crimson Ridge, A&F, Ulta, Bath and Body Works, Megyn Kelly, or any of those restaurants hawking rabbit food for anorexics.

No books about either Obama; though any book by Chernow, Metaxas, or Vonnegut that I haven't read is cool.

I don't want any more evolved gravy rags aka ties.  Medieval.  Really, think about it.  They look stupid.  Yeah, I know some women like 'em because they're so tight around our necks and encourage that Janis Joplin song about balls and chains and soccer moms like gayish guys more than manish ones with closely/neatly cropped facial hair; but I don't wear 'em that much anymore and may have even forgotten how to get that bourgeoisified dimple in there to satisfy the fashion police.

No subscriptions, please, to news magazines or papers.  I'm so tired of the man-hater columnists who flatter themselves into thinking anyone would want to harass 'em and, while I'm no Trumper because the Christian in me ain't into idolatries unless it's a real Partagas or Punch or Cohiba from Cuba , the Freudian in me suspects guys like Robinson, Anderson, Joe, John, anyone at the NYTs and WP and Time and Newsweek and MSNBC and most local rags, have insatiable man-crushes on him.

Really, isn't that what's fashionable in America these days?

It slays me to admit this; but maybe that's among the myriad of maddening reasons why Muslims like America about as much as bacon-topped pork tenderloins.

I can buy my own underwear and socks.

I eat too much as it is.


I've got enough of that.

If You're not coming up with one of those Animal House "Thank You, God!" serendipities, how about a Mary moment in the true spirit of the season: "And Mary kept all these things; pondering them in her heart"?

Yeah, I'd like that.

I'd just like time to sit on the back porch and think about Jesus and who He is and what He has done for us and our salvation by grace through faith.

That's really enough for me.

Time off and alone with Jesus.

Of course, if you've got an extra Partagas Lusitania and bottle of B&B in that sack while I'm sitting on the...

----- Original Message -----
From: Bob Kopp
Sent: Sunday, December 10, 2017 11:47 AM
Subject: Cigar Snobs Alert from the Back Porch (7)

Fuma aftertaste is not bad breath.

Pero, of course, that may be hard to explain to somebody who just stuck her...uh, whoa, geez, gulp, gasp, sigh, uh, uh, uh...or his tongue in your mouth.

Frankly, after too much marital and post-marital psychospiritualtherapy for too long, I've reached the conclusion that the challenge cited in the previous sentence-paragraph is about as common as veracity in government, media, education, entertainment, jurisprudence, and, alas, too many churches where it seems too many pulpiteers and pewsitters have forgotten Christianity is about, uh, Jesus.

Be that as it is, there are exceptions to the rule; and while exceptions to the rule are called exceptions to the rule because they occur so infrequently that they are called exceptions to the rule, I will assume there are some cigar snobs who know somebody who wants to stick her/his tongue in their mouths without dealing with an aftertaste that they not us find repugnant.

Parenthetically, one of the graces for cigar snobs like us of not having anyone interested in sticking her/his tongue in our mouths is savoring the aftertaste of a righteous fuma.

Pero, again, if you do have somebody who wants to stick her/his tongue in your mouth apr├Ęs a fuma but doesn't like the aftertaste and you want to do something about it so she/he will stick her/his tongue in your mouth, here are some suggestions.

Garlic works yet presents a whole set of new challenges.

Hydrogen peroxide kinda works; and it's cheap with the down side being bleaching tongue hairs.

Gum, mints, parsley, lemons, oranges, cranberries, kiwi, marshmallow chicks, chunky peanut butter, gross smelling cheeses, and tablespoons of sugar kinda work but lose their effectiveness as quickly as monologues by Rachel, Anderson, Nancy, Chelsea, or Sean.

Flossing kinda helps.

Baking soda, in my opinion, is kinda the best; as long as you brush the roof of your mouth, gums, tongue, under the tongue, inside the cheeks, teeth, down your throat, tonsils if still hanging in, and everywhere else within reach.  Then gargle!

Notice I qualified each suggestion with kinda.

The preceding hypothetical solutions only minimize aftertaste.

The only way to eliminate aftertaste is to do lots of the above, shower, and sleep it off; knowing cigar snobs will start all over again in a few hours after the alarm sounds.

Truth is a righteous fuma leaves an aftertaste that cigar snobs savor while others abhor.


So there's the choice.

Scroll down to #2 for Twain's take on that.

BTW, if you've got facial hair...

----- Original Message -----
From: Bob Kopp
Sent: Saturday, December 02, 2017 7:56 AM
Subject: Cigar Snobs Alert from the Back Porch (6)

Q: "How do you know if you've sucked down a righteous fuma?"

A: "Aside from the serene soul OBE via an oasis apart from life's meanness, madness, misery, and miscreance, your thumb, index, and middle fingers will start burning as you hold out for the last draw of the heavenly dispensation, baking soda will be put on hold, and you'll run to the can for a completely cleansing dump."

Or something like that.

It starts with lighting it.

First things first.

Dogs are bitten and cigars are clipped.

After clipping off the cap only and not slicing into the body with your favorite cutter - I like a double-bladed guillotine but carry a punch for box/square-pressed favs - there are several options for ignition.

When they're working, I prefer butane-filled lighters.  They're odorless, colorless, quick, complete, and conclusive.  Buuuuuuut notice I said I prefer them when they're working.  Coupled with shopping for fuel and fueling up and carrying around more crap than convenient, they are fickle and tend not to work on cold days which is a challenge in areas like the northern stateline of Illinois during our 7-9 months of winter.

Zippo fluid-filled lighters are the coolest.  How about that sound when you open and close 'em?  Awesome!  As long as they're filled and the flints are fresh, they're more reliable than their butane brothers.  Buuuuuuut ya gotta buy fluid and ya gotta have extra flints and lighter fluid can, on occasion if you're not careful, taint the first puff or three with the same chemical taste that ruins burgers flavored with charcoal and, uh, lighter fluid.

Paper matches work; buuuuuuut, again, they have chemical additives that sometimes sneak into the first or third draw annnnnnnd they're short and tend to burn your fingers before they light your fuma.

Wooden matches, especially for snobs like us, are the best!  Classic, consistent, not corrupted following the nano-second of combustion, cheap, and available at your nearest dollar store.

More tips.

Don't put the cigar into the flame!

With gentle puffs, draw the heat from the flame into the cigar!

It will take a few seconds longer but will result in an entire ring-size glow for a smooth and even smoke.

BTW, Thompson's December 2017 snail-mail-hard-copy-best-potty-reading-ever catalogue has one of the best deals ever for one of my standards and one about to crack the top five.  Their "Double Down" offer, pairing two premiums at discounted prices, is featuring, among many other worthy selections, a Montecristo Reserva Negra and Macanudo Inspirado Black combo for under $40.  O.K., that's $.05 under $40 yet it's a superb opportunity for cigar snobs like us.

Blessings and Love!

----- Original Message -----
From: Bob Kopp
Sent: Saturday, November 25, 2017 7:29 AM
Subject: Cigar Snobs Alert from the Back Porch (5)

Being snobs doesn't mean we have to be stupid.

That's for clergy and other politicians.

Preferences come to mind.

Preferences for cigar snobs are as diverse as detailing iron ponies for road warriors.

One man's treasure is another man's turd.

For example, have you ever smoked a CA 90+ rated stick and thought it was a White Owl?

Point is palates are diverse.

Recently, I went through it again.


I've never been a big RP guy; but his Sun Grown Maduro ain't bad.

Then there's Macanudo.

Never been a fan.

Ever since I smoked my first in 1969, I've thought they're as overrated as the Dallas Cowboys and Notre Dame.

But then Deadeye lit up a Macanudo Inspirado White pour moi.  It's pretty mild but a quite pleasurable smoke for any time of the day.

Then, as part of my wife's anniversary gesture, Leslie talked to Thompson about my history and ordered 5 Macanudo Inspirado Blackies that leave one of the best aftertastes ever.  While I'm still saving up for another box of Padron 7000s, I may get a box of MIBs if Santa is good to me.

So don't be stupid even if you're a snob.

Don't buy unless you're convinced; but try if, uh, you know, someone springs for ya.

Never know.

Especially when it comes to that MIB.

Indulge me if 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 comes to mind.

O.K., that's a stretch.

But that's the point.

Blessings and Love!

----- Original Message -----
From: Bob Kopp
Sent: Saturday, November 18, 2017 7:44 AM
Subject: Cigar Snobs Alert from the Back Porch (4)

Because I'm a cigar snob, I've never been into clones, seconds, or kindas.

When I think of that kinda stuff, I think of metrics and Beemers and Triumphs and Victories that will never be H-Ds; or I think of self-gratification which, uh, well, uh,...never mind.

Anyway, my wife is starting to catch on; and though she hasn't bought a truck for me or stopped joining my mom on the helmet thing which Digger says has the only benefit of casket appearance, she's ordering Cubans pour moi on important occasions.

She even gets a Thompson catalogue in her own name delivered to the house!

For our recent anniversary, she got some of those new R&Js noted below along with another 5-packer that's O.K. but wasn't listed by me annnnnnnnd, after consulting with Thompson's, she got a bundle of No. 99 Factory Throwouts.

After an early morning meeting with Adam and Brian that included my "any of 'em" favorite listed below, I headed to a meeting in Davenport, Iowa to hook up with Hans of for fraternity and forecasting.

I took along a No 99 and was stunned by a very decent smoke highlighted by a subtle sweetness not nearly as overpowering as anything from Drew Estate, easy draw (lit once), and consistent pleasure until the last inch that reminded me of some overrated RPs.

So I investigated.

While I haven't been able to figure out who's throwin' 'em out, it's a premium producer who doesn't like the "uneven coloring" on the wrapper; ergo, it doesn't pass quality control and gets thrown out for us to pick up at unreally low prices from Thompson's.

BTW, it's a Churchill and lasted for two hours...before the last inch.

It's my new lawnboy, hunter, snow bro, and maybe even occasional...

Blessings and Love!

----- Original Message -----
From: Bob Kopp
Sent: Friday, November 10, 2017 7:52 AM
Subject: Cigar Snobs Alert from the Back Porch (3)

Packed pony at Digger's yesterday.

With no more golf with Billy until the thaw, no truck, and no pony, my relaxations/refuelings are limited to cellular prayer and Cubans.

Of course, I'm not into opium dens or thick-clouded-suffocating stick lounges with unavoidable alien fragrances; ergo, I've learned to bundle up and back porch it more than less though less than three seasons.

Having, uh, vented, here are a few suggestions for winter that, in our neck of the woods, should be over in less than seven months.

Unless you're cheating on your wife - "No, honey, I don't spend more than $10 a month on Cubans and you can't believe how much money I save when ordering from Tampa!" - or screwing the IRS - they deserve it - you need some inexpensive though surprisingly tasty smokes while cutting leaves and tuning up the snowblower.

Thompson is running a great deal on one of my favorite lawnboys: Quorum Double Gordo with an Ecuador-Sumatra wrapper.  You can get a bundle of 20 for $55.80 with the added bonus of a Thompson Cigar 100th Anniversary Hat which is very cool.  Got one!  It really annoys the PC social engineering sissy leftists when you wear it at the mall and especially Barnes and Nobles or a clergy meeting.  It's a good 90 minute oasis. 

I'm not going to be distracted from my favorites (scroll down) while fulfilling honey-do stuff; but Quorum isn't bad during such times; and if your yard/driveway/whatever takes longer than 90 minutes, you can always tag on my favorite quick Cuban via Kentucky, Tennessee, and Scranton, Pennsylvania: Parodi!  They're good for 30 minutes; and especially good if I've cooked some for you with my special B&B recipe.

Remember, time your Cubans by gauge and length and brand so you don't waste 'em.

Size does matter.

One more thing.

Unless you're a total geek, forget cyberspace and call Thompson at 800-237-2559 for the best potty-reading-break-the-10th-commandment cigar catalogue on the market.

Blessings and Love!

----- Original Message -----
From: Bob Kopp
Sent: Thursday, November 09, 2017 5:47 AM
Subject: Cigar Snobs Alert from the Back Porch (2)

The FDA has determined the health risks of 1-2 cigars a day are nil.


RRK has determined the relaxation and fraternity benefits are incalcuably positive.


Twain has said a cigar lasts longer than___and no one talks back.


----- Original Message -----
From: Bob Kopp
Sent: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 7:52 AM
Subject: Cigar Snobs Alert from the Back Porch

The new R&J 1875 Anniversario Maduro, available in boxes and part of Thompson's 5-Pack Fever offerings, has moved into my top 5 along with any Padron, Montecristo Reserva Negra, Punch Gran Puro Natural, and Camacho Legendaria Bertha (can't understand why Thompson doesn't carry this one as it carries all of my other favorites at spectacular prices and special care in handling/mailing).

Really, while I imbibed my first just last night, it is really, really, really off the charts in subtle tastes, easy full draw, and lasting pleasure; except, my wife said she could smell it foruhever.

Treat yourself before the eschaton!

I expect it to be my next box purchase which should occur prior to the parousia.

Blessings and Love!


Blessings and Love!


Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!



Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Church Staff Christmas Cheer

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)




I am sharing this with elders.

This is especially for new staff members; for older staff members like me and Karen who will always be a year older than me already know how we pray and labor to try to make the season bright for everybody else and catch a lot of everything but heaven along the way.

Anyway, as I've said, this is among the worst parts of the year for church employees.

Depressed people are more depressed, angry people are more angry, unforgiving people are more unforgiving, speck-inspectors (see 12/8/17 post) are miserable about their log-filled lives and transferring it to anyone who's handy, and everybody expects you to save their children and make the season bright for them and it's your fault if you don't, etc., etc., etc.

It happens every year; or, at least, I've seen it for a long time.

In other words, don't take the irregularity, irascibility, and irreconcilability that personally; and don't hesitate to come see me for a cup of caffeine, chat, and prayer.

I praise God for you and I am here for you during one of the most difficult times in church life.

Yes, our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main is much better than most; and while I know that because I do a lot of parochial and ecumenical consulting and I'm not stuck in the ghetto of thinking nobody's as good or bad as us on any given day, we are not immune to pejorative pathologies being transferred to nicer folks like you.

Or, maybe, just come to me for continuing education on original sin.

Get closer to Jesus and He will make the season bright for you too!

Blessings and Love!


Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!



Friday, December 8, 2017

Reconsidering Retirement

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


"Jesus said, 'Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye but don't notice the log in your own eye?'
I may be wrong but I think a part of what Jesus was saying is speck-inspectors have such miserable
log-filled lives that they point out what's wrong with other people betraying some pejorative
pathology that deludes them into thinking they are somehow better than others when,
deep down, they know they are so miserably worse, pathetic, and decaying.  They
light fires in the backyards of others because they think it will distract people
from seeing how their houses are burning down.  Jesus called them
hypocrites because they mask the reality of their depravity."



    Retirement is anathema to me by call and desire.

    I've written about it before for my favorite ecclesiastical news website (scroll down for "Scratching the Surface of Retirement").

    Summarily, I haven't believed in retirement unless a person wants to quit because she/he doesn't like the job anymore, never should have taken the job in the first place, health issues prevent continuing, and there's enough money in the piggy bank to ride off into the sunset.

    Simply, if you like what you're doing and can still do it and don't have anything better in mind, why stop?

    Of course, I've also said I may be wrong on some or many or most things; and if they're pointed out by Jesus, Holy Scripture, and common sense, I will confess, repent, and ask forgiveness.

    All of the preceding came to mind when a seminary friend retired.

    While he is older than me, having served as a cop in California preceded by a stint as a longshoreman while I was still working on merit badges for the BSA, I was stunned by why he quit.

    He said he was getting cranky.

    Yeah, I've mentioned that as part of why a person may retire; but I'd never really considered that to be a prime reason for quitting until one of my two best friends in seminary confessed increasing crankiness as the cause to hand in the keys.

    As I think about it, I guess I'd follow his path if that pathology began to plague others because it was plaguing me.

    On the other hand, the closer that I get to Jesus, a slow-moving but determined journey, fewer things/people unnerve me as I'm increasingly overwhelmed by His love and experience the supernatural fruit of increasing intimacy (check out Galatians 5).

    But, yeah, if I become cranky more often not, noting everybody has bad days including moi, I'll quit.

    A few months ago, I was tested.

    A clergywoman from a non-Trinitarian religion made an appointment to see me and said, "I've been reading your materials for a long time and I've decided to tell you that I don't like your style or what you have to say."

    First reaction: "Wow!  I'm flattered that you even read what I write.  I guess I'm wrong.  Maybe some people actually do read what I write.  Yet, uh, I guess, uh, that you don't read what I write anymore because you don't like how I write and what I say when I write."

    Then she started to tell me that I'm too direct, candid, sometimes raw, and too blatantly Christian in what I write about.

    Private thoughts: "I'm not getting into a tinkling contest with a skunk...You're wearing perfume that could knock over a bull at 50 paces...Being that you don't write yet criticize how I write, Moody's retort to mainliners who didn't like the way that he did evangelism comes to mind: 'I prefer the way that I do it to the way that you don't do it!'...I'm not going to try to be rational with someone who's irrational because that would be illogical."

    BTW, I have a whole chapter on that last private thought in my book Fifteen Secrets pero nobody knows because nobody's read it.

    Second reaction: "Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.  I'm sorry if how I write and what I write about offends you; so I guess the only thing that makes sense is for you to join most people who don't read what I write."

    She insisted with discomforting passion, "But I want to show you how you can make me like you."

    Private thoughts: "I live for it...Are you hitting on me or what?...Wild horses dragging me by the tongue on a desert island after ten years away from my wife wouldn't interest me in you...Do you really think I'm going to renounce Jesus for your favor(s}?"

    I paid for the coffee.


    She thanked me and asked if we could get together again because she really wanted to convince me.

    I wasn't sure what she meant; so I didn't answer, didn't offer a kiss on the cheek which I usually do because I was getting weird vibes even though this was before sexual harassment displaced North Korea from the headlines, excused myself for a potty break, and didn't come out for a long time in hopes that she'd leave.

    She did.

    I had a Pentecostal moment.

    While I'm still trying to figure out what I did wrong and right in that exchange, I never got cranky; recalling how some nuns in Maryland taught this lesson to me: "If you're right, you don't need to argue.  If you're wrong, you can't afford to argue."

    In short, retirement still ain't on my radar.

    I know that's disappointing to folks who hate me for good, bad, and otherwise.

    Really, I don't think I'll ever get too cranky again because I'm really praying and trying to get closer to Jesus and people who are getting closer to Jesus are increasingly filled, as Oswald Chambers observed, with strong calm sanity.

    With no apologies to the mean old hater who left our church because I'm too "psyched" for life and ministry or the clergywoman from another religion who was trying to convince me to whatever she had in mind, I'm just becoming happier and happier and happier and...



Blessings and Love!


Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!




Scratching the Surface



(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Considering Retirement)

Should you retire?


As you pray, reflect, and consult about it, you may want to factor some things into your decision.

Biblical Principles of Work/Vocation/Call

There are no explicit guidelines for retirement in the Bible.

I don’t know why for sure.

However, I can speculate.

Retirement is a recent luxury of wealthy civilizations: work hard, save up, quit/retire, and then, uh, do whatever you’d rather do because you don’t really like what you’re doing or aren’t able to do it anymore.

If a person is doing what God has called her or him to do and remains able regardless of age, she or he is happy doing what God has called her or him to do and retirement is not on the radar.

Really, if you’re doing a good job and like doing it and don’t have anything better to do by God’s providence and gifting, why in the name of anything but heaven would you quit/retire?

Assuming God breathed knowledge and wisdom into Paul, he said, “To each is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

Succinctly, our work/vocation/call honors God by helping people; or as Jesus emphasized, “As you do it for them, you do it for Me.”

Paul also wrote, “We each have different work to do.  We belong to each other; and each needs all of the others.” 

It’s axiomatic: the whole is equal to the sum of its parts.  God has made us dependent upon Him; and that dependence upon Him is reflected in our interdependence upon each other by His design and gifting.

When It’s Time to Quit/Retire

Admittedly, some people who can’t stand/stomach their jobs can’t quit/retire because they can’t afford to quit/retire.

Bills have to be paid; and lottery tickets or trusting governments to take care of our needs are not good retirement plans.

If you don’t like what you are doing and have saved up enough to cover future costs of living so that you really don’t have to do it and dread showing up to do it and are consistently cranky, contentious, contemptuous, counter-productive, and complaining about what you are doing, then don’t do it anymore!  Quit!  Retire!  You will be happier along with the people who are the targets of your transference.

If you don’t have to do what you’re doing, quit, retire, and sing, “Take this job and shove it!  I ain’t workin’ here no more!”

Life is short.

If you don’t like what you’re doing and don’t have to do it to survive, quit/retire!

Life is short.

If you like what you’re doing and can still do it and don’t have anything better in mind, why quit/retire? 

Quitting/retiring makes no sense if you don’t have something to do that you’re called to do and want to do for God’s sake.

People who quit/retire with nothing better to do usually end up listless, lifeless, aimless, and miserable; singing with John Cougar, “Oh yeah, life goes on long after the thrill of livin’ is gone.”

That’s why Mark Twain quipped, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

If you know who and what God has called you to be and do and never quit/retire from it, you will be happy, strong, calm, peace-filled/overflowing, and joyful until your last breath.

When I was in 8th grade, a high school senior wrote this in my yearbook: “May you live as long as you want to and want to as long as you live.”

Quit/retire from doing what you don’t want to do if you’ve saved up enough to quit/retire.

If you like what you’re doing and can still do it, then don’t quit/retire for God’s sake.

If you’re still whistling not whining while you work, don’t quit/retire!