Monday, March 8, 2021

Knocked Out of the Saddle...Again

   Kopp Disclosure

(John 3:19-21)


Knocked Out of the Saddle…Again

Many years ago on the corner of Lincoln and Main, church-hopper Jeanette said during a Wednesday evening choir rehearsal to no one’s objection, “Dr. Kopp is a jackass!”

A few days later, an elder came to me and said, “I heard Jeanette called you a jackass at choir practice.  I don’t like anybody calling my pastor a jackass.”

“But,” I said seriously as well as confessionally, “I can be a real jackass more often than I’d care to admit.”

It’s true.

I’ve always known I’m more than an occasional jackass that needs Jesus as my Lord and Savior since Donna exchanged penny candy for kisses in the cloakroom of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania’s Lincoln Street School in 4th grade.

Then there was Marilyn in 5th grade who…

No one is pure and perfect in every way.


That’s why Jesus came.

Go back to John 3:16-17 for a refresher.

Anyway, I got knocked out of the saddle…again…on March 7, 2021.

Actually, it happened four times that day.

Well, it was the 3rd Sunday in Lent.


First, during the sermon, I said the Mount Rushmore of golf would have to include Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods.  While I fended off people always looking for something wrong in the sermon by saying I know there are only four guys on the one in South Dakota, I think five should be on golf’s.

Greeting my-good-friend-and-better-golfer-than-me Steve after the service, I asked what he thought of my Mount Rushmore of golf.

He said, “You forgot Kathy Whitworth.”

He is right and I was wrong…again.

I’m reminded of when the gender imbalance changed in my third year of seminary and I got scolded by a professor for joking about it being because the degree programs were expanded to include a Mrs.

People were even losing their sense of humor way back then.

Second, a relative told me that I talk too loudly when I preach.  While I was surprised to hear anyone was actually tuning into our online broadcast of worship, I asked, “Which part?”

After teaching the subject in two seminaries and surviving over four decades in the business, I’ve still got people – even blood relatives – telling me that I suck.

Third, a guy that I’m really tight with said, “Now I don’t want you to be defensive; but you are kind of wordy when you preach and write.”


How can I argue with that?

My book sales are running about a trillion to one behind that toothy guy in Texas, which is really humiliating, and there’s never SRO at either worship service on Sunday.


I guess I’m doing something wrong.

I said, “If this sounds defensive, let me know; but I’ve always said my style is kinda influenced by Dali, Picasso, Buechner, and Vonnegut along with Burke lately and Pink Floyd as I was…”

He shrugged.

I thought, “I forgot to tell him that I want people to savor what I’m serving like sucking on a lozenge rather than gulping down a Whopper.”

Fourth, I was tempted to beat the…out of smartass millennial in the parking lot near Starbucks.

Let me set the scene.

I went through the drive-through, grabbed the cup of coffee with the top not securely fastened by the clerk, dumped the venti on my crotch, gave out a yelp like Jim Morrison, parked my truck, and went in for a refill.

I felt good about myself because I did not complain about the top not being securely fastened.

Then I went back to my truck and discovered that this guy had blocked my exit.  

He read my lips: “Really?”

He gave me the finger.

He read my lips: “…hole!”

I left before carnality overcame me.

I spent two hours going over 1 John 1:5-10 after that.

In short, Jeannette remains right.

Just like everybody else, I’m never going to not need Jesus as my Lord and Savior by grace through faith.

Simply, I pray and labor to make my life more than less pleasing to God by following Jesus by the book as enlightened by the Holy Spirit who never contradicts Jesus by the book while knowing I will never become so pleasing to God that I won’t need Him to save me by grace through faith in Jesus.

If that last sentence-paragraph sounds redundant, good.

We need constant reminders that we won’t live confidently and calmly without the assurance of eternal life by grace through faith in Jesus.

BTW, I was also knocked out of the saddle…again…while celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday that happens to be on the same day as mine.

One of my sons said he’s working on my eulogy because my days left aren’t nearly as many as those already spent.


While I’m sure there will be lots of folks that will share Jeanette’s sentiments if there’s a reception after my funeral, here’s how I pray and labor and hope to be remembered: “He loved Jesus and loved people enough to point them to Jesus as Lord and Savior.”

Jesus always comes to mind when I’m knocked out of the saddle.

Blessings and Love!






Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Frog in America’s Kettle

  Kopp Disclosure

(John 3:19-21)


Frog in America’s Kettle

If a frog is put into a kettle of tepid water, it will not try to escape.

If the heat is turned up slowly to a boil, the frog will not perceive the danger and croak, uh, be cooked to death.

44 – 5.

45 – 6. 

46 – 57 and counting.

Those stats may be off; pero 44 and 45 are BB guns compared to the heavy artillery of 46 when it comes to executive orders.

Far more than 44 and 45, 46 is leading with his pen rather than through Congress.

Annnnnnnd to think 44 and 45 were accused of having dictatorial instincts while 46 is hailed as President Unity by those with two feet planted firmly in the air.


Parenthetically, confessionally as in disclosure, I’m Christocentrically Pauline and want everybody to be saved by grace through faith in Jesus and I pray and try to be guided by the first table of the Big Ten (Exodus 20:1-8) which means I’m not into idolizing and the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) when it comes to extending grace, mercy, and forgiveness wrapped in agape to everyone including those that tempt me to demonize.

I’m a Romans 3:23-24 kinda guy in that I don’t expect anyone to be pure and perfect in every way and believe no one is any more or less in need of Lord Jesus as Savior than anyone else.

Frankly, or Shirley if you prefer, I always liked 44 and wouldn’t mind having a beer with him even though I don’t like beer and acknowledge he has a gift for saying nothing eloquently.  Yeah, 45 can be really boorish but I voted for him because I don’t hate him more than I love America and kinda like “America First” because I really don’t want the USA to mirror Europe, China, Russia, any of those Islamofascistnutball savage countries with their convert or kill religions and penchant for abusing women and gays, or just about any other country except, maybe, Iceland and Sweden for prurient instincts.  46 comes across like a genial old uncle that’s a few fries short of a happy meal with a tone that doesn’t match his actions.  I don’t blame the marionette for the miscreant DNA of his handlers betrayed by so many of those EOs that are mindless at best and pre-totalitarian at worst; or as someone coined, “Slow down, Joe!  You’ve got four years to destroy America!”

In other words, I didn’t miss the course on original sin.

Not really changing the subject, I like America as it was intended to be by our founding mothers and fathers in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution with those Bill of Rights rooted so deeply in Holy Scripture and an undeniable Judeo-Christian weltanschauung.

That’s why I’ve often said I would have been a much better husband, father, son, brother, pastor, presbyter, friend – man – if I had spent more time reading the book than books about the book aka Bible.

Ever notice how books about the book tend to water down what’s in the book when it comes to faith and morality to enable behaviors antithetical to what’s in the book?  

To put it another way, we water down what’s in the book when it comes to things like the unique saving Lordship of Jesus, sanctity of all human life from womb to tomb, marriage, sex, caring for the poor and other Matthew 25 kinda stuff so we can feel good about ignoring the book as we insult God’s holiness and injure God’s people by pretending we know more about faith and morality than God has enfleshed in Jesus, explained in the Bible, and enlightened by the Holy Spirit who never contradicts Jesus by the book.

Our increasingly post-Christian culture has this mantra: “Yeah, I know that’s what Jesus and the Bible say…but I think.”


Is it more arrogant to pray and labor to honor God’s will enfleshed in Jesus and explained in the Bible or navel-gaze through life and ministry?

“God said it and I believe it and that settles it” sounds a lot more humble than “I know that’s what Jesus and the Bible say…but I think.”

Just saying.

Anyway, because so many pulpiteers and pewsitters seem so eager to abandon the book on matters of faith and morality when it conflicts with their emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and material wants, desires, bigotries, and feelings which is why so many philosophical/ideological as opposed to Biblically theological “churches” have become “irretrievably apostate under current management,” I rarely recommend books to people that haven’t spent enough time in the book concomitant to devotional deference to its Author with 2 Timothy 3:14-17 and 2 Peter 1:20-21 in mind to know the difference between philosophy/ideology (the love of human wisdom aka invention) and theology (the Word of God in Jesus as informed by Holy Scripture and enlightened by the Holy Spirit).

Getting back to books that I rarely recommend, my buddy Cliff Mansley, the uncommonly faithful pastor of Surprise, Arizona’s Grace Community Church who God used to deliver me from playing footsies with the dark side for professional advancement, urged me to read Rod Dreher’s Live Not by Lies (2020).

If you’re one of those Christian patriots not suffering from the real pandemic of our time – spiritual distancing from God – and inoculated from the ignorance to defiance akin to Isaiah 44:18 and Mark 8:18 causing a blurring to blindness to the pre-totalitarian trends or frog in America’s kettle and want an antidote, Dreher’s book is for you.

The book gets its title from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s warning shortly after his arrest by the Soviets on 2/12/74 to people that prefer self-determination to statism/socialism/communism: “Live not by lies!”

Dreher: “What did it mean to live by lies?  It meant, Solzhenitsyn writes, accepting without protest all the falsehoods and propaganda that the state compelled its citizens to affirm – or at least not to oppose – to get along peaceably under totalitarianism.  Everybody says that they have no choice but to conform, says Solzhenitsyn, and to accept powerlessness.  But that is the lie that gives all the other lies their malign force.  The ordinary man may not be able to overturn the kingdom of lies, but he can at least say that he is not going to be its loyal subject.”

Hello, remnant!

America’s faithful remnant still believes its founding mothers and fathers were inspired by God as revealed in Jesus by the book.

America’s faithful remnant in churches still believes the best way to live was enfleshed in Jesus and explained in Holy Scripture as affirmed by our founding mothers and fathers.

Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda secundum verbum Dei!

Solzhenitsyn: “Let us at least refuse to say what we do not think!”

Dreher describes how Solzhenitsyn’s remnant will resist America’s pre-totalitarian trends: “Will not say, write, affirm, or distribute anything that distorts the truth…Will not go to a demonstration or participate in a collective action unless he truly believes in the cause…Will not take part in a meeting in which the discussion is forced and no one can speak the truth…Will not vote for a candidate or proposal he considers to be ‘dubious or unworthy’…Will walk out of an event ‘as soon as he hears the speaker utter a lie, ideological drivel, or shameless propaganda’…Will not support journalism that ‘distorts or hides the underlying facts.’”

Dreher concludes, “The task of the Christian dissident today is to personally commit herself to live not by lies.”

For Christian patriots, a lie is anything antithetical to Jesus by the book as enlightened by the Holy Spirit who never contradicts Jesus by the book.

There is so much in Dreher’s book that helps us to understand America’s current flirtation with statism/socialism/communism; and while I commend Dreher’s detailed outline, there is a simple summary that I’ve lamented for years: “Give a six pack and Bears game to too many people and they’ll be happy to sell their souls and forfeit their freedoms.”  Or as Dreher writes, “People will surrender political rights in exchange for guarantees of personal pleasure.”

As we have seen with the unprecedented, fluid, and incrementally unfolding challenges of CCP COVID-19 with its diametrically opposed “experts” on its duration and magnitude, lots of Americans want a nanny to nurse ‘em along.  Without searching for intersecting truth, Americans will trust politicians to save them from the bogeyman and forfeit freedoms rarely restored.  

I’m reminded of the ecclesiastical bureaucrat that challenged me for challenging so much being said about CCP COVID-19.

She said I am wrong for not following the science.

She said, “Unlike you, I’m following the science.”

I asked, “Which one?

She said, “The right one!”


I’m reminded of my sons that had the same coach while in junior tackle football who prepared them for the challenges of the next levels of play.  He’d often say to players’ parents, “I’m preparing your sons for a tough game; and the only way to do that is if you’ll stop nursing ‘em and let me coach ‘em up!”

Again, totalitarianism is attractive because lots of people want a nanny more than self-determination/freedom/independence/opportunity.

That’s the frog in America’s kettle.

Just like the personal choice/decision to receive Jesus into the head, heart, and gut as Lord and Savior to experience courageously confident living in the assurance of eternal life, Americans must choose between the vision of its founding mothers and fathers for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with God in mind or a nanny.

Do we want a pacifier that controls incrementally or a Bill of Rights?

Don’t miss the symbolism of greater fidelity when Patrick Henry spoke at Richmond, Virginia’s St. John’s Church in 1775: “This is no time for ceremony…Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings…There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles…The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone.  It is to the vigilant, the active, the brave…It is now too late to retire from the contest…Our chains are forged!  Their clanking may be heard…The war is inevitable…I know not what course others may take; but for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

While Dreher doesn’t mention Henry in his book in mentioning Solzhenitsyn’s warning to “live not by lies” in the face of pre-totalitarian trends, Martin Luther King, Jr. understood freedom as a basic hunger and thirst that has no class, color, culture, or national boundaries: “The masses of people are rising up.  And wherever they are assembled today…the cry is always the same: ‘We want to be free!’”

While there are too many people in America enabling an increasingly nanny state with its incrementally increasing control and limits to self-determination/freedom/independence/opportunity because history proves that’s inevitable with statism/socialism/communism, there is a remnant that will resist the trends for a gospel of grace, mercy, and forgiveness wrapped in agape.

The remnant knows who wins in the end and who wins with Him.

Unfortunately, in the meantime, the heat is being turned up by useful idiots in unwitting at best and conscious at worst conspiracy with the unholy trinity of Satanos, Antichrist, and false prophecy that inspire advocates of statism/socialism/communism.

If I have to explain that to you, as bikers like to say, you wouldn’t understand anyway because you’ve been spending too much time in books about the book.

Moretheless, the remnant knows the heat is being turned up.

Blessings and Love!