Mike Cope's blog

Friday, October 31, 2003

There are some wonderful videos on evangelism by Brian McLaren (author of More Ready Than You Realize, A New Kind of Christian, and The Story We Find Ourselves In) at off-the-map. You'll need broadband to view.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Tough decision at our house. Since Chris is in the 5th grade, this is our last "official" year to trick-or-treat. (I guess. But are there any rules here?) But it's also the night of the Abilene High - Cooper football game. We left it up to him. He opted for the game. But don't be surprised if you see a fan with an AHS shirt and Legolas's bow-and-arrow holding an orange bucket. "Go Eagles! Trick-or-treat!" The Rick Reilly link is a bit behind, as you've noticed if you've gone there from my blog. I hope they get up his newist SI editorial soon. It's about a coach worth paying attention to!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Roll around these nuggets from Barbara Brown Taylor. What do you think? "Our chronic guilt is the price we are willing to pay in order to avoid change." "I do not believe that sin is the enemy we often make it out to be, at least not when we recognize it and name it as such. When we see how we have turned away from God, then and only then do we have what we need to begin turning back. Sin is our only hope, the fire alarm that wakes us up to the possibility of true repentance."

Monday, October 27, 2003

We went to see "Guys and Dolls" yesterday. Great production. We're excited about "Godspell" coming to campus. Can't wait to hear (again) John the Baptist singing, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord." (Note to my ACU Bible freshmen: don't forget that class will begin at 3:30 today to allow you to register for next semester.) For those of you at Highland yesterday, what a powerful video Matt Maxwell produced to go with the song "Come to the Table." This young man is so incredibly gifted!

Saturday, October 25, 2003

It's a day of homecoming around here, with people our age pouring into Abilene for the 25th reunion. But for us . . . it's a day of soccer. It's a great sport which has the power to own a family's schedule! Another quote from Albom's THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN: "All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair." In the book you'll find that isn't the final word, though. There is a word more powerful than "damage." Here's a hint: It begins with F-O-R-G-I . . . .

Thursday, October 23, 2003

From CNN's interview with Barbara Bush, when she was asked about her husband: "I sure love him. I think he's the greatest man I ever knew. I wake up every single morning and look over at that funny old face and say, I'm the luckiest woman in the world." Is it any wonder we love this woman? In AOL's poll, she is neck-and-neck with Hillary Clinton as America's favorite first lady in the last two decades. But in addition to being a great first lady -- wouldn't EVERYONE want her for their grandma?

If you read Mitch Albom's TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, then I'm sure you've wanted more from him. Well, I just finished reading his next book, THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN, and it's wonderful. It's imaginative, it's full of wisdom, and it's cleverly written. Eddie, an 83-year-old war veteran who works as a maintanance man at a seaside amusement park, is killed trying to save a little girl when her ride malfunctions. He awakens to find that in heaven your earthly life is explained to you by five people. Here are a couple nuggets: "Ruby [one of the five he meets -- I won't tell you more] stepped toward him. 'Edward,' she said softly. It was the first time she had called him by name. 'Learn this from me. Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves. Forgive, Edward. Forgive.'" "Parents rarely let go of their children, so children let go of them. They move on. They move away. The moments that used to define them--a mother's approval, a father's nod--are covered by moments of their own accomplishments. It is not until much later, as the skin sags and the heart weakens, that children understand; their stories, and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, beneath the waters of their lives."

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

My insular world of Neosho, Missouri protected me from much of what was happening in 1968. That fall, I entered 7th grade at Neosho Junior High School and started my downtown paper route after school. So much was happening in the world that year. The Tet offensive was launched in January. Martin Luther King was assassinated in April, and Robert Kennedy in June. Only later did the impact of the My Lai Massacre begin to sink in as we heard news reports about Charlie Company and Lt. William Calley. Occasionally I'd get to watch "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In." Goldie Hawn and Lilly Tomlin made quite an impression -- in their own ways. Tiny Tim was singing, "Tip Toe Through the Tulips," Mike Wallace was launching "60 Minutes" (Don't you know some exec said, "It'll never last"?), Peggy Fleming was skating, and Joe Namath was wearing a mink coat! But in my world, it was Bob Gibson. My beloved Cardinals were headed back to the World Series (after their wins in 1964 and 1967), led by the greatest pitcher of his era. You may disagree -- but, hey, start your own blog! In 1968 Gibby won the National League MVP and the Cy Young. His ERA for the year was 1.12, with 268 strikeouts and 13 shutouts. Maybe most remarkable is that he completed 28 of his 34 starts. Can you imagine a pitcher today having half that many completed games? I still remember having my little transistor radio nearby on any day Gibson was pitching. That summer my maternal grandmother and my cool, young aunt (who was probably 20ish at the time) took me to Chicago. We were visiting lots of relatives along the way, but I think my Grandma wanted to be there for the start of the Democratic Convention when her candidate, Robert Kennedy, would be nominated. After his assassination, she changed allegiance to Eugene McCarthy, and in August we headed for the Windy City, with Grandma preaching Democratic politics to anyone who would listen. I'm sure what my aunt remembers most about the trip is the beginning of that stormy convention. (Will there ever be another quite like the 1968 Democratic Convention? And yes -- I was there!) But what I remember is that these two women I loved took me to Wrigley Field. And of all luck, they were playing the Cardinals! I had so much fun, they took me back the next day. In October, we (yes WE -- I considered myself part of the team) were facing the Detroit Tigers. With the newspaper connection, we again scored tickets, this time to game 6. I was in a bit of a predicament as a Cardinal supporter. Because the Cards went into game 5 with a 3-1 lead. If we won that game, we'd repeat as WS champs. But I wouldn't get to see them in game 6. So I rooted for St. Louis, but didn't mind much when they lost. The rest is sad history for a Cardinal fan. We lost both the sixth and seventh games. But that's not the really sad part. The saddest was that we wouldn't be returning to a World Series until the 1980s. In October the Cards lost the World Series and in November Richard Nixon was elected president. My grandma and I were both sad.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Thinking about having one more child? I just read that the average cost for raising a child from birth through 18 is . . . get ready for this . . . $165,630. It breaks down like this: Housing ... $54,658 (33%) Food ... $29,813 (18%) Transportation ... $24,845 (15%) Childcare & Education ... $16,563 (10%) Clothing ... $9,938 (6%) Healthcare ... $11,594 (7%) Miscellaneous ... $18,219 (11%) Let's see . . . We've had three children . . . times $165K . . . Best investment we've ever made!

It's time for my 25th year graduation reunion . . . FROM COLLEGE. How can that be? Have they moved the year up? I guess not. 1978 plus 25. I took my last Greek final on Thursday morning, got married that evening, and returned from the first part of our honeymoon (to Hot Springs -- yes, yes, we heard all the jokes) on Sunday for graduation. Must have been May 14, 1978. I don't exactly remember that. But it was three days after my wedding. That date I remember! It was nice to hear from my alma mater. I can't speak there, of course. But I do hear from them during reunions and pledge drives.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Note to non-baseball-loving blog readers. I'll get back to you in a few days. Others read on . . . . Adios to the Red Sox. Babe, Bucky, Buckner -- and now Boone (as in the Yankees' 11th inning home run last night to send them instead of the Sox to the World Series). Fighting history is like fighting the tide. By the time the Cardinals returned to the World Series in October, 1967, I was in 6th grade. I guess that means my brother would have been a first grader. My sisters would have been 4 and 1. 1967 was the year of the Super Bowl before it had Roman numerals attached to it! In the first ever Super Bowl, Green Bay defeated Kansas City. Also in '67 . . . Mohammad Ali was stripped of his title for draft evasion. Elvis married Priscilla. Christiaan Barnard conducted the first human heart transplant. The big hits at Neosho's Intermediate School were "Windy," "I'm a Believer," and "Come on Down to My Boat." More significantly, it was the year of Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" and the Beatle's "Sergeant Pepper" album. But for me here's what mattered: the Cardinals were in the Series. And by 1967, both Roger Marris and I had seen the light. His playing for the Yankees and my cheering for the Yankees were long behind us. We were Cardinals (in different ways). So back to St. Louis we went for game 3 between the Cards and the Red Sox. This time the game was at the NEW ballpark. In 1964 we were at Busch Stadium I (which had been Sportsman's Park until the team was purchased by Anheiser-Busch in 1953). But now we were in the new Busch Stadium. For game three, here was the Cardinals' batting order (yes, I still have my scorecard I kept that day): Lou Brock, Curt Flood, Roger Marris, Orlando Cepeda, Tim McCarver, Mike Shannon, Julian Javier, Dal Maxvill. and Nelson Brills. The Red Sox were led by Carl Yastrzemski, of course. It was the last time in major league baseball that a player won the Triple Crown. That year Yaz batted .326, hit 44 home runs, and drove in 121 RBIs. But my Cardinals had Bob Gibson. Enough said. Gibson won games 1, 4, and 7. Some day the Red Sox may break the curse for trading Babe Ruth . . . but it wasn't going to be under my (and Bob Gibson's) watch!

Thursday, October 16, 2003

For many people, 1964 was the year LBJ was elected to the office he'd taken over when President Kennedy was assassinated. For others, it was the year of the Beatles. They appeared that year on Ed Sullivan, and their early hits flooded the charts: "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "A Hard Day's Night," "Please, Please Me," and (the greatest of all) "Twist and Shout." But for me, it was the year of baseball. (For more on the 1964 World Series, and especially on how the Yankees' racism led to their demise, see David Halberstam's October 1964.) I remember an all-school assembly, where all grades crammed into our auditorium/cafeteria at Field Elementary to watch the Cardinals and Yankees play on a black and white television. And then a couple days later I was there. Mickey Mantle, Bob Gibson, Roger Marris . . . and me. It was a good year.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Two thoughts for the day: 1) I wonder if Rush Limbaugh wishes he'd shown a bit more compassion through the years. 2) No matter how bad your day, it can't be as bad as the poor Cubs fan who interfered while trying to catch a foul ball -- causing Moises Alou to be unable to snag it and leading to an eight-run eighth inning for the Marlins. The Cubs' curse? The young man was pelted with peanuts and death threats until security officers escorted him out to protect him. He covered his face with his jacket. No one in this world is hoping Kerry Wood has a good game today any more than this guy! If the Cubs win tonight, he'll be a historical footnote -- maybe even a guest on Letterman. If the Cubs blow tonight's game (and continue THE STREAK), he'll have to have plastic surgery and move to another state.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

A Cubs-Red Sox World Series? Got to figure the Cubs are going to make it (despite heroic efforts by Pudge). Who'd want to be three down knowing even if you won game six you'd still have to face Kerry Wood again? But the Red Sox? I don't think so -- for these three reasons: (1) Bill Buckner; (2) the Bambino; (3) the Yankees. As a newspaper family, we scored tickets to World Series games whenever the Cardinals made it. Fortunately, I was a kid in a good decade for a St. Louis fan. My first World Series to attend was in 1964. I remember clearly sitting right smack next to my Dad (sorry, Mom -- were you there?) watching the Yankees and Cardinals battle. There was a small plane flying overhead that said: MICKEY MANTLE AND ROGER MARRIS TOO, WE'VE COME TO PUT A HEX ON YOU. Now for the dirty little secret: I was pulling for the Yankees. Yes, I'm embarrassed of it now. But I was just eight! I didn't know better. My favorite players were Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, so I had some kind of hero-worship obligation to pull for the Yankees. Fortunately, by the time the '67 series came, I had seen the light. More on that later . . . .

Monday, October 13, 2003

Another of those "church signs" I spotted along the hwy 6/36 route from Waco to Abilene was one that screamed: "NOAH WAS SAVED BY GRACE, BY FAITH, AND BY WATER." I'm wondering if there are any unbelievers who aren't completely familiar with the interesting argument of 1 Peter 3 about Noah and water. And if they're not, isn't it possible they're thinking, "Noah wasn't saved BY water. He was saved FROM water." How much time to we spend talking to others in language they either don't care about or can't understand?

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Just got in from an under-12 soccer tournament in Waco. The Burn won all three games, so I had to return alone while Chris and Diane remain for tomorrow's games. (I have this regular Sunday gig!) I entertained myself on the way home by reading church signs in front of all the Churches of Christ along the way. In one little town the sign at the Baptist Church on one side said, "God loves you and so to we." The sign at the C of C on the other side said, "No adulterer will enter into the kingdom of God." Don't you know visitors are knocking down the door to get into a place like that?

Monday, October 06, 2003

I'll be out of blogging for a few days, I think. Occasionally I'll have people ask me what Landon Saunders is up to and how he's doing. To catch up on the ministry of this amazing man, cruise over to heartbeatlife.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Several have asked me for a script of the sermon by S. M. Lockridge. So (get ready for a long post!!) . . . here it is: My King was born King. The Bible says He’s a Seven Way King. He’s the King of the Jews – that’s a racial King. He’s the King of Israel – that’s a National King. He’s the King of righteousness. He’s the King of the ages. He’s the King of Heaven. He’s the King of glory. He’s the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords. Now that’s my King. Well I wonder if you know Him. Do you know Him? Don’t try to mislead me. Do you know my King? David said the Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament show His handiwork. My King is the only one whom there are no means of measure can define His limitless love. No far seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shore of supplies. No barriers can hinder Him from pouring out His blessing. Well, well, He’s enduringly strong. He’s entirely sincere. He’s eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful. He’s imperially powerful. He’s impartially merciful. That’s my King. He’s God’s Son. He’s the sinner’s saviour. He’s the centrepiece of civilization. He stands alone in Himself. He’s honest. He’s unique. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He’s supreme. He’s pre-eminent. Well, He’s the grandest idea in literature. He’s the highest personality in philosophy. He’s the supreme problem in high criticism. He’s the fundamental doctrine of proved theology. He’s the carnal necessity of spiritual religion. That’s my King. He’s the miracle of the age. He’s the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him. Well, He’s the only one able to supply all of our needs simultaneously. He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He’s strong God and He guides. He heals the sick. He cleanses the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharged debtors. He delivers the captives. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent and He beautifies the meek. Do you know Him? Well, my King is a King of knowledge. He’s the wellspring of wisdom. He’s the doorway of deliverance. He’s the pathway of peace. He’s the roadway of righteousness. He’s the highway of holiness. He’s the gateway of glory. He’s the master of the mighty. He’s the captain of the conquerors. He’s the head of the heroes. He’s the leader of the legislatures. He’s the overseer of the overcomers. He’s the governor of governors. He’s the prince of princes. He’s the King of kings and He’s the Lord of lords. That’s my King. Yeah. Yeah. That’s my King. My King, yeah. His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His light is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Well. I wish I could describe Him to you, but He’s indescribable. He’s indescribable. Yes. He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible. He’s irresistible. I’m coming to tell you, the heavens of heavens cannot contain Him, let alone a man explaining Him. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hands. You can’t outlive Him and you can’t live without Him. Well, Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilot couldn’t find any fault in Him. The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Death couldn’t handle Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him. That’s my King. Yeah. Praise the Lord. That’s my King. Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Well, all the power belongs to my King. We’re around here talking about black power and white power and green power, but it’s God’s power. Thine is the power. Yeah. And the glory. We try to get prestige and honour and glory for ourselves, but the glory is all His. Yes. Thine is the Kingdom and the power and glory, forever and ever and ever and ever. How long is that? And ever and ever and ever and ever. And when you get through with all of the evers, then, Amen.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

What an incredible weekend at the Nashville Zoe Conference. Jack and Jill Maxwell drew while I preached Friday evening, and what they did was incredible. I love watching people hang around afterward just shaking their heads in disbelief. I've now made it as far as DFW. Am anxious to get to Abilene, Abilene, prettiest town I've ever seen . . . . Eternal optimism!

Thursday, October 02, 2003

So Rush Limbaugh has resigned for making outrageous comments that many (not all) thought were blatant racism. And we're surprised -- why? ESPN hired him to attract attention. They got it! Aside from the partisan politics, how could they have hired a commentator who didn't think Donovan McNabb has been the real thing the past couple years? Has he been watching football? I made it to Nashville around 8:30 last night. My luggage had a more interesting journey, arriving at 1:00 a.m.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

I'm off for the Zoe conference in Nashville. Registration topped 1100 a couple weeks ago and they had to close it. That's a nice problem to have. For those of you who enjoy the Zoe CDs, the new one is ready.