Scranton Catholic Woes, continued…..
November 6, 2009, 23:43
Filed under: Church wrongs, Reaction | Tags: ,

I post these problems not to gloat, i have learned that that does not work out for me.  I serve a God who humbles His servants!  I post this because the Catholic  church around my area has one problem after another.

My imagination is disturbed enough to think that I could have been sitting in a service watching a Power Point on the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, and have the Chippendales or worse put on the screen.  It is almost humorous, except  that my imagination is also fertile enough to imagine myself putting on the presentation.  Ouch.  It must make this guy feel a bit better. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IymxMidkyI4

The one that really concerns me is  Bob Timchak.  I was a regular reader of his faith column.  He wrote some great stuff on several congregations that I like.  He seemed to me to be a really good guy.   I am hoping that this is some sort of rig.  Seriously, I am that jaded.  The tip to the authorities came from the diocese.  We have had all sorts of molestation cases, a case where a priest was charged with perjury to a grand jury looking into a mobster friend of his,  stories of mis managed money and DUI payoffs by a bishop, but the diocese drops a dime on Timchak.   If they are going to rat people out, they could start on some more pressing examples!  Well, I will follow the trial with interest.   I pray God will allow our legal system to bring justice.     Here is an article on Bob, I found.  I will keep you posted.

Timchak has served in the diocese since 1992, starting in Wilkes-Barre at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception.

After stints directing religious formation at Seton Catholic High School in Pittston and Bishop Hoban High School in Wilkes-Barre, Timchak was assigned to Hazleton, where he became a controversial figure in 2006.

As pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Parish, and Transfiguration Parish in West Hazleton, Timchak was outspoken about his disillusionment with the diocese’s closure of Transfiguration School.

“Jesus said you cannot serve both God and money, and when the church puts money before everything else, it really is going against the message of Jesus,” Timchak in 2006 told the Times Leader newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, for which he wrote a regular faith column.

“Father Bob,” as known in his newspaper column, subsequently took a yearlong leave of absence before being assigned to Pike County. During his leave, the diocese said, he worked for the Luzerne County Probation Office.


Robert Timchak

My Daughter finds a new Worship Group
September 16, 2009, 09:48
Filed under: faith, Reaction | Tags: , , ,
Humbly seeking a Greater Power

Humbly seeking a Greater Power

My family and I have done some traveling through the Christian wilds of northeastern Pa.  There was a span of time where we visited quite a few different churches bringing the gospel message and singing blue grass and Southern gospel music.   The kids were never overly impressed with any of the church families  .   Now,  I  will grant you ,  my girls are a rough crowd.  They are very critical of “Holier than thou” and have a built in hypocrisy meter that goes off with great sensitivity.  [ I just can’t imagine where they get it.]

Often times we would  drive home with me being the apologist for the group we had just left.   Usually the conversation revolved around one or two of the group who exhibited highly judgemental behavior, or in some other way played the ‘competitive Christianity’  game and managed to offend my young daughters in some fashion.  In reality, it is not hard to offend young girls,  they are sensitive to even implied abuse.  I am not really sure the oldest girl ever healed from this duty fully,  as she still thinks 99.9% of all the Christians she meets are worthy of her disdain.  We are working on it.

When  the youngest daughter came in last night and announced she had discovered a group filled with humble hearts, seeking God, changing lives, and showing the way to Christ I was honestly  surprised!  Far more common would be here coming  home saying,  “You will not believe what I just experienced, and they call it a church!”   Last night she was energized in prayer, rejoicing over changed lives,  humbled by broken spirits, and warmed by love of others in this group and their love of a living God who is active in their lives.

Last night my daughter attended on open Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

The Culture Wars, I Refuse to Surrender.
June 16, 2009, 18:23
Filed under: Crazed Thought, Reaction | Tags: , , , , , ,
The Cross and the Flag , not Mutually Exclusive

The Cross and the Flag , not Mutually Exclusive

I have been told by preachers , politicians, and many Christian Bloggers, that the culture wars are over and WE LOST.  In every war I have read about  there are a few hold outs who refuse to drop their arms and submit.  I join the ranks of those who become resistance fighters in hope, however slim of a turn around in fortune and an eventual victory.  Even if victory is impossible I will still continue to fight until  my commander and chief calls me home.

I think the reason so many feel the war is lost is that our leadership has been so horrible.  We did not choose our battles well.  Large formations of well meaning Christian soldiers fought in vain over issues that were a diversion from the real battle.  The issue was never Democrat or Republican, it was family values versus blatant filth. Instead of marshalling the troops and training them to attack only the worse most obvious examples of darkness and sin, we boxed at shadows and made great mountains out of ant hills, while the problems of our culture worsened.  Did we really think ‘ Harry Potter’  was the worst thing that could happen to our children?  Western civilization  has had witch stories since before The Brother’s Grimm  collected them.   We can show kids movies about a talking cucumber, but stay away from magic!  Friends, talking cucumbers are not of God!

Why were we so upset that Disney had Gay Day?  If we were not going to attend that day what do we care?  And what is the difference between Disney movies and Harry Potter?  Big Blue Genies may look cute, but the dijin are fallen angels.  The movie ‘Pocohantas’ shows my ancestors digging for gold teaching children that the Pilgrim fathers came here to despoil the land, the truth is they wanted a Puritan  State.  Is that what we were going for in the culture war?  If I boycotted everything that did not think and act in a way that met my approval I would be a Robinson Crusoe on an island of  my own isolation.  How does that move the war ahead?

Our generals missed the main camps  of the enemy.  Drugs have been and still are ripping our culture apart.  How many can name the great Christian battle against them?  Did we offer prevention programs in schools?  Pizza parties for youth groups were designed more to boost our numbers, however well that worked, than to broadcast the dangers of drug use and provide coping behavior for an entire generation.    Alcohol destroys families, kills youth and wastes life, yet few churches joined the battle even as far as hosting an AA group.  Marriage success runs fifty- fifty even among the church, so  while we have talked about the problem we do not seem to have had much impact, even in our own ranks.  We seem to be better at uniting against an issue than forming a coalition for anything.

One great problem we have suffered in the war is fratricide.  The other day I was on a site that just loves to pick on Mark Driscol.  You may not like him or want him for your Pastor, that is your choice, but if your biggest enemy is Mark Driscol, you need to look around a bit more.  People who love Jesus pick on Billy Graham,  John MacArthur, the Internet Monk, and you and I when they get a chance.  After the name of Jesus, all those mentioned are fallible.  Are you surprised?  only the Savior is without fault, and if we dig enough we will find something to complain about in all our brothers and sisters.   Hold your fire!  Our ranks are thin enough.

So as a surviving warrior I make my stand in the jungle of America.  I love the values with which I was raised.  My elementary school dismissed for Wednesday morning church school in good weather. We would go to the closest Protestant or Catholic  Church for Bible study or CCD according to our denomination.  Some students stayed behind and played ball, nobody judged.   We began the day with The Pledge of Allegiance.  Why not pledge allegiance to the Government in a government school?  We had a moment of silent prayer.  I have visited schools over the last thirty years.  There is no silence, ever.  I am not a barbarian for valuing this.

I still think taxes higher than a tithe are wrong,  that abortion is awful and all too much turned to in our country.  Using abortion as birth control is abhorrent to me, but signs in churches,  “Unwed Pregnant Women Welcomed and Supported” are not to be found.  Legislation is not an answer,  propagation of a culture of life is.  I find most songs on some radio channels offensive, and no Britney, I could care less where Amy is.   I do not like Gay Pride Parades,  but what adults do in private is of no concern or interest to me.   Forbidding someones closest friend and partner full access in medical emergencies seems barbaric.  Anyone who pays rent and maintains a property has a right to live in it.  Christians do not need to accept sinners behavior, but we do need to be understanding, as we know we too have fallen short of the Glory of God .

I do not wish to turn the clock back to the fifties or the sixties, I seek only to have my point of view accepted, as I accept the point of view of others. So  quit if you want but for me the struggle goes on.  My role model  will be Hiroo Onada.  He was sent to war in 1944 and continued his struggle until 1974, until his commanding officer told him to stand down.

onoda-Hiroo my HeroCan I do less?  Do I have less faith and desire to obey my maker than this good soldier had to obey his superiors?  I was told to ‘Fight the Good Fight’  and I will do so till ordered  differently.

If  Hiroo can hold out in the jungles of Guam for 30 years I can fight a bit longer  here in Pennsylvania .

It would be easy to call Hiroo a fool, to ridicule him for being overly zealous,  but he earned my respect,  and although I think he was on the wrong side supporting  a racist Imperialistic government that  am thankful was defeated, he did his job, and then some.

28n_onoda_narrowweb__200x226 Hiroo’s commanding officer assists his surrender after 30 years.

Will my commander be as proud of me?  Put me down as an armed belligerent,  a guerrilla fighter.  I will use my voice and my vote to the best of my ability in the hopes of someday hearing” Well done, my good and Faithful servant.”  I will continue to shine the Light of the Cross that I love on the Flag of the country that I love, and pray that the pendulum will swing back to a more moderate, less secular state of affairs in the United States.  Call me an optimist or a fool, but surrender is not an option.

Fire truck dedicated to Willis ‘Pop’ Hapeman
May 9, 2009, 09:02
Filed under: Fire Fighters, History, roots of Willohroots, Reaction


Mt.  Zion's new truck dedicated May 9 in honor of my Dad.

Mt. Zion's new truck dedicated May 9 in honor of my Dad.

The company started in 1976, and this is the first brand new rig ever to go in the barn.  My dad rebuilt the engine on their first truck, a 1956 Ford,  they have come far.

I have been asked to say a few words in honor of my Dad.  The guys and girls at the company really thought a lot of him.  There is a plaque on the pump panel, in honor of Willis ‘Pop’ Hapeman.  Dad was blessed with 53 years in fire service.  I was really surprised when, at his funeral, the Pittston and West Pittston Fire Companies put the aerial ladders at full extension forming an arch for the hearse and parade to go under.  we call it putting up the sticks.  It is an honor seen most often when a firefighter dies on the job,  but I guess dad fought enough fires in both towns to deserve the honor. 

He was a leader as Fire Chief, then President, then Pop.  He offered marital and relationship counseling to people who had no one else to talk to.  People would confide the most private things to him.  He was a very special man.   I grew up in a small town where Dad wad the borough electrician.  He was responsible for the town fire alarm.  That meant I got to blow the siren a lot.  What a thrill for a young boy to make such a loud noise!   Dad had a key ring with keys to about half the houses in town, in case they needed electrical work he could get in to do it.  He was trusted, and with reason.  He was honest to a fault. 

It will be an honor and a privilege to speak on his behalf today.  There are some things I will not mention to the crowd that I would like to share with you, as shared burdens weigh much less.  

My dad never saw my family sing in church.  When the girls were young my wife would play keyboard, I would play guitar, and we would sing in various churches as a way to serve our God.  He never saw that.  I have been preacher for almost thirty years,  fill in, old age homes, Church of Christ, Baptist, Congregational,etc.  My dad never heard me preach.   I was a soloist in churches and school , college,and churches. My dad never heard me sing.  My dad did not believe as I do.  He often said, “When you are dead you’re dead!”  He wanted no part of church.

My readers can understand why,  when he died I went through a two year period of depression.  He had told me that if I became a preacher he would break my leg, and if I became a Baptist preacher he would break both my legs.  Threats like this from a big powerful man must not be ignored.  I was made Pastor the week he died.  I stood over his bed, looking at his legs, both broken from within by cancer, and just had to wonder. 

I loved my Dad.  We spent so much time together as business partners, hunters, and firemen.  My life was often in his hands, and he always pulled through. Once another company shut my hose line off while I was in a working structure fire on the nozzle, once.  After Dad straightened them out that would not be repeated.After the 72 flood electricity had me stuck to a pipe in a basement and he kicked me off,[ he said he enjoyed that], and we will not speak of the bar fights here.   As far as eternity, I have thread bare hope of a deathbed conversion.  All things are possible  with God,  and even if we are separated after time ceases I still owe Dad much.  He taught me a good trade, made me a Fire Fighter and Chief,  taught me to shoot straight with firearms and people.  There is no doubt he was a good and honorable man. 

I need to get  in fire company mode,  dry my eyes and look the part of a past Chief honoring a past Chief.  On a purely secular level it will be a great day,  I just am not sure I can function on a purely secular level these days.

Pray for my brother firefighters,  they are some of the best people I know.  Introduce them to the Savior with love,  Amazing Grace should be more to them than the name of the song they play at a fireman’s funeral.

Church Planter test FAIL, from Acts 29
December 13, 2008, 12:19
Filed under: Reaction

This is from Acts29 blog

Am I a Church Planter?

Summarized: 20 Characteristics of a Church Planter

1.    Am I a Christian? (John 3:16)

2.    Am I passionately in love with Jesus and is He the Lord of every area of my life? (Personal spiritual dynamics is the second most important area)

3.    Do I believe His word and does it affect my life deeply?

4.    Am I Spirit-filled, Spirit-directed, Spirit-led and Spirit-controlled? (Acts 1:8)

5.    Am I qualified as an Elder? (1 Timothy, Titus)

6.    Do I love the local church as the expression of a gospel community on mission? (Matthew 28:18-20)

7.    Am I a missionary to the city? Am I sent for the advancement of the gospel in the city (John 20:21)?

8.    Do I have a clear vision for this new work? (Nehemiah 1:3, 4; 2:11-18)

9.    Am I willing to pour myself out in obedience to the vision? (Phil. 2; Romans 6)

10.    Am I healthy? Physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, relationally, maritally

11.    Am I the kind of leader many people will follow? Have I served as a church leader successfully? (1 Tim. 5:22; 3:6)

12.    Can I preach effectively?

13.    Can I guard the doctrinal door with Biblical clarity and tenacious confidence?

14.    Can I architect a new work with entrepreneurial skill?

15.    Am I called to plant a church at this time and in this place? (Acts 17:26; 1 Peter 5:2)

16.    Have my church leaders commended me for this calling? (Acts 11:22-26; 13:1-4; 16:1-2)

17.    Am I a hard worker? Am I persevering? (2 Thes. 3:10; 1 Tim. 5:17-18; 2 Tim. 2:3-4; 2:5; 2:6)

18.    Am I adaptable to new people, places and concepts?

19.    Can I raise the funds needed for my family’s needs? (1 Tim. 5:8)

20.    Am I humble enough to learn from others—particularly from those who have gone ahead of me in different areas?

I understand and respect the thoughts behind this, but honestly could not pass their test.  In reverse order I list my failings.

19. No.  I am a financial train wreck at the moment. We live from God’s hand to our mouths.  We go down to $0 and He provides.  I got a call from a customer I serviced 15 years ago to electrically  rebuild a Lucas boring machine.  Thousands of dollars from a guy I have not heard from in over a decade, to do work I have not done or thought about in the same time . All God. No me.  The thing actually runs!

16. Kinda, my old Pastor sent me out to preach, but the mission has expanded greatly since then.

12.  Only when the Spirit empowers.

11 No.  I never served successfully as a church leader.  Then again neither did Moses until his call and Paul was a failure when he started out.  I was a good fire Chief though, does  that count?

10.  Healthy,  no; overweight post cancer, missing disks in my back, and that is just the physical.  Emotionally I fight depression weekly if not daily.  Spiritually, I have more good days then bad, but the bad is really bad.  Relationally I guess I am ok, ask people I relate to, maritally,  well doesn’t everybody have ups and downs?  Almost 30 years and I love her more than ever, is that OK?

8. Everytime I think I have a clear vision God changes it. So I guess, no.

5. Opinion required- see financial train wreck.

4. On my good days, yes.  Oh please God that there would be more of those! But honestly, not always.  I can get soo pig headed.  Wow.
So 7 wrong with a weight of 5 points a piece I get a 65.  F. FAIL.  I sure am glad I don’t work for Acts29.  I would be a failure.  God chose me to do what I am doing, He will guide me through.  I feel so blessed.

God has a history of using losers just like me.  Thank you Jesus.