Over my years as Pastor at Tri-State Fellowship, you may have occasionally heard me tell a story or two about a youth pastor named Mike Fen, whom I worked with at my previous New Jersey church. Actually, Mike spoke one time at TSF in my early years here, when at that time he worked for the missions research ministry called “Caleb Project.”
Mike remains a good friend. He is from Nebraska, went to the University of Texas and Dallas Seminary, was a youth pastor with me in NJ, and since then has served in a variety of ways in Colorado.
Mike and I have together been to war and back (a long story of navigating a church difficulty I am certainly never going to write about online!!). There is nothing we cannot say to the other! He always teases me about my NJ roots and Eastern accent, but he is more aggressive and confrontational than I am! That is why he has the name of Mr. Porkupinickuous!
Oh, you say you’ve never heard that word? Probably not, because he and I coined it. Back in our days together in the early 90s, one day when telling the alumni director of our seminary (Dallas) about whom was working with me, he said, “Yes, I remember him; he’s a bit like a fellow walking around in a crowd with an open umbrella that sort of pokes people in the eye here and there!” So, the idea of poking people sort of caught on … and then it morphed into the idea of being like a porcupine … and finally, it took form as an adjective – “porky” … but it seemed it needed to sound more formal than that and also not be confused with just being obese – so it turned into the wonderful word “porkupinickuous.” The actual formal dictionary definition is “to have or express thoughts, attitudes, or actions that pertain to feelings not dissimilar to a close encounter with a porcupine.” You get the idea!
So, true to form, when Mike calls – as he did tonight – within minutes of a few perfunctory questions about how I am, he quickly cuts through any smokescreens, whines, rants, carnal attitudes or general crap, and with the gentle touch of a 20-pound sledge points out whatever is lacking in perfect godliness! With a friend like this, who needs the Holy Spirit?
The truth? Two things …
1. Everyone needs a friend or two like this. The praise of such is applauded by a smart guy named Solomon who said, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
2. Though there is a lesson in this blog post, I wrote it to see if Mike will actually follow through and read this blog as I suggested, and prove that he has by leaving a comment. How about it – you porkupinickous scagpants shrub?