Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 

Saturday
Jan192013

AUGURING OBAMA'S SECOND TERM

Over the weekend, the lead story in The Christian Science Monitor was “Obama's second term: What history says to expect”.  The subhead was “The myths and realities of second-term presidents – and what they portend for Obama.”  By Robert A. Lehrman, January 19, 2013.

It’s a good article, with many insights from presidential histories.  You can read it at -- http://www.csmonitor.com/

However, this blog already has three articles which provide insights which more profoundly analyze the difficulties facing our President.  There are two excellent articles – Bill Moyers’ interviews with historian Forrest McDonald – in which McDonald explains that our founding fathers set up a dual-function Presidency.  The structure of the Presidency dooms each second term to be anti-climactic.  You can read the articles at--

http://leadings.squarespace.com/our-dysfunctional-presidency/

http://leadings.squarespace.com/our-dysfunctional-presidency-2/

Or, you can scroll down the column on the right to Politics and Government and then you can click on the two articles about our dysfunctional presidency.

I’ll repeat some ideas I wrote in Whipsawing the President.

Woodrow WilsonElected to a second term, President Obama faces not only the lame duck problem, but also the curse of genius. At the beginning of each century, the American people have elected an exceptionally brilliant man to the presidency: Jefferson, Wilson, and Obama.

Many Americans don't know our own history well enough to realize that both Wilson and Jefferson were spectacular failures by the end of their second term. Wilson formulated basic concepts for the League of Nations after World War I, promoted the League in Europe, but suffered its rejection by the U.S. Congress. 

And Jefferson's failure?  In 1807, as an alternative to a shooting war with Britain, Jefferson tried aggressive economic warfare against England. During Jefferson's administration, England was fighting Napoleonic France. So, Jefferson imposed an embargo that stopped American trade, particularly trade with England. The result: Our economy was hurt worse than England's – particularly in Boston, our largest city. The result was a furious reaction in the Northeast.

Can Obama beat the curse of genius?

It will be tough.  First, he is a student of American history and knows the problems which dragged down his predecessors.  But second, like Jefferson and Wilson, he is capable of formulating and fighting idealistically for a grand concepts and great change.  He has already won the Nobel Peace Prize.  As a standard of achievement for his second term, the Prize becomes a great temptation.  Will he try to live up to it?  If so, will he succeed?  As with so much else in life, we can watch, pray, and continue voicing our opinions.

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Purpose of this blog is to compile a book for my grandchildren to read in 25 years.

Copyright © 2013 by Jack Towe

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