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..." 



"Baby boy born 1 hr ago. 7.3 lb. 20 in long. Natural birth. Mom and baby doing well." My son-in-law, Jrex, texted me that message on Thursday, September 29, at 5:29 p.m. Central Time. I was thrilled to read it, but--

Texting is so sterile. 

My older daughter, OTRgirl, is 40, and this is her first child. The boy is healthy and strong. This is a joyous occasion. I wanted to shoot off fireworks. Fireworks? Hey, I wanted to burn down a house. A generation ago we did it with more style. We shouted and whooped into the receiver. (Cell phones had not yet been invented.)

The boy's name is a Celtic work for "fiery".  Here he is:

My daughter called me the morning after.  While I could hear her glow over the phone, she was, typically, matter-of-fact about the details of the birth.  E.g. "They had a mirror there so I could watch myself. I didn't want that, so I had them put a towel over it."

Mother, son and father are doing well.




[Note:  Your computer now has to download eleven 8 x 10 photos.  It will take a while, perhaps as much as three to five minutes.  But, it's worth the wait.]

My son was born 38 years ago.  A quick calculation will show you that he's the uncle of the boy above. And there's a dramatic story about my son's birth.

My wife, Margaret, and I did natural childbirth, and in the 1970's that was still an unusual practice. 

During the 20th century it had become normal medical practice to drug a mother in labor to spare her the pain.  However, this also resulted in painful recovery for the mother.  So, some radical OB/GYN's advocated returning to natural childbirth, the way God intended.  Thus, both the expectant father and mother needed training so the mother could manage the pain through husband-coached breathing.

How rare was natural childbirth in 1973?  With a population of 2 million in Greater Cincinnati, there was one OB/GYN practice that recommended natural childbirth, and one hospital, Good Samaritan, which would allow it.

Our daughter, OTRgirl, was already two years old, and this was our second child.  We took natural childbirth training at The Christ Hospital. 

At our first class, the instructor introduced us to a reporter from The Cincinnati Enquirer.  As I recall, her name was Viggie Seland.  Viggie explained that the year before, The Denver Post had won the Pulitzer Prize for a two-page photo feature on natural childbirth.  She comforted us by explaining that the photos focused on the parents, not the birth.  All photos would be taken from behind the mother or from her side.  She asked for volunteers.  Three couples volunteered.  Margaret and I were one of the couples.

Viggie was with us through all the natural childbirth classes, and she would be with us at the hospital during labor and birth, along with the photographer.

As so often happens, nothing went according to plan.

The other two couples had such swift births that the photographer wasn't able to get to the hospital in time. So, Margaret and I were it.

Margaret had backache labor which took 17 hours.  The Enquirer team had plenty of time to be with us. Here are the photos, with the comments which Margaret wrote on the back:

"Ed Reinke, the Enquirer photographer, arrived in the morning. He was there during intensive labor until after the birth. Viggie arrived while I was in transition. The two of them were no problem.  Labor was enough of a problem; we ignored them."


Margaret had backache labor will all three births. The labors were long and painful. Her comment about this picture: "I was sitting in the lounge-chair position. Jack's fist in the small of my back was most helpful."


"A time to rest, and a time to refrain from resting."

"Labor contraction -- this is how pain looks.  The pain has become too much.  I can't make it.  I want to quit. This was around noon.  I didn't realize the baby would be born in 45 minutes."


"Jack said, 'Look at me.  Breathe. . . Relax. . .  Breathe. . . Out. . .'  He forced me to concentrate on him, and it helped." 


"Thanks to Jack, we made it through that contraction, but he hyperventilated and collapsed on the bed." 


"Getting ready to push.  Jack sees the top of the baby's head in the mirror.  Ready:  1 - 2 - 3.  Breathe!"


"I'm pushing with my mouth open.  I should breathe here.  Right now I'm beyond pain.  The baby is crowning!"

Note that this is photo #8.  You can see that Margaret is like a quarter-miler crossing the finish line. Remember this photo. It's the key event in this story.


"His head just popped out.  He looks like an Ivory Buddha."



I gave Margaret the crown of victory.


"Such a miracle.  Praise the LORD; the baby's here; it's over.   Or, praise the LORD that the baby's here.  It's over.  Both are equally true." 

The story continues:

After the birth, the photographer rushed away to shoot pictures of some guy named Nicklaus who was dedicating a golf course north of Cincinnati.  The date was October 7, 1973.

Our son was born about 12:45 p.m.  That evening, Margaret and I walked down the hall for tea and then walked back.  Her roommate had been drugged for her birthing and was immobilized for three days.

Of course, I not only told friends about the birth, I also told people at the office, in church, and in the neighborhood to check this Sunday's Enquirer to see photos of Margaret and me in this two-page spread. Early Sunday, I rushed to the Shell station to buy the huge Sunday paper. I went through the paper page by page. Twice. No article. No photo spread.

On Monday, an enraged Viggie phoned us and told us what happened.

This was the final week before retirement for the editor of The Enquirer. He had taken the full photo set home with him and showed it to his wife. She stared at photo #8. Evidently from her own experience, she saw horrible pain. She thought that publication of these photos would be cruel, so she and her husband killed the story.

Viggie sent out her resume and soon was hired by another major paper.

The photographer also called me. He said, "Do you have a rec room? I could blow up photos so you could cover the walls." That seemed bizarre, but it was a moot point. We had no rec room. Clearly, he too was out for revenge. I asked, "Could you just make us a set of 8 by 10 glossies?" He reluctantly agreed, but glossies were trivial. He wanted to stick it to The Enquirer.

And on Wednesday of this week, I rediscovered that set of glossies. So here they are. You get to see the story that the Enquirer readers missed.


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

Copyright © 2011 by Jack Towe


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