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..." 



Recently I had to complete a questionnaire, and one question asked, "What Do Others Say About You?"

--an appropriate question to consider.  It prompted an imaginary dialogue--

Two friends are talking about me:



Jack is now 79.

            He looks and acts at least 10 years younger.

Cept when he acts 70 years younger.

            Like when?

Well . . . ever been to an art gallery with him?


A mine field is preferable.


Sure. With paintings, he is fully in touch with his feelings. In contrast, with his emotions, he’s like a guy who laughs at a joke three hours later. But not in an art museum. If he sees a painting that suprises or delights him, he shouts or guffaws. He also spontaneously moans, grieves, gets angry, cusses.

            But an art museum is as dignified as opera.

Not for him.  He acts as if he owns it.

            Strange behavior.

Yes.  For example, if he likes a painting, he looks at it closely – real close – with his nose 6” from the canvas.  Evidently he wants to see it as the painter did.

            That’s rude to other viewers.

No, he waits til he gets a solitary look.  But then he suddenly backs across the room.


He says, he’s looking for the point where the painting gels.  With Vermeer it’s about ten inches.  He has also seen Van Goghs that gel at 20 yards.

            Gels?  What does that mean?

Here's what Jack taught me:  Great paintings fool the eye.  Look at a Rembrandt -- particularly one of his fancy portraits.  Look closely at the gold chain; it's blobs of gold paint.  Look at the lace; blobs of white paint.  Back up eight to ten feet -- it's an elegant chain, and the lace is delicate and detailed.

            Is Rembrandt the only --

Oh no.  John Singer Sargent had similar skills.  But Frans Hals was the best.  You look at his paintings and you can tell what happened.  A pal came into the studio to announce that a party had started.  Frans replied, "Just give me three minutes, and I'll be with you."  He slapped on some white strokes for lace, stepped back and announced, "Done!"  Then he went to the party -- 

           I see where you're going. In the gallery today, you see the exquisite lace in the Hals painting.                          But when you get in close, you can see how the paint was slapped on --


           So when Jack backs up for the gelling, does he ever back into anyone?

I haven’t seen it.

           That kind of spontaneity must be entertaining.

I suppose.  Evidently, art gives him the kind of excitement that others find in professional hockey.

            I don't think you give him enough credit.

How so?

            For him, great art may be direct contact with God.

That can't be.  There's a lot of raunch in some art exhibits.

           True.  But it's the creative impulse.  If an artwork grips his guts and heart -- or his imagination and                   sense of humor -- he'll credit it to the Holy Spirit.

That's ridiculous.  You're saying that Jack would discover God's Word in an art show?



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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