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..." 

Friday
Nov162012

LOSING WITH CLASS

A parable.

This parable also happens to be a true story.

It was a Thursday evening, early in November, 1988.  Two days earlier, Republican George H. W. Bush had just decisively defeated Democrat Michael Dukakis for the Presidency.  I was at the Sign of the Cross Housing workshop making a woodworking repair for our home.  WLW was on the radio.

The Bill Cunningham Show aired.  I was in no mood for Billy’s rants and was about to change stations when I heard Billy introduce his guest – one of the leading liberal Democrats in Cincinnati – a man who had been our Mayor a decade earlier.  From Billy’s introduction, I could tell that Billy planned to gloat while the liberal Democrat (call him LD) was expected to whine.

The two men had agreed two months earlier to have this confrontation two days after the election.  So, I let the program run while I continued woodworking.  I still remember the dialogue, which went something like this:

 

Bill:  I know you’re really feeling down tonight.

LD:  No, I’m feeling good.

Bill:  You’re joking.  You campaigned hard for the Democrats, and you lost.

LD:  No, we won.  We all won.

Bill:  What are you smoking?

LD:  Every four years, we have an election, when America wins.

Bill:  Win?  You lost.

LD:  No.  You don’t get it.  In many nations, government changes are violent.

Bill:  So?

LD:  Well, tonight there are no tanks in our streets.  We don’t hear shells or bombs exploding outside.  America is quiet and peaceful tonight.  America won.

Bill:  But you lost.

LD:  Sure, my party lost the election.  That’s fine.  America made its choice, and I rejoice in it.

Bill:  You can’t be serious.

LD:  Very serious.  Look, the United States of America is the world’s oldest constitutional republic.  Every four years, we fight it out with words – but not with guns.  To me, that looks like a really big win.

Bill:  But you wanted Dukakis to be President.

LD:  Yes.  But, now George Bush is going to be my President and yours.

Bill:  Your President?

LD:  Sure.  And do you know what my prayer is for him tonight?

Bill:  I can’t imagine.

LD:  My prayer is that he’ll be the best President we ever had.

Bill:  But –

LD:  If George Bush is a great President, you win, I win, everybody wins.  That’s how America works.

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Who was the liberal Democrat? 

You know him.  

Scroll down to find out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may be aghast that I quoted Jerry.  Well, I learned at least one good lesson from my philosophy major in college – “the source of an idea is no test of its validity.”

Jerry took his loss with class.  He didn’t whine.  Rather, he had perspective. 

Right now, many of my Republican friends are whining.  Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have been whining.  Whining is unattractive.

Worse, many of my Christian friends have been vilifying President Obama. In effect, they are cursing him. Jesus didn’t curse Tiberius Ceasar and Herod Antipas (even though they deserved it). 

Why should we want to curse our President?

Jerry is Jewish.  I see few Christians who match him in charitable wisdom about our elections.

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Jerry’s differing political views have been impacted by his differing life experience.  He was born in the Highgate tube station / bomb shelter in London during a German bombing in World War II.  His parents had fled Nazi persecution in Poland, and both his grandmothers were murdered in concentration camps.

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Because Jerry Springer is now the national sleezemeister, it may help if you know how that happened. The Jerry Springer Show started in Cincinnati.  Originally, it was a thoughtful TV show about politics and government.  However, most Americans have the luxury of ignoring politics and government most of the time – unless it directly affects them.  Our good citizens also ignored the Jerry Springer Show. 

His ratings were in the cellar, so Jerry spiced up the program.  More and more.  It went national, and the rest is sad history.

In closing, here’s an example of Jerry’s thinking – from his own program two decades ago.

“City Council is tying itself in knots over the Ku Klux Klan’s demands for demonstration time in Fountain Square.  And how did Council get in this mess?  Because they accepted the Klan’s claim of being a Christian organization, with rights of free speech.  That’s nonsense.  The Klan is a political party.  Council has power to regulate political activity in public places.  Council should give the Klan a full hour to vent their hate on Fountain Square – on Tuesday morning from 1 to 2 a.m.

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Here's another wise and hopeful political comment --

"How can an eagle fly so high?  

Because it has a left wing and a right wing."

     --  Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson, keynote speaker at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast

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

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