Thursday, November 17, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/17/16
“It is no disgrace to be poor, but it can be inconvenient.”  (Danish Proverb)  Sensitivity Training sessions have been offered to pastors to help them better understand situations that people face.  For example a pastor-trainee is dropped off on Skid Row with nothing but the clothes he’s wearing and told to live there for a couple of weeks.  Picture yourself!  The haves will often make judgments of the poor.  Some have no idea!  Put them on Skid Row.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Growing up, we weren't poor. We just didn't have any money. ====JACK:  Nor did we.  It was inconvenient at times, but we made do.  Of course parents didn't always share with children how difficult it was.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Or drop him off in East Moline of the 40s and see if he can live thru that....that was one tough place.....fights all the time.====JACK:  I recall a strong Mexican community centered around Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Having just helped a person evicted from her little box house of 16 years find new affordable housing, and money for moving, fees, etc. this hits home.  Our church is in a very changed neighborhood from when it was built 100 years ago, and we continue to minister as best we can, to the needs of present day.  One of the prominent African American musicians, Jay Z, who grew up desperately poor, and is now wealthy, said in People Magazine "The burden of poverty isn't just that you don't have the things you need. It's the feeling of embarrassment every day of your life, and you'd do anything to lift that burden."  I'm sure we have no idea...!  We CAN try to empathize and help in our little corner of the world.====JACK:  We can sympathize, but we can only empathize if we've walked the same walk that their walking.  3 cheers for what you and your church are doing!

ROM RI IN BOSTON:  It can also be frightening, to think of surviving with nothing.  Begging or stealing can provide some, but can you imagine relying on that endlessly?  We are living in an era of overwhelming wealth for a privileged few, and destitution for so many others.  I think a day is coming when all of us will be confronted by hard times, and the wealthy will find what it's like to survive with nothing.====JACK:  I get fed up with those politicians who call "food stamp" people, moochers, while they vote "perks" for themselves.  Some day the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is going to turn into reality.  Could that be a preview of heaven and hell?

FFROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  good words, Jack.  thanks...====JACK:  Would you volunteer for the Skid Row training?====SP:  I have often said that someone should stand on the corner on Wall St. every morning and read aloud the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.   it wasn't what the Rich Man did.  its what he didn't do!  he just did NOT see poor old Laz...====JACK:  ...or, maybe stand in front of some of our churches.====SP:  not for two weeks but maybe for a day or two.  do you recall the fellow who had his white skin blackened back in the 1960s and then he went down south for a number of months to experience real racism.  he wrote a book called Black Like Me.   when I was in college our religion  class was told to dress up in ragged old clothes, uncombed hair, etc.  and then go to a church on Sunday morning  in the Fargo/Moorhead area and see how well you were treated.   a number in the class were ushered into the back row of the churches they chose to attend or just ignored altogether.  a memorable learning experience.====JACK:  I remember hearing about a pastor who dressed up as a vagrant, came hesitantly to the front of the church during the opening hymn.  After a pause, he revealed who he was and preached about Jesus coming to us in various disguises.====SP:  I have a little book somewhere around here that lists over 100 titles or descriptions given for Jesus in the Bible.  he surely had a lot of different personas.  a tribute to how many ways he can make himself known to the world...====JACK:  How do you describe the indescribable?  God did it by using Jesus.

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA:  If the Danes who said that had visited any big American city, they would have added “…and dangerous!”)  A related saying occurred to me one day in the mid-1970s, while being conducted through the basement of a college-dormitory-sized Tudor style house in Bloomfield Hills (the home of one of my stained glass clients). As we walked past aisle after aisle of floor to ceiling shelves packed with manufacturer-sized shipping cartons full of paper towels, bathroom tissue, cleaning products, dry goods and so on, I realized that if you had money and storage room to spare, you could be your own ‘wholesaler buyer,’ and save a bundle. Seeing this as an economic benefit only wealthy people could enjoy, I thought: “It costs more to be poor than to be rich!”====JACK:  Most of the tax loopholes have been created by the rich in order to maintain their "richness."  The Bible has stories about the final judgment when roles will be reversed.  St Paul warned the Galatians (and us)..."Do not be deceived.  God cannot be mocked."  Your story of cases and cases of toilet paper reminds me of the rich man who built bigger barns.====MT:  Yes. And dollars are trivial in comparison to the riches of the spirit!====JACK:  ...treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupt and thieves steal...treasures in heaven where that doesn't happen.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I think the hardest thing for me would be not being able to keep clean...that and pure terror.====JACK:  I'd head for the Mission.  Godliness beats cleanliness...and there's food.====JUDY:  That's a great answer!====JACK:  I think that some of the missions make the vagrants listen to a sermon before they are fed.  Personally, I don't think that Jesus would do that.

FROM JB IN OLV:  …and the poors make judgments on the haves====JACK:  Even religions make judgments about otheer religions.  Didn't Jesus say in the Sermon on the Mount..."Judge not!"

FROM MY CHALDEAN FRIEND:  Amen my friend, I wish I can convince many members of my Chaldean Community to do that.  They have become more selfish and forgot how poor they used as I be in the old. Country.====JACK:  The Chaldeans have such a proud heritage.  "The love of money is the root of all evil," says the Bible.

FROM TARMART REV:  Maybe the next time I'm back that way, you and I could spend a night or two down in Greektown on the streets...maybe hit the casino for evening meal if we panhandle well. ====JACK:  There are some places in Detroit where you would not want to or night.  It's that way in most major cities.====REV:  I'm not really made for inner city ministry...too much of a teddy bear and always wanting to give money to someone.====JACK:  There are various kinds of ministries, but the same Lord.  You are using the talents that God gave you in a way that is special for you...and you're doing a good job of it.

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