21st Century, Catholic, Christian, ekklesia, Intercession

Joshua fit the battle of St. Paul?

Jericho March 2020 Sunday November 8: Saint Paul, Minnesota

2020 is a confounding year, to say the least. In it, we are experiencing: a mass pandemic, shutdowns, unemployment and under-employment, censorship of thought, absence of worship, limitations on sports and recreation, peaceful protests, riots, and a non-stop barrage of the politization and polarization of almost every aspect of life in Minnesota. Add to that list, perhaps, the most stratified and contentious election of our lifetimes at the Federal level. We have not had a normal form of government since March 13, 2020, but have experienced life under the authority of a Governor and Executive council making nearly all decisions through a declaration of a “State of Emergency”.

Though my family and extended family surely have deeply held values, we are doing our best to sidestep partisanship, and be the kingdom of G-d wherever and to whomever He places in our path. It is difficult sometimes. (Just yesterday, over 646 people were arrested for blocking Interstate 94.) At times, it appears we are even physically hemmed into conflict that we did not invite.

Just as we were prayerfully asking for a response to these crises, we came across a post by Dr. Taylor Marshall calling Catholics to prayer for justice and honesty to prevail in this Presidential election.* In his post, he calls Catholics and all who name the name of Jesus to: fast, pray, and invite Our Father as we walk around the capitols or courthouses of our respective States. **,*** He calls us, like Joshua, to invite His Presence into our battles!

For those unfamiliar with the Scriptures, let me cite this synopsis from “All About Prayer”.

Jericho March – Joshua 6
“In the book of Joshua chapter 6, we are told of the first “Jericho March.” According to the Bible, the Israelites were led by Joshua into the land God promised them. They crossed the Jordan River and were instructed to conquer the land called Canaan. Jericho was the first city to be taken for the Lord. It was a city of false gods. Joshua was instructed to silently march around the walled city once a day for six days straight.

Then on the seventh day the Israelites marched around the city seven times with seven priests, placed ahead of the Ark of the Covenant, carrying seven shofars or ram’s horns. As they marched, the priests were to blow the shofars. On the seventh trip around, they were to give one long blast in unison. Upon hearing that long blast, the people were to give a great shout. When they did this, the fortress walls of Jericho fell flat to the ground allowing the Israelites entry to take the city. It must have seemed strange to the Israelites to enter battle by way of a peaceful march.

The residents inside Jericho were also surely puzzled by the six days of quiet marches around their city. But on that seventh day, they certainly believed their gods would protect them. However, once again the one true God proved He is mightier than all other false gods.

This Jericho March was the instruction given by God; it was His plan and they succeeded. We may not always see God’s logic, but He is faithful when we are obedient to His Word. If a church is petitioning the Lord for a revival or a new pastor, be sure, the Lord will provide. The Lord may call you to Jericho March in behalf of taking back your city from sinful corruption or for divine guidance for your leaders. Have faith that the Lord hears every prayer because He may again call on us to bring down some walls to restore His Kingdom.” ****

To friends old and new, please consider taking this simple action of faith; circle your local capitol or courthouse in prayer this week. You don’t need a sign, a website, a hashtag to give you instructions. We are inviting the King of the Universe to succeed where we have failed, state by state, county by county, town by town! Talk to Our Father like He really is a good dad that is deeply interested in your troubles!

A small portion of our family, only three generations, decided to have a fantastic brunch, prayer walk in St. Paul, and bring (representationally) a few guests. We remember our suffering brothers and sisters of the former Soviet Union through an icon of Christ given me shortly after the Coup of 1991! We remember our adopted family in Bolivia, (Great Grandma raised dozens of orphans there), and brought St. Juan and the promise of John 17:3. We wore crosses to commemorate those like Ansgar, ***** who brought faith to our family in Sweden roughly 1200 years ago!

We serve a wonderful Authority who found us when we were prostitutes like Rahab! We know a Judge who cannot be bribed, and He WILL bring justice and peace. We have a Father, who has adopted us into His family as a continuum of blessing and faith! Let’s get with His plan! Only move forward! He will send us the next step on the way!

“For You granted Him authority over all people, so that He may give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only TRUE God, and JesusChrist, whom You have sent.” John 17:2-3 Berean Study Bible ******

The Fall of Jericho

13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the groundin reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord[a] have for his servant?”

15 The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days.Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout;then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”

So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” And he ordered the army, “Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the arkof the Lord.”

When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the Lord went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the Lord’s covenant followed them. The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 10 But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” 11 So he had the ark of the Lord carried around the city, circling it once. Then the army returned to camp and spent the night there.

12 Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the Lord and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets kept sounding. 14 So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.

15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted[b] to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.”

20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.21 They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.” 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.

24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.

26 At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: “Cursedbefore the Lord is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho:

“At the cost of his firstborn son
    he will lay its foundations;
at the cost of his youngest
    he will set up its gates.”

27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.

Joshua 5:13-6:27 NIV *******

* https://taylormarshall.com/author/admin/page/163

** #JerichoMarch

*** https://www.christianpost.com/news/clergy-spearhead-jerricho-march-across-brooklyn-bridge-nypd-join-worship-goes-viral.html

**** https://www.allaboutprayer.org/jericho-march-faq.htm

***** https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=257

****** https://www.biblehub.com/john/17-3.htm

******* https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua%205:13-6:27&version=NIV

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Why pray through history?

My little corner where I pray. 2016. (Yes that’s an original print of Koko Taylor shot by acclaimed photographer and blues archivist Marc Norberg.)

Pray Through History: A New Way of Looking at History

Though this post mostly portrays my theology and touches on historiography, I want to bravely lead out with baring my heart. I pray through history out of love of Our Father. I pray because it is a calling. I’m incensed at the wrongs our human race commits towards Him. I’m humbled at my own betrayals of myself, my G-d, and others. We spend so much time academically threading the needle of who is offended by whom at what time in our past, but we rarely, so rarely, if ever look above the heads of our beloved enemies to see the offenses and betrayals committed against the “I AM”. How will we move forward as the human race if we maintain permanent grudges against each other? How do we heal the huge chasms caused by deep and real wounds, “ethnos to ethnos”, if we do not have a way to forgive, and an academy too often stuck in the same trap?

Dear and Holy Messiah, how grateful I am that You made a way! You literally gave Your blood and yielded Your life so that when we, too, are falsely accused and crucified by our neighbor(s); we also will rise again! Forgiveness may be the most costly of all the virtues You exhort us to live by. It is not a feeling that can be manufactured. It is not a commodity that can be bought or sold. It is not an exercise of the mind, or an intellectual “ism”. It is a habit of Your Kingdom; of those eternally committed to unconditional love. It is an impossibility without Your impartations of humility, revelation, and a new heart to replace our hearts of stone.

Though not in Scripture, You crystalized this human condition through the pen of English poet Alexander Pope. About 1711, he wrote a powerful poem entitled so appropriately “An Essay on Criticism, Part II”. What did You speak to us through this beautiful man’s mind but ‘To err is human; to forgive, divine’?!

May You be honored by our repentance, Eternal Father. May we break off the bitter branches of this tree of humanity. May we prune our own branches so that our neighbors may again enjoy Your light! How we love You, and need You this day to survive! Your adoring adopted son, James

A PRAYERFUL MODEL TO ANALYSE HISTORY

I. THERE ARE SPECIFIC ‘MOMENTS OF SEPARATION’ IN HUMAN HISTORY.

> For example, the Seljuk Turks attack Jerusalem.

II. ACTION-BASED JUDGMENTS IN PRESENT TIME.

> Jews to Seljuks, Jews to all Turks, Jews towards any outsider

> Seljuks to Jerusalem’s Jews, Seljuks to all Jews

III. FUTURE JUDGMENTS ARE FORMED BASED ON MEMORY, PERCEPTION, AND BITTER ROOT JUDGMENTS ARE SOLIDIFIED.

> Transference on a cultural scale.

> Perpetuation of offense.

IV.  PARTIES ARE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS AND JUDGMENTS IN THE LORD’S JUSTICE.

> Even righteous anger betrays the victim. Even if the victim is a city, culture, tribe, or nation. We have been forgiven all, and therefore must forgive all. (This is not easy. The decision of the will may be simple, but the maintaining a heart of forgiveness is divine. )

> This is not an endorsement of living without boundaries, especially personal boundaries. Rather, it is a challenge of the rights of a human being to hold another prisoner by the maintenance of an offense.

V. WE CAN REPRESENTATIONALLY ACKNOWLEDGE HISTORICAL SIN BEFORE OUR LORD.

>  Through Christ we have access to his Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence. He is present to all history, the present, and future events. He is within time, and beyond our comprehension of time. He knows all and can guide us to pray representationally, (intercession) for events of history, the present, and the future. He truly has unlimited power to forgive, heal, restore any human condition! 

>His only limitation is self-imposed: He is a gentleman with boundaries. He believes in good and evil, justice and injustice, lightness and darkness, separateness and relationship.  Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” We can trust in distinctions because He trusts in distinctions. Denial of sin within the context of our relationship with Him or others offends God because it denies our condition of separateness, or that we may have a need to address. Denial allows us to keep our pride, hold a grudge, or maintain anger. To use an old Baptist analogy,

“The whole world stand under the Niagara Falls of the Lord’s love. Some have their cups turned up and are filled. Others, although they under a deluge of love, can’t seem to keep a drop because their cups are turned upside down.”

VI. THROUGH ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF HISTORICAL SINS, WE SET THE PROCESS OF RESTORATION IN MOTION.

A. We become aware of historical sin through experience or education.

B. We confess it to the Lord. This is a legal admission of guilt.

C. We pronounce the Lord’s forgiveness of confessed sin. (1 John 1: 8-10)

D. He will guide it through the full process of restoration.

1. Confession leads to remorse.

2. Remorse leads to repentance.

3. Repentance leads to reconciliation.

4. Reconciliation leads to restoration.

VII. ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURAL PRINCIPLES OR MANDATES THAT OUTLINE OR AUTHORITY TO PRAY THROUGH HISTORY.

A. “It is never the will of God that the judgment due the wicked should come upon the righteous.” pp 14-15 citing Genesis 18: 23,25 NIV

1.”Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” v. 23 Abraham asks.

2.”Far be it from you to do such a thing-to kill the righteous with the                 wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” v. 25

B. “Every Christian has dual citizenship.” pp 32-35

1. “By natural birth he is a citizen of an earthly nation, and he is subject to all the ordinances and requirements of his nation’s lawful government. But by spiritual rebirth through faith in Christ, he is also a citizen of God’s heavenly kingdom. This is the basis of Paul’s statement, already referred to in our previous chapter: “We…are citizens of heaven.” Philippians 3:20 NEB

2. Example of dual citizenship: Jeremiah 1: 5,10 NIV  

-”I approinted you as a prophet to the nations.” v.5 

-”See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” v.10

– Jeremiah was subject as a citizen of Judah: “he did not “preach or      practice political subversion or anarchy. Nor did he ever seek to evade or resist decrees made by the government concerning him, even though these were at times arbitrary and unjust. Yet on the spiritual plane to which God elevated him through his prophetic ministry, Jeremiah exercised authority over the very rulers to whom he was in subjection on the natural plane.”

Derek Prince, Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting, (Springdale, PA: Whittaker House,1973)

Mark 2:1-12 NIV 

v 5. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “ Son, your sins are forgiven.”

v 10. “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…”He said to the paralytic, v11. “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”

“It is interesting to note that in John 20:22-23, Jesus breathes upon his disciples to receive the Holy Spirit, and then pronounces, “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”  Jesus is giving the church the authority to announce His forgiveness in the lives of those who come to Him in faith.  We do not have the innate ability to forgive anyone’s sins against God, or to withhold God’s forgiveness of sins from anybody.  But Jesus has given the church the authority to act as His regents or representatives in the world, and to speak on His behalf.  We can declare that “God forgives you” with all the authority of Jesus, because we are not declaring our forgiveness, but rather His forgiveness in Christ.  We are merely pronouncing the forgiveness made possible by the sacrifice of Christ.” 

Timothy Tennent, President Asbury Theological Seminary

http://blogs.asburyseminary.edu/global-talk/the-temple-is-here-mark-21-12/

His Holiness John Paul II, First Sunday of Lent, “Day of Pardon” Presentation

Vatican Basilica

 12 March 2000

I. The meaning of the celebration

1. On 12 March 2000, the First Sunday of Lent, the Holy Father will celebrate the Eucharist with the Cardinals and will ask forgiveness from the Lord for the sins, past and present, of the sons and daughters of the Church.

The celebration of the Day of Pardon was expressly desired by the Holy Father as a powerful sign in this Jubilee Year, which is by its very nature a moment of conversion.

“As the Successor of Peter, I ask that in this year of mercy the Church, strong in the holiness which she receives from her Lord, should kneel before God and implore forgiveness for the past and present sins of her sons and daughters. All have sinned and none can claim righteousness before God (cf. 1 Kgs 8:46)… Christians are invited to acknowledge, before God and before those offended by their actions, the faults which they have committed. Let them do so without seeking anything in return, but strengthened only by the ‘love of God which has been poured finto our hearts’ (Rom 5:5)” (Incarnationis Mysterium, 11; cf. Terno Millennio Adveniente, 33).

2. Consequently, the Church, in a Eucharistic celebration at the beginning of her Lenten journey, and thus in an act of thanksgiving to the Lord, confesses, proclaims and glorifies God’s work within her during the past two thousand years of Christianity. The Lord has been living and present in his Church, and through the Saints he has demonstrated that he continues to be at work in human history, in the midst of his community. Certainly, Christians, as pilgrims and wayfarers towards the Kingdom, remain sinners, frail, weak and subject to the temptations of Satan, the Prince of this world, despite their incorporation into the Body of Christ. In every generation the holiness of the Church has shone forth, witnessed by countless numbers of her sons and daughters; yet this holiness has been contradicted by the continuing presence of sin which burdens the journey of God’s People. The Church can sing both the Magnificat for what God has accomplished within her and the Miserere for the sins of Christians, for which she stands in need of purification, penance and renewal (cf. Lumen Gentium, 8). 

3. “The Church cannot cross the threshold of the new millennium without encouraging her children to purify themselves through repentance of past errors and instances of infidelity, inconsistency and slowness to act” (Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 33). Consequently, a liturgy seeking pardon from God for the sins committed by Christians down the centuries is not only legitimate; it is also the most fitting means of expressing repentance and gaining purification. 

Pope John Paul II, in a primatial act, confesses the sins of Christians over the centuries down to our own time, conscious that the Church is a unique subject in history, “a single mystical person”. The Church is a communion of saints, but a solidarity in sin also exists among all the members of the People of God: the bearers of the Petrine ministry, Bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful.

http://www.catholiclinks.org/sacramentoperdondiadelperdon.htm

Nehemiah 9:33

“In all that has happened to us, you have been just; you have acted faithfully, while we did wrong.” Nehemiah 9:33

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Governor C. Elmer Anderson

Clyde Elmer Anderson, a Republican, is elected the 28th governor of Minnesota and served from September 27, 1951 through January 5, 1955. This calm and assertive executive already had achieved the distinctions of being the youngest lieutenant governor at age 26 serving under governor Harold Stassen in 1938.  He went on to win five more terms under three different governors: Stassen, Thye, and Youngdahl in: 1940, 1944, 1946, 1948, and 1950. *

In many ways Anderson typified the upbringing of Minnesotans during this age: born “outstate” in Brainerd, on March 16, 1912, born one of nine children to Swedish immigrants Fred and Anna Anderson. Elmer simultaneously worked on the family farm, held an outside job, and went to high school. He lost his father at age 14, finished high school at 16, and began pre-med studies at the University of Minnesota to become a doctor. Though a solid student, he never finished his studies due to financial constraints. **

Not one given to self pity, the young Mr. Anderson picked himself up by his own bootstraps. He found a job at Service News Incorporated, a “a retail fixture manufacturer, a wholesale magazine and newspaper distributor, and a consulting company.” *** By the age of 22, he owned the company, and had made it profitable. 

Perhaps this bedrock solidity of character attracted the attention of candidate Harold Stassen to tap Anderson to become his Lieutenant governor ca. 1938? Though few records can be found to validate as to his own policies in this era, we find him a capable advocate of his governor’s positions.  Governor Stassen recollected of him, “He came in kind of unexpectedly, but he stepped in and carried on in a way that had the general approval of the people.” **** 

During his tenure in office Governor Anderson promoted technology and the skilled labor industry within the state. Strong local companies such as 3M, Honeywell, Engineering Research Associates, Sperry, and Cray needed incentives to attract brainy talent to his cold state. He undertook the tasks to reform mental healthcare, law enforcement, and penal systems.*

Lastly, Governor C. Elmer Anderson knew how to create a consensus. DFL leaders of this era recall opposing him on policy, yet he never yielded to partisanship. Namely, State Senator Don Samuelson (DFL) sums up nicely saying of Governor C.E. Anderson, “He was extremely well-respected by the Legislature. He was not confrontational. He was not there to pick a political fight with anybody. He was just there to get the job done.” ****

We turn to You, Eternal Father, Authority of Authorities, the Omniscient Head of the Council of Heaven and think how much this man’s type of authority reminds me of Your Son! Especially the last quote, “He was not there to pick a fight with anybody. He was just there to get the job done.” We praise You that You did not seek office, or power, or lands as You lived with us; You were here to get the job done!

C. Elmer Anderson led a life with striking parallels to so many of the heroes of our faith in that he trusted in Your positioning, and seemed content to be second in command. He reminds me of Aaron, who operated as the prophet and spokesman for Moses. He runs with Joshua; the strong right arm of of Moses. His administrative skills bring to mind Joseph, and the wisdom, (informed by Your revelations), he asserted to save Egypt and its neighbors. He is a reflection of Daniel, and the humble submission and service shown those of Nebuchadnezzar’s court. He prompts thoughts of Elisha, and his trusting relationship with Elijah.

Lord, hear our prayer; will You accept such commendations of C. Elmer Anderson? We thank You for his example as the longest serving Lieutenant Governor! We ask that You impart such gifts to our present and future citizens who bear the title of “Second in Command”.

We ponder these examples with You, and wonder “Why is it that Your Word gives us so many examples of “power under”? I recollect this idea presented by my former professor, Dr. Greg Boyd. In his book, “Myth of a Christian Nation” *****, he poses similar questions of You and the ekklesia. Your Bride, the Church, has at times acted out such conflicted examples of authority to our world. Sometimes we assert our legal or political wills in excess of Your Kingdom’s directives. Dr. Boyd called this notion; “power over”. Sometimes, though we are inheritors of Your great authority and revelations, Your Spirit may direct us to take the humbler paths of not asserting rights, authority, or engaging in combative rhetoric. To our world, and even to ourselves, submitting ourselves to Your Spirit can look and feel like a defeat. Yet, it is precisely Christ’s “defeat” at the Cross, along with its pain and humiliations, that enriches and empowers the joy of Your Resurrection!

Again, we thank You for this man’s long path to becoming our 28th Governor. We ask that You stamp the lessons taught through Governor C. Elmer Anderson into the psyche of our State. We hear this message; though a consummate politician, he did not lead by asserting political authority, but by trusting that his authority and positioning from You was enough. A sheriff who is insecure has to twirl his guns. A sheriff who knows he’s in charge: tips his hat, smiles, keeps his guns in his holster, leans back on the post of the boardwalk, and just regulates! Will You make of us, and give to us leadership that does the same? Amen.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1:18-21 NIV ******

** https://snaccooperative.org/ark:/99166/w68p8zcr

*** https://servicenewsinc.com

**** Citing Author Unknown, “The Minnesota Daily”, January 23, 1998. St. Paul, MN.https://web.archive.org/web/20160304094845/http://www.mndaily.com/1998/01/23/former-gov-c-elmer-anderson-dead-85

***** Boyd, Greg, “Myth of a Christian Nation”. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Zondervan, 2009.

****** https://biblehub.com/bsb/ephesians/1.htm

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Charles M. Schulz and Charlie Brown

Courtesy Charles M. Schulz Museum. “The New Yorker” October 22, 2007

1950

“St. Paul cartoonist Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” appears in papers and soon becomes the most popular comic strip in the United States. Clearly drawn from the “Li’l Folks” cartoons he penned for the St. Paul Pioneer Press between 1947 and 1950, Charlie Brown and company eventually take their adventures to books and television specials.” * 

Commencing on October 2, 1950 this comic strip’s first publishing marked the fulfillment of thirteen years of effort. Schulz endured and yet thrived through many challenges in this span. What can we learn about his life previous to this time that enabled him to create, perhaps, the greatest and most ubiquitous cartoon of all time?

Citing a few facts from the Charles M. Schulz Museum’s website, we find some insights. ***

1940- He decides to take correspondence courses from Federal Schools based on their emphasis on cartooning.

1942- At age 20, he is drafted into the United States Army and serves in World War II. (He observed later in his life that “The army taught me all I needed to know about loneliness.”)

1943- His mother, Dena, dies of cervical cancer shortly after his induction to the service.

1945- From February through July 1945, he served in Germany.

1946-1947- He lived with his dad above a barbershop in St. Paul, Minnesota, and gained employment through his former art school, now known as Art Instruction Schools, Inc. He corrected students’ work for the cartooning division of the school, and developed his tastes and talents as to what kind of work he most wanted to produce.

1947-1950- Charles scores his first round of success publishing work for magazines: ‘Collier’s’ and ‘The Saturday Evening Post’, and for newspapers in the ‘Minneapolis Tribune’, and the ‘Saint Paul Pioneer Press’.

Now we pivot to You; the Master Illustrator and Storyteller of the Universe. We remember the Messiah’s ability and use of parables to convey in emotional pictures the deep things of our hearts. Dear Holy Spirit, how we need You today, as everyday, to come and bring revelation. Will You let us erase strife and remember the eternal joys You hold out to us right now? What do You want to say about the everyday heroism of Mr. Schulz, and his beloved storytelling through the characters of “Peanuts”?

As we reflect on this chapter of history with You, we look for a root motive from its author. The main character of Peanuts is an ordinary boy, Charlie Brown, who never stops trying to succeed, but is often hampered with failure and humiliations. His observations about life range from the humorous to the serious. His nature is just like ours; simultaneously plagued with self-doubt and yet unquenchable hope that one day he will be victorious. Let’s go to the mind of the author and see what he had to say about, perhaps, the most beloved and known character of a story of the entire 20th century?

“Charlie Brown has to be the one who suffers, because he is a caricature of the average person. Most of us are much more acquainted with losing than we are with winning.” Charles Schulz **

An omnipresent symbol for generations of readers is summed up in his interactions with Lucy playing football; she holds the ball, he does a tremendous run up for the kick, and at the last second, she pulls the ball away, and he goes flying landing flat on his back. Yet, he never gives up on the notion of making a huge kick-off. 

(Allow us an aside to pray this point, Sovereign Lord? Will You forgive the ways we have broken faith in You, ourselves, and others as children? Will You search our root arrogance and character deformations made in our childhood vows? Will You forever make Minnesota a place where the innocent beliefs and hopes of children are returned by their peers and communities? Will You make adults more visible and present in the lives of our future generations?)

Additionally, we see Charlie Brown living in a world of children and their pets. Adults, to my recollection, are never visible. “Peanuts” pulls back the curtain on the lives of his neighborhood kids, and demonstrates that even the very young have strong temperaments and unique character to their personalities. Maybe, this is part of what makes this story stand apart from legions of its competitors; even the small universe of a community or ordinary neighborhood is still a microcosm of our future?

So, we bring You adoration for Charles M. Schulz and the world of “Peanuts”. We thank You that he overcame so many times in the decade before his first publications and successes. He lost his mother, and yet dutifully went to the war. He, subsequently, lost his home, yet adapted to living with his father above a barbershop. He stoked the fires of his dream with commitment to his craft and desire for more for a decade. He shared what he learned with others. He believed in the characters of Peanuts, and we were blessed by his insights into their very small but exceedingly important world(s). 

As Minnesotans, we thank You for the fun and “5 cent Psychology” stand lessons of Peanuts! We thank You for a man who, like Charlie Brown, never broke faith on his dream to tell an Odyssey-sized story four cartoon panels at a time. Will You bless our artists, observers, and story-tellers to have the persistence of Schulz? One day, they will win, they will have a glorious kick-off because You are holding the football!

“1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2Jesus invited a little child to stand among them. 3“Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.” ***** Matthew 18:1-5 BSB

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm 

The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** Schulz, Charles M. “Peanuts Jubilee”. 1976. Penguin.

*** https://schulzmuseum.org/timeline/#!/1940

*** More things to do from the official page. https://www.peanuts.com

**** See some fun pictures of Schulz and “Lil Folks” and support a 10 year old blogger to boot! https://lainie10.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/the-wonderful-world-of-peanuts/

***** https://biblehub.com/bsb/matthew/18.html

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21st Century, fasting, government, Governors, History, Intercession, Jesus, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, justice, omnipresent history, Prayer, Uncategorized

To the Honorable Tim Walz, Governor of Minnesota

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Judgement is a windmill.

Monday July 13, 2020

To Honorable Governor Walz, and the Minnesota Executive Council (Lt. Governor Flanagan, Attorney General Ellison, Secretary of State Simon, and State Auditor Blaha.)

As a courtesy, allow me a brief introduction? My name is James Orvis, married to Chris with three teenage daughters that all speak Mandarin. (Thanks Yinghua Academy!) We are currently residents of the Como neighborhood in St. Paul. I worked for years as a touring drummer (Romantica), currently pay the bills working photoshoots for a large Minnesota retailer, and for a light hobby have researched and written a prayerful interpretation of Minnesota’s most significant events of the past 300 years. My wife and I both have the distinction of surviving a coup d’tat; mine in Tallinn, Estonia (’91), and hers in Haiti when Aristide was ousted in 1994.

We have seen and tasted enough politics of the world to last a lifetime, and that is why I come hesitantly to ask one question; when will you restore our freedoms of religion, and reiterate for posterity that worship is essential? My personal mourning for this loss is so deep that I began fasting and praying for myself and all Minnesotans’ since May 11, 2020. I need my freedom to worship the G-d I love more than food!

I, as most Minnesotans’, do not blame you for your initial use of emergency powers to shut down the state. We had no data and were facing a colossal pandemic. For example, on March 11, 2020, “Congress’ in-house doctor (Dr. Brian Monahan told Capitol Hill staffers at a close-door meeting this week that he expects 70-150 million people in the U.S. — roughly a third of the country — to contract the coronavirus, two sources briefed on the meeting tell Axios.”* Most of us did not envy the weight of your responsibility given such claims and expectations.

In response to information such as that, you gave the initial declaration of peace time emergency on March 13, 2020. On April 8th, you extended the Stay at Home (Executive Order 20–33) order until May 3 at 11:59 PM. Again, you extended the stay at home order on April 30th for Minnesota until Sunday May 17 at 11:59 PM.** Today, you extended Minnesota’s peacetime emergency through August 12th.

Again, I appeal to you Governor and executive council members to take off your political hats, and try to see our life through a G-d’s eye lens. What is the cause and effect since the shutdown? A few examples:

  1. No Easter, even in the Vatican, for the first time in 1700 years!? No Sacraments? No grace flowing from the altar into the community. Though I’m a Christian with a Swedish Lutheran, Polish Jewish and Polish Catholic heritage, I seriously mourn that Minnesotans’ felt the loss of Ramadan, Pesach or Passover, and meditating at their temples.
  2. A state-imposed limitation of our work. To work is to participate in Creation, and to express our human dignity. It is a primary act of worship; i.e. “I may be changing tires, but I choose to work as if the King of the Universe were my customer.”
  3. We have paid dearly during the Peacetime Emergency for the loss of relationship between small business owners and their customers. It is not just an economic hit, but a hit on the basic trust and voluntary connections between neighbors. We spend money where we know and trust the people.
  4. We have allowed the fear of Covid 19 to rob us of the things that bring us joy: going to the park, eating a meal, having a beer, watching a ballgame, going to school, playing with friends, buying a coffee, sitting in a cafe, going to the theatre, shopping in a favorite store, and going out to dance. Etc. How are these simple pleasures an act of worship? Whether we acknowledge the Deity or not, when we feel joy we are reminded that “something is good in this universe, I’m tangibly experiencing it, and I belong here. I matter to somebody, and somebody matters to me.”
  5. Worship, I believe, in the Old English means something akin to “worth-ship, or to call something worthy”. Simply put, worship is choosing what is valuable to us. Our choices forge our experiences, and our experiences create our sense of memory. Our memory is what creates our identity. Composer Clive Wearing suffers from retrograde and anterograde amnesia. To his psychologists, he is known as “30-second Clive” because his condition usurps his past. In effect, he has largely lost his personality.**** Why is this relevant? There is an unprecedented cessation or censorship of worship for approximately 2.9 billion people internationally because of the Covid pandemic. What are the international results? We are experiencing one of the most profound attacks on history or historical statues and symbols in recollection, primarily through youth movements. Will this result in personal and cultural amnesia for our kids? Are we raising a “30-second generation”? Dear Governor Walz, how will we build and retain a common cultural identity if we allow the trend of erasing history? Our character is shaped by both our successes and failures; shouldn’t we remember both?
  6. To further the point, we see a crisis of justice. We have experienced and tasted the bitter fruits of George Floyd’s unnecessary death. We have seen a huge response of justice and righteous indignation expressed in peaceful protest. Yet we also saw protest boil over and result in approximately 1500 acts of property damage and violence committed against those who were not the cause of a botched detainment! For some of us, race, class, and gender could be construed as causal in this context; but what happens if we dig past these political labels to the heart? Perhaps it is an internal dysfunction? When we experience deep pain we have a choice; insurrection or introspection. We can choose to hold onto an offense, yet that is precisely what bonds us to our offender. Some call this principle ‘trauma bonding’. Dear Governor, how will our people heal without the introspection learned by giving and receiving both the Grace and Truth; the forgiveness and the judgment of Christ?

So now it’s time for some pointed statements based on nine years of interceding through our State’s history, four months of my experience of a worship-less Minnesota, and nine weeks of mournful fasting. I truly don’t relish rebuking you or your council, but ask that You listen to the kindness and sternness of G-d. (You may not understand or believe in prophecy, but I will share what I’ve heard in prayer and nothing more. Please test it against the Scriptures and your life experiences. Judge for yourselves if I’m wrong about the principles of sowing and reaping judgment.)

Hear the message of the Lord:

“Governor Walz,

Whether You accept it or not, you are my masterpiece. You were created for this moment in history to guide the political state of Minnesota into good government. Part of this understanding is the humility to understand that all political authority is subject to the Authority of Heaven.

I have these offenses against you:

You have judged that you are the arbiter of your citizens’ health, and have stolen their rights and responsibilities for their own health.

You have judged that “Worship is not essential” to Minnesota, and still withhold the freedoms of religion and the practice of faith from my people!

You have both withheld freedom from the people of Minnesota, and added to their burdens.

Governor Tim Walz, and the Minnesota Executive Council, I will now spiritually judge you and the Minnesota Executive Council precisely in the areas of your judgements. I, too, will govern your healthcare choices. I will withhold from you what you deem worthy of value, and goals you find praiseworthy; that which you worship. Humble yourselves! Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good. May You experience my Grace and Truth as you practice these principles of good self-government. Judgment is a windmill. Return to me and I will return to you.”

The Lord, Jesus Christ, Messiah and King of the Universe

In sum, Honorable Governor Walz, we love you, pray for your success, and need you to survive. The Peacetime Emergency powers are crushing our humanity, and extinguishing the light of our heritage of faith and generosity of spirit in Minnesota. Will you lift this burden off of us so we can worship, think for ourselves, and thrive?

Just another man who loves Minnesota, James D. Orvis

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21st Century, Faith, G-D, Governors, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, law, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Uncategorized, worship

Open Letter to my Pastor and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz

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Please pray for me to stay centered in the Lord. I wake up most days with a sense of heaviness for our state that has publicly weighed the expression of our worship as “non-essential”. Though I know that we serve a Savior that is omnipresent, I feel remorse that we have not responded in grace and truth to the governor, and his limitations imposed on every house of worship. Where is the masculine leadership of the Church of Minnesota to kindly, respectfully, but firmly stand up to the notion that taking communion, common prayer, common worship and fellowship is as valueless to our society as pumping gas?
He is our fuel! He is our grocery store! He is the department store for our spirit! He is worthy of the respect shown to Holiday, Cub, Target, and Walmart. Lord, if Gov. Walz is truly and sincerely acting from a place of benevolence, why is there no public recognition of the sacrifice of the Church of Minnesota? Why hasn’t our Governor made statements to assure our houses of worship that they will fully retain their inalienable freedoms of religion? Where is the law or precedent that a Governor can regulate, monitor, or insert state controls on the practice of our faith and worship?
If you know the answers to any of these questions, please tell me. My understanding of our law is that it based on the idea of apportionment, the idea that we can and should expect an even and proportional application of the law. Does this mean we can expect Walmart to limit itself to 10 shoppers at time like our cathedrals and large sanctuaries? Will G-d’s house be limited to 10 guests at a time irregardless of size? Shall all food sales, whether packaged or fresh or fast foods be restricted like a communion served only through a table at the door?
What about the spiritual ramifications of touch: in prayer? in baptism? in marriage? in mourning? Are the expressions of our humanity less valued if they come in the Name of the Lord than our neighbors who handle sod, install doors, or serve  coffee? Must we wear PPE to remain human?
It seems that these issues all hinge on choice and responsibility. If Governor Walz is the arbiter of health, then it follows logically that we are not responsible for our own health, and the state must make choices for us. Yet, for 244 years, the opposite is the norm.  We have the precedent given us by the 9th and 14th Amendments to retain choices not expressly given to the Federal or State governments.
 “In sum, the Ninth Amendment simply lends strong support to the view that the “liberty” protected by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments from infringement by the Federal Government or the States is not restricted to rights specifically mentioned in the first eight amendments.” Cf. United Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 U.S. 75, 94–95.
Lord, come stand between us and Governor Tim Walz. You have made him our legal authority whom we esteem, honor, and regard. Will You resolve this painful issue between the worshippers of Minnesota, and our Governor? We do not wish to become outlaws, but we must not fail by ceasing to worship You. We need You for our survival! We need Your Body for our survival! Come Lord Jesus; show us again that worship is essential!
“…Therefore love truth and peace.”  Zechariah 8:18
J.D. Orvis         Pray Through History
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21st Century, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Worship is “essential”!

Lord, currently I’m sitting by the liftbridge over the St Croix River in downtown Stillwater, MN. My heart is so heavy. I need a place of tranquility like this to pause and listen to what’s on Your Mind for the North Star State.

9:22AM Stillwater Lift Bridge A symbol that connections need not be rigid.

I began my fast this morning to call the Church to pray. Since March 13, 2020, all houses of worship of all faiths of Minnesota have been closed. Our Governor, Tim Walz, declared a state of “peacetime emergency” in response to the Wuhan pandemic. While I support his initial response to Covid-19, I do not understand or endorse the total ban on all of our normal expressions of worship.

Though I am committed to the way of Christ, my heart aches for those Jewish neighbors blocked from Pesach or Passover, Muslims blocked from kneeling together for Ramadan, just as my spiritual family suffered an Easter without the Last Supper, and the healing fellowship of our brothers and sisters. While quarantines do have precedent in our State’s history, the shut-down of the Church and all houses of worship, including their physical and collective acts of worship is unprecedented! Dear Governor, we love you, and need you to survive, but this is killing us inwardly, crushing our free religious choices, and limiting our own decisions to risk getting a flu versus meeting with Our Father.

Dear Governor, we kindly, respectfully, but resolutely dissent! I respectfully but firmly disagree that Covid-19 “social distancing” necessarily trumps our freedom of religion. I respectfully and firmly call the Church of Minnesota to fast and pray with me until the complete and uninhibited restoration of our “inalienable” rights are restored. I call members of all faiths to join me in this “Holy Protest”.

So we find ourselves in the same conflict as generations of the faithful. We have been served with an avoidable and unnecessary ultimatum; “Social distance, halt worship, or become an outlaw.” About two millennia ago, the Apostles found themselves embroiled in a similar controversy; “Why do our beloved brothers now consider us enemies?” In Acts 5:28,29 we see this conflict in early Church history.

“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us responsible for this man’s blood.” 

29 But Peter and the other apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men. 

There surely must be a way to resolve this! We can afford our Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, and Temples the same courtesy to remain open as Target or Wal-Mart! Let us fast and pray to the One until then. We must not fail to meet with G-d for He is worth it! Dear friends, old and new, let us declare to the ages; “Worship is essential!”

James D. Orvis – Pray Through History – May 11, 2020 – Iyar 17, 5780

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21st Century, Awe, Current Events, History, Intercession, Israel, Jesus, justice, omnipresent history, Uncategorized

No B. S. please!

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My title is not a reference to bovine droppings, but fill-in-the-blank Bible Study workbooks!

My wife made it a goal to teach our daughters the Word during this shut-down. A noble and worthy goal. Several of her friends wanted to study the same materials together, and they picked a series by Beth Moore.

Though I bristle at her women-o-centric presentation, I love Beth Moore and am glad that she’s out there. She clearly loves the Bible, the Christ of the Bible, and wants to help women know Him. Maybe I’m a rebel, but I just cringe at fill-in-the-blank anything!

That said, I’m doing her Bible study, but taking the rabbit trails I need to in order to reach revelation. Maybe I have a slow brain, and I need to look at a questions from multiple angles before I have an opinion? Her readings are centered on Genesis 1:26-2:17 and Genesis 3:1-9 and ask the questions: “Where are you?” and “Where is G-d?”

My process of reading scripture, if I have one, is to invite the Holy Spirit to help me learn what He wants today, and read until something “pops”. That’s it. My internal questions most days sound more like, “Hey Dad, what are You up to today? Can I come along?”

So, back on track, the first thing that bounced in this reading was Genesis 2:5.

“Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground,” *

What did this say to me? That we, humans, planted everything on the face of the earth. I had never noticed that we were made to be planters, horticulturalists, or farmers before today. (Sort of an irony that our Maker and our faith is so scorned on Earth Day when He put us here to make things grow, isn’t it?)

So I kept reading dutifully, blah, blah, blah, the whole text through 3:9. Nothing. Crickets. Then I re-read Genesis 2:16-17 and got bounced again on the noggin by the Counselor.

“And the LORD God commanded him, “You may eat freely from every tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.” **

Two more coins dropped, and two questions popped into my mind; “What does the Lord mean by “eat freely”? and “What’s so bad about knowledge of good and evil?”

Pondering the first question, I am led to believe that the Master loves sharing! He wants us to explore; climb every mountain and ford every stream. He generously gave us a universe filled with the answer “Yes!”

Yet, within His universe of freedoms there we find one “no”; “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.” It seems completely illogical at first glance that learning about good and bad, this and that, lightness and darkness could be, (gulp) deadly?

But thankfully, today G-d took me down a different rabbit trail to contemplate the sin before the “original sin”. What was it about Satan’s thinking and heart that ejected him, such a beautiful and awe-inspiring creature, from the presence of the Eternal One forever? What is another word that encapsulates and crystalizes “knowledge of good and the knowledge of evil”? Surely, the King of the Universe does not withhold or resent our learning, contemplation, and exploration of everything, so what is it?

Let’s focus on what He said, rather than on the Serpent’s hissing? ”

“for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:17b

G-d is the great “I Am”. He is the Only One Eternally Present. Therefore, He is the Only One worthy of the name Elohei Mishpat; G-d of Justice! He told us plainly, “You can’t eat this food of judgment or you will die.”

Not to be vain, but for the sake of argument, let’s cross check G-d, ok? Satan begins the cycle of sin in Isaiah 14:14 with a heart of judgment.

“I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” BSB ***

Look again, friends and what do you see; “I will” and “I will”! Satan’s original original sin is judging: a. That he is capable of knowing good and evil. b. That his assessment’s are more just than G-d.

But he is just the author of the cycle of judgment and counter-judgment. His ejection was the belief that he could rightly divide good and evil APART from the Omniscient One. His logical theorems, postulates, and arguments always fail. Forgive my wordiness, but indulge me an example or two?

  1. To perfectly assess and judge good and evil, one must have perfect and total knowledge.
  2. To have perfect and total knowledge, one must be eternal.
  3. To be eternal, one must not be a creature or creation.
  4. Therefore, a creature or creation is not eternal, and by definition cannot possess perfect and total knowledge.

Another attempt?

  1. Satan falsely judged Elohei Mishpat based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil.
  2. Satan’s judgement of G-d based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil broke relationship with G-d. (This is important. G-d did not leave him. He left the Presence of G-d.)
  3. Satan’s exit of the Presence of G-d began his practice of the cycle of judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil.
  4. Satan’s practice of the cycle of judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil entered the human race through Adam and Eve’s abandonment of Justice.
  5. Therefore, the practice of the cycle of judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil is Satanic, and excludes us from the Presence of G-d.
  6. Exclusion from the Presence of G-d is willfully practicing the cycle of Death through judgment and counter-judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil.

All this long-windedness to say that all forms of human separation started with a rejection of our Kind Judge. In turn, we have accepted the mores of the Enemy, a cruel judge whose false assessments are also based on false information. He is truly the Author of Prejudice! He pre-judged G-d and abandoned the Truth. He strives to teach humanity pre-judgement and the abandonment that any truth exists.

Insofar as we believe the Author of Prejudice and the Abandoner of G-d, we enter into his dominion of eternal co-dependency. We must kill and covet. We must reject love to protect ego. We must constantly remain in “fight or flight” mode because “our will must be done”! Our value is up for grabs because it is not rooted in Elohei Mishpat. We have self-rejected staying in the present through the grace and truth of I Am, and walk backwards over the cliffs of injustice. And that, dear friends, is the B as in B, S as in S of the Enemy of All Humanity!

Or…

We heal history because our Messiah believes in doing so!

We overlook and overcome lies and temptations to enact our “street justice” on our enemies.

We practice the Presence of G-d by remaining present to our lives through forgiveness and an acceptance of being a chosen and dearly-loved member of His family.

We remember, record, and bring our offense to the Only One who can take it.

We release the prisoners of the Enemy because we, too, know the horrors of “my will be done”!

We correctly accept that Justice is His, and He will fairly judge all when the game is over because He is the Christ of Post-justice not Prejudice!

 

*https://biblehub.com/genesis/2-5.htm

** https://biblehub.com/genesis/2-16.htm

*** https://biblehub.com/isaiah/14-14.htm

 

 

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19th Century, Archaeology, History, Intercession, Mississippi River, U.S. Constitution, Uncategorized

The New Minneapolis: More Bridges 1872

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“New bridges across the Mississippi unite the communities of Minneapolis and St. Anthony. With the addition of the older town on the east side of the river, Minneapolis will have a population of 46,000 by 1880.” *

It’s amazing that something as simple as a bridge can have such a profound effect on a city! As we ponder the function of bridges in the context of history, we can see their contribution to the relationships established through new freedom of movement. Perhaps one of greatest human rights granted Minnesotans, (or any people, tribe, or nation), would fall under the categories of “mobility rights” or the human “right to travel”?

What did this look like in legal terms? Within the U.S. Constitution, Article IV, Section 2, Clause 1 states that “The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.” ** So what does this mean to us in plain words, but a “a right of interstate travel may be plausibly inferred from the clause.” ref. Comity Clause **

What say You, Omnipresent One? It follows that the G-d Who is Everywhere would create us to move freely to better know our neighbor. It follows, to me, that as Author of Human Life, You encourage our petit movements, petit and gros actually, because You have created this universe, state, and city to be our playground. We remember and gratefully honor this inalienable right You bestow on all people throughout all times!

Will You forgive us for attempting to usurp this mandate? When and where we have been crushed by our authorities’ arrogance against Your Will; can You forgive us? Where we have, from a place of power instead of benevolence, taken or confined another person against their will; can You forgive our personal expressions of Nietzschean’ will-to-power?

Thank You for the blessings of the bridges of this state; both literal and figurative. Will You forgive any sins against You through the cultural clash of Western Europeans in Minneapolis with the Eastern European influence in St. Anthony? Our heritage matters to You; will You enable us to celebrate it today? Pour out Your blessings on us! May we forever explore Your neighborhood!

*http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privileges_and_Immunities_Clause

 

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20th Century, Christian, Evangelism, History, Intercession, Leadership, Minnesota, Uncategorized

BGEA Formed in Minneapolis

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billygraham.org

1949-1950
Evangelist Billy Graham founds the BGEA or Billy Graham Evangelical Association in Minneapolis, Minnesota to establish a radio ministry. Over the course of his life, the organization would use all current advancements in media, along with crusades (mass-meetings) to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to approximately 215 million people in 185 nations worldwide.

“At the mid-point of the 20th century, evangelist Billy Graham was just months removed from the 1949 Greater Los Angeles Crusade that launched his fledgling ministry into national prominence. As a result of this sudden exposure, Graham was approached about beginning a nationwide Christian radio program. Though he dismissed the notion at first, he eventually agreed, if $25,000 could be raised in one night to begin the process of buying air time. That night in Portland, Ore., the funds—an exceedingly large amount of money at the time—did come in, and the radio program “Hour of Decision” was born.
In order to handle the unexpected influx of financial support for the ministry, Graham called George Wilson, his business manager at Northwestern Schools in Minneapolis, MN., and Wilson immediately filed the paperwork to launch a non-profit organization. Thus, in 1950, BGEA was formed for the purposes of broadcasting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” *

Perhaps no person in recent memory did more to redefine their faith or world-view as Billy Graham. His laser-like focus, his raison d’être, was to convey the Gospel of Jesus Christ; nothing more and nothing less. To call others to Christ, one must first ask, “Just what is the Gospel?”

Graham’s clear answer to this question was rooted in the words of Jesus.
“For G-d so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV ** He amplified it’s meaning to him in the following quote:
“This is the one Scripture that I always preach on in a crusade, usually on the opening night. I suppose it is the most familiar passage in the Bible. It has only twenty-five words in the English translation of it, but it is the Gospel in a nutshell. Someone has called it a miniature Bible. The word “whosoever” in this verse means the whole world. Whatever the color of a person’s skin, whatever language he speaks, God loves him and God is willing to save him. To me that is marvelous. It also says that life doesn’t begin when you die, it begins here and now.” ***

Graham’s Gospel reminded the Church of its’ most important commonalities, and steered clear of areas of contention. It introduced to those outside his faith a Father that loved them, liked them, and wanted them. Below are some of the most universal themes of his preaching. Apart from changes in illustrations, he rarely deviated from these simple points.
We can believe in the Gospel because it was written in the Bible by those that witnessed it’s events.
Christ died for our sins on the Cross, and rose from the dead.
It is not a religion, but a relationship. It is G-d reaching out to humanity.
It’s free.
It’s for everyone.
It works. It heals all kinds of separation; internal and external.
It happened once for all time.
Christ is risen. Therefore, He is unique.
He has taken the issue of sin off the table forever so we can focus on real relationship with Him and our neighbor instead of guilt. We can do good works from a good heart.
We can receive it. ****

Maybe it was his commonality and clarity that gave him an audience and built trust with leadership figures the world over? For example, Mr. Graham met and offered his support to every United States President from Truman to Trump. ***** Queen Elizabeth, apparently, was comfortable enough with Billy to let him see her in her Wellingtons, scarf, and old raincoat. ****** Famed boxer Mohamed Ali agreed to meet with Graham and was stunned to find out that he drove an Oldsmobile. That said, Ali also remarked, “when we approached his home, I thought he would live on a thousand-acre farm, and we drove up to this house made of logs. No mansion with crystal chandeliers and gold carpets, it was the kind of a house a man of God would live in. I look up to him.” *******

So we remember Billy Graham today with You, Lord, and the beginning of the BGEA. Is there any wisdom You want to share through the recollection of his life and the Hour of Decision radio show? What did You think about the collaborative events, crusades, and tent meetings he led? How did You feel about his use of radio and media, or meeting with celebrities? As the Speaker of the Gospel, was he a messenger of gladness and announcer of good news?

Beginning with honor, we remember that You are the Author of all good news! You are the champion over every human frailty, rebellion, and separation. You sent Your Son to announce to the world, “Forgiveness and fealty of the King of the Universe to all who believe!”

Can we thank You that this impactful ministry was brought to Northwestern College, George Wilson, and the state of Minnesota in spite of the doubt Graham felt that such a colossal sum ($25,000) could be gathered in one night? We adore You for turning our radio on, and perfectly, strategically positioning the Hour of Decision at the heart of North America? (Could this happen here without the radio pioneering work of University of Minnesota professors Franklin Springer and Cyril M. Jansky Jr.?) Yet, You chose Minneapolis to be a place that broadcasts Your happy news!

Next we consider Billy’s open heart to Your methods, and allowing You to stretch him and build his faith to do what seemed so impossible. Let’s recall a list of ways You grew the impact of Your Kingdom through the BGEA: stadiums full of singing, wisdom taught, and repentance caught. You built an era of collaboration, perhaps, never before possible in the fragmented atmosphere of Christendom that spanned the fears, misbeliefs, and vanity of our denominations. Each crusade being the results of weeks and months of planning, meeting, prayer, and calling out local churches to serve…together!

We appreciate that the BGEA was an organization open to change, and receptive to technology. They did not see advancements in science as a barrier to the Gospel, but as critical allies. We see the growth of this team engaging the worlds of: radio, television, satellites, music and film producing, publishing, and internet media. Yet, through all these channels of communication, the primacy of the human being needing hope, peace, rest, courage, grace, and truth held firm. The gospel must be for people because G-d is for people!

In this, the evangelist set wise limitations to protect his purity and integrity. He met with every kind of person, but maintained his boundaries. Allegedly, he never entered a hotel room first because he didn’t want to be the victim of “gotcha photography” of gossip magazines. He submitted to an accountability group of trusted men who would ask him a list of pointed questions, and the final question was “Have you lied to us in any of your responses today?”

Lord, we see a man and an organization that lived what it believed. We are thankful for their example to their generation, and the impact it had on the present. We are thankful that Your Message brings independence and interdependence, yet frees us from co-dependence!

We also remember the opposition, past and present, to the evangelist and the way the Holy Spirit spoke through him to his generation. We have judged at times, as a Church and society, those who dare bring up the word sin. Yet sin simply means ‘separation’, and we are all disconnected inside and in our relationships in some way. We have taken offense that You dare to claim to be “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (John 14:6) We have, too often, chosen to hate the message of the evangelist; “You are free. Someone paid your bail. The door is unlocked, but you have to walk out of that jail cell.”

Again, will You forgive the bitter judgements against the evangelical church that Graham symbolizes by the other branches of Your family? We have been shamed by our own faith culture into compliance. Our culture combined with our own misbeliefs, (whether of religious, atheist, or agnostic origins), has largely silenced the voice of most evangelicals.

We perceive that we are a displaced and unwanted people group in Minneapolis. Will You speak the truth in love to us, Sweet Spirit? Will You remind us that there is a place for the timid and the weak in Your family? Will You remind us again how precious the blood of Jesus is, or that those of us with good looking problems are no better than those with obvious ones? Will You forgive our perfectionistic tendencies that block Your Lordship over our lives? Replace the “try harder” gospel ingrained in many of us with the “try humbler” gospel?

Yet, somehow, Billy Graham is just an ordinary member of Your society. As You forgive us, will You replace our curses with blessings? Will You overcome our distractions with a future of focus? Will You heal us from our isolation, and bring us into community? Will You give us calm, assertive energy and fresh purpose? May we forever do good works out of a clean heart in Minnesota! We all know something of the love of G-d, only open us to share the You we know!

P.S. I had to tack this song onto this post! Can you hear the optimism from 120 years ago? It sounds best on any old, dusty, out-of-tune church piano. C’mon all you underdogs like me! We all have a story! Tell your story!

“We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations”
by H. Ernest Nichol 1896

1 We’ve a story to tell to the nations,
that shall turn their hearts to the right,
a story of truth and mercy,
a story of peace and light,
a story of peace and light.
Refrain:
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
and the dawning to noonday bright,
and Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
the kingdom of love and light.
(https://hymnary.org/text/weve_a_story_to_tell_to_the_nations)

* https://billygraham.org/news/media-resources/electronic-press-kit/bgea-history/
** https://biblehub.com/john/3-16.htm
*** https://billygrahamlibrary.org/in-his-own-words-billy-grahams-favorites/
**** Gustafson, Roy. “10 Things You Should Know About the Gospel” August 4, 2008 Internet. https://billygraham.org/story/10-things-you-should-know-about-the-gospel/
***** https://billygraham.org/story/billy-graham-pastor-to-presidents-2/
****** https://billygraham.org/story/billy-graham-and-the-queen/
******* Ecksel, Robert. “Muhammad Ali Meets a Man of God”. February 22, 2018. Internet http://www.boxing.com/muhammad_ali_meets_a_man_of_god.html
******** Hear a sample of the “Hour of Decision” radio show. Though a rebroadcast, the original starts at 3:23. Enjoy! https://billygraham.org/audio/hour-of-decision-online-the-christ-of-christmas/

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