20th Century, History, Medical Technology, Medicine, Minnesota

First Successful Open-Heart Surgery

Dr. Lillehei and Controlled Cross circulation model, https://twitter.com/MedCrisis/status/1227349896119844865

September 1, 1952
“In 1952, after a long process of study, research, experimentation, and practice, Dr. Lillehei performed the first successful open-heart surgery on a human patient who survived.” *

To be more accurate, Dr. Lillehei assisted his colleague and close personal friend at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Floyd John Lewis in this first procedure. Dr. Lewis innovated the model of inducing hypothermia in his patients to slow the de-oxygenation of their blood during the the time the heart is stopped during surgery. While successful, they learned this model’s restricted time window, about ten minutes, was insufficient to deal with problems and complications of open-heart surgery. Dr. Lillehei sought new ways to overcome these limitations. **

For the sake of brevity, I chose to cite the wonderful synopsis written by Andrew B. Stone for the MNopedia tool of the Minnesota Historical Society below. The productivity, innovation, and advancements made by Lillehei and his expert colleagues, friends and collaborators at the University of Minnesota is so staggering that I would be remiss to provide an inaccurate source. Enjoy!

Chronology
“1942
Lillehei graduates from the University of Minnesota Medical School and joins the army as a surgeon in a mobile army surgical hospital (MASH) unit.
1945
Lillehei returns to University of Minnesota Medical School as a surgical resident under the supervision of Dr. Owen Wangensteen, chairman of the Department of Surgery.
1951
Lillehei finishes his Ph.D. in surgery and becomes a professor of surgery at the University of Minnesota.
1952
On September 2, Lillehei assists his friend and colleague Dr. John Lewis in performing the world’s first successful open-heart surgery.
1953
Dr. John Gibbon performs a successful open-heart surgery in Philadelphia using an artificial heart-lung machine, but these machines are difficult to use and open-heart surgery remains very dangerous. Several surgeons abandon plans for future operations.
1953
Lillehei and his research assistant, Morley Cohen, seize on the idea of using cross-circulation to perform open-heart surgery, and begin experimenting with dogs in their lab.
1954
On March 26, Lillehei performs the world’s first successful open-heart surgery using cross-circulation on thirteen-month-old Gregory Glidden. Glidden dies eleven days later, but an autopsy confirms that his heart defect had been successfully repaired.
1954
Lillehei performs two more successful open-heart surgeries. He announces these successes at a press conference and becomes world-famous.
1955
In collaboration with Dr. Richard DeWall, Lillehei helps to develop a simpler heart-lung machine and oxygen bubbler, making open-heart surgery safer.
1955
On December 9, Lillehei performs his 100th open-heart surgery, but the patient dies after surgery due to heart block.
1957
Lillehei asks Earl Bakken, an electrician at the University of Minnesota, to create a portable, battery-powered device to cure heart block by regulating heartbeat using electricity. (Author’s note: Bakken went on to found the Minnesota-based company Medtronic; a world innovator in pacemakers and medical technology.) ****
1958
On April 14, Lillehei successfully implants the world’s first portable pacemaker into a patient with heart block, saving the patient’s life.” ***

In the end, we may gain the greatest insights into this event and Dr. Lillehei through an interview with his son. Dr. Craig Lillehei, a pediatric surgeon at Boston children’s hospital, said the following about his father ca. 2014.

“The striking thing about him is that he wasn’t afraid of new ideas. And even sometimes crazy ideas. That he would fully consider them and work through it and see, that sometimes doing some experimentation and whatnot, to find out whether they made sense or not. I think that was number one. I think that number two is that he, sort of, knew the big goals and relentlessly pursued those.” *

Shall we begin our supplications by remembering the ancient nature of surgery? Egypt provided the human race with the first written accounts of human surgeries ca. 17th B.C., so all medical research is standing on the shoulders of at least about 3700 years of similar trial and error. We gratefully recount this foundation that provided the basis for modern scientific surgery, Lord! *

We follow that gratitude with a second praise; that You made Dr. Lillehei eternally curious! This man, whose formal education won him five degrees, remained open to new information, and scientifically embraced failures. Perhaps this is why he so consistently entertained solving “impossible” challenges?

In this, we see a refraction of Your nature and example, beloved Messiah. You astounded critics and cynics by embracing impossible outcomes.
“When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:25,26 NIV

A tertiary triumph of the life of Dr. Clarence Walton Lillehei is his example of collaboration, basic trust, and extension of relationship. Though a formidable mind on his own, he forged new paths in science and surgery with friends. And oh, what a cast of incredible human beings he created with: Dr. Owen Wangensteen, Dr. Floyd John Lewis, Morley Cohen, Dr. Richard De Wall, and Earl Bakken to name a few. For these, and surely many others, the State of Minnesota and the human race gives You praise! May we be humbly joyful that You guided all these paths to discovery and greatness; together!

Conversely, we remember also the frailty of the human ego. Quite often, innovators in any field care most about big ideas, and truly want their expertise to better the human race. Being motivated such, it is crucifixion to be blocked or cut out of recognition and acknowledgement! It, for so many doctors and scientists, breaks their hearts and spirits because they are fueled by having a good name rather than wealth. Where we may have failed contributors to science and heart surgery in Lillehei’s era, Will You forgive us? Where corruption, academic pride, or greed trumped researchers, will You have mercy? Will You honor those who silently have contributed so much blessing on the present and future?

As a last thought, we ponder the innovation of cross-circulation. What an apt icon of lovingkindness and self-sacrifice? These scientists and surgeons survived epic wins and failures by providing each others brains with the oxygen of acknowledgement, belief, and radical commitment to their various projects.

In so doing, they cross-circulated the lives of patients with hope. They dreamed impossible dreams, even having to create new vocabulary to describe it to their peers and students. What is this but bringing oxygen to the minds and misbeliefs of others?

We see many present forces running counter to the lofty ideals of Dr. Lillehei. Politicians, more concerned with who gets credit than care, starves the brains of innovation. Insurance providers, sometimes heavily manipulated by the political class, become micro-managers of their patients willingness to risk, thus, starving the bloodstream of hope. We see the limitations of the collectivist utopians and social engineers stifling creative thought, depriving our creatives of the freedom to think. Who will think big and make mistakes in our present and future, if we culturally mandate “correct” thoughts? Are we forcing society into the paradigm of “10 minute heart surgery”?

No! We need more time to fix broken hearts! Ruach ha Kodesh, (Holy Spirt) call on Your counsel to heal us in our sufferings in Minnesota. Your Body, the Ekklesia, dies without collaboration and being present with You and each other! We suffer from arrhythmia of culture; we want to keep beating, but can’t seem to find a common tempo! Will You bless like Dr. Lillehei, to see how our hearts can beat for each other? All is possible in Your Kingdom! Only impart to us belief and basic trust in our fellow man’s heart! Amen.

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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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Urban Population Tops Rural

Richfield, Minnesota “History of Richfield, MN. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richfield,_Minnesota#History

1950

“For the first time, the census shows more Minnesotans living in cities than in the country. For example, the population of Cottage Grove Township grows sixfold in the 1950’s. Builders convert thousands of acres of farmland into suburban housing tracts that promise wholesome family living within commuting distance of downtown jobs.” *

1940 Census 

Total population in MN = 2,792,300 

Total urban population = 1,390,098 (49.80%) 

Total rural population = 1,402,202 (50.20%) 

1950 Census 

Total Population in MN = 2,982,483 

Total urban population = 1,624,914 (54.50%) 

Total rural population = 1,357,569 (45.50%) *

It’s a bit strange to think that Minnesota’s cities and suburbs are so young. We were mostly a culture of agriculture only 70 years ago, yet that farming tradition changed in roughly the span of a decade?! What prompted these changes, and the results of these new suburban patterns of life?

Let’s recap what happened previous to the fifties; Minnesotans had survived the belt-tightening of the Great Depression, and the duress of WWII. In order to win the war, massive factories like the Twin Cities Ordnance Plant and FMC needed oceans of laborers nearby.**,*** Many of our people who were raised on farms, followed jobs and a sense of patriotic duty to factory jobs in the cities. Our people shoe-horned themselves in the urban housing available at the time, but many looked for a solution to their dilemma of remaining close to work without sacrificing a connection to the land.

Enter the surburbs! Imagine the joy of these ancestors as they moved from tight apartments, trailers, or rented rooms to owning a brand new place in a brand new town with optimistic names like Roseville, Golden Valley, or Richfield?! Granted, their living space didn’t increase dramatically. Many of these early suburban floorplans were under 800 square feet. **** However, now their “apartment” had: two bedrooms, a living room, dinette and kitchen, private bathroom, a front yard, a backyard, a garage, and was at least a full 12 feet from the next-door neighbor’s wall?! They found solace in the idea that they were still close enough to work, but could still see some green every day or even plant a garden on their own land. 

1950’s suburban floorpan, https://www.thoughtco.com/minimal-traditional-house-plans-177538

So here we come to You in prayer! You are the Master of the Open Field, the Property Manager of All Cities, and the Mayor of the Suburbs. Will You give us insight as we remember this moment in our history with You? Help us think through the impact of shifting from country to city to suburbs. 

Let’s begin with some common sense. Living on a farm doesn’t a farmer make. Every people group has its explorers who want, and maybe need to go beyond the shire. It’s just in their nature to be curious about whats around the next corner. So we thank You for the explorers of Minnesota who left the farm to seek a new life in the city. We thank You that their willingness to relocate and adapt helped our society throw off real threats to our freedoms in World War II. 

Though we do not think of these “explorers” as refugees in the modern sense, we can acknowledge to You that they were surely displaced peoples. Although they shared the same rights, privileges, and duties of their neighbors in the cities it doesn’t seem a stretch that they did not share in the cultures or sub-cultures of the cities. What kinds of judgments did rural Minnesotans make towards their urban counterparts? How did those raised in the city judge the “small townies”? 

One profound difference that comes to mind is that rural people must “make do” out of necessity. When geographically isolated, one must become their own mechanic, carpenter, toolsmith, doctor, and nurse. There is not the luxury to rely on specialists found in the city. So we praise You for the resourcefulness that these rural Minnesotans brought into Minneapolis and Saint Paul. We also ask that You forgive them any judgments of the ineptitude and pettiness of those who only know the streets. 

Conversely, those that live in the city, perhaps, are more schooled in people. They can rely more on others because the opportunity for more mutually beneficial relationships exist. They can specialize in a craft or science because survival is no longer a threat. The variety and breadth of opportunity increases with our exposure to more relationships. So we thank You for this type of knowledge of people, and the expansion of opportunity found by the increase of our population living in town. Will You forgive them their judgments of the naivete of the rural, of not knowing or following their etiquette?

In all of these judgments’ past, we still retain their taste in our mouths. We sometimes think of our neighbors as: “hipsters”, “yuppies”, or “thugs” if they’re too urbane.  It’s right there on the tip of our tongues when we see a: “hick”, “redneck”, or “backwoods” person fumble to order a coffee. To live in a secure neighborhood surrounded by a small yard is now synonymous with being a: “Karen”, “soccer mom”, “Joe six-pack”, or even, gulp, “suburban”. (And these are the nice derogatory terms we think and feel in our hearts and minds.) 

So we land here, Lord, we are inheritors of a mixed fruit basket; some is delectable, and some is rotten. Will You forgive our judgements past, present, and future on their desire to have a safe place to call home? Will You forgive Minnesota our judgments’ based on our neighbor’s place of origin?

Will You bless our cities, suburbs, and rural communities to welcome new neighbors? Will You teach our society to honor those with a different place of origin than ours? You respect our need for place and property; only let us pay that forward. 

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3 NIV

* 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!

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

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

**** https://www.thoughtco.com/thmb/wVF20PGrd_I7_tPAxq0IMH5kny8=/2840×1888/filters:no_upscale():max_bytes(150000):strip_icc()/1950smintrad-quiet-90009384-crop-57f66a0b5f9b586c35dcf125.jpg

***** https://biblehub.com/john/14-3.htm

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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, Culture, Current Events, death, Faith, Minnesota, Uncategorized

WHO told the old woman, “Go cry alone in your room!?”

 

Our Passover table with an empty spot for the Messiah and for Grandma?!

Mom’s middle name is Leona because she’s lived like a lioness: growing up in the mountains of Bolivia, losing her dad to malaria in Tanzania, nursing for a half century, (16 years of them night shifts), and raising four wildcatting kids with a Polack prince. Being a “typical Swede” this awesome 83 year old woman has virtually no health issues except an addiction to “church coffee”.
Mary is an “I love everybody, and you’re next” kinda gal!

About a year ago, we moved her from Minneapolis to a Senior Living apartment near us in St. Paul, Minnesota. Though her facility held much promise due to its proximity and lower rent; Ccp virus health directives have dashed our hopes to be her direct caregivers.  We simply have no access!

For background, her building has been closed to outsiders since the March 13 peacetime emergency declaration.* Tough as that may be, at least we could share a dog walk with her in the neighborhood through last weekend on Passover/Easter. But yesterday, even that was cut off! They don’t want residents to exit the facility, or even allow visits through a window or door.

Adding to the pain, on the same day as the facilities’ rules change, mom’s dear friend Bonnie died! I want to be there for my mom in her grieving. I want to honor the law, and respect the needs of her apartment complex, but it goes against every natural instinct in me to stay away. 

What can I do? Yes, we could do face time or zoom. (If she knew how to use a smartphone.) In my world, it’s only natural to put an arm around someone crying: hug them, rub their back; or just be there and cry WITH them! 

Covid 19 prevention protocols feel more and more like a Pyrrhic victory: to stop the fear and panic of a contagion of some, we choose to tell our elders, “Go cry alone in your room!”

 


* https://www.twincities.com/2020/03/25/minnesota-stay-at-home-order-on-coronavirus-what-it-says/

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

BGEA Formed in Minneapolis

LA-poster

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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20th Century, Agriculture, Business, farming, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Jennie-O Turkeys

Unknown

Photo credit: mnopedia.org

1949
Turkey farmer Earl Olson buys a processing plant in Willmar, the beginning of Jennie-O Foods. Wheat feed and the growth of Jennie-O and related companies make this region a hub of turkey farming. By 1999, Jennie-O turns buys enough turkeys from independent farmers to produce 860 million pounds of 400 different turkey products. The company is known as the world’s largest turkey processor.*

For readers outside the midwest, or unfamiliar with this amazing bird, we first ask the question; why does turkey matter? Our state is fortunate to be home to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association; a think-tank for the center-piece of our Thanksgiving meal! Please peruse some of these facts below to see why the MTGA is so enthusiastic about phasianidae!

“Minnesota is ranked #1 for both turkey production and processing in the U.S.
Each turkey generates $17.46 of direct economic activity to the state.
Minnesota’s turkey companies – Jennie-O Turkey Store, Turkey Valley Farms and Northern Pride Cooperative – employ over 7,600 people.
Turkeys are allowed to move freely throughout the barn. They are not kept in cages.
It takes 75-80 pounds of feed to raise a 30-pound turkey.
To reach full grown, tom turkeys are raised for about 18 weeks and hens are full grown at 15 weeks.
The average turkey has 3,500 feathers.
Only tom turkeys “gobble;” hens “click”.
Turkey meat packs more protein and less total fat than similar cuts of chicken and beef.
Turkey is low in cholesterol and trans-fat free.
A frozen turkey can last up to a year in the freezer.” **

Learning even these few facts, we see the utility of turkey farming. Perhaps seeing this potential 80 years ago partially explains the motives of Earl Olson. To add further, Earl was born May 8, 1915 to Swedish immigrants in Murdock, Minnesota, Swift County just before World War I. This would place Earl as a teen who experienced the scarcity of the Great Depression. Could this be a root motive to spark his fire for a cost-effective, healthful, and environmentally responsible source of meat?

Going to the company website, we find a useful outline of some of Olson’s history and visions for turkey processing.

“Earl B. Olson, Founder of Jennie-O Foods
Earl B. Olson is considered an icon in the turkey business. His tireless efforts and forward thinking helped propel Jennie-O Turkey Store and the turkey industry to what it is today.
1940: Earl starts raising turkeys while managing a small creamery.
1949: Earl purchased his first turkey processing plant, Farmer’s Produce Company, in Willmar, Minnesota.
1950: Dairy and other poultry products are phased out to focus solely on turkey.
1953: Earl converts Farmer’s Produce Company to a USDA-inspected turkey plant and names the brand JENNIE-O®—after his daughter, Jennifer.
1954: Farmer’s Produce Company purchases a second plant and seeks international distribution. A third plant is purchased in 1966.
1963: Earl’s son, Charles, joins the sales staff and becomes president in 1974.
1971: Farmer’s Produce Company changes name to Jennie-O Foods, Inc.
1973: The Willmar Avenue plant and corporate office are built to accommodate expanding processing capabilities.
1984: Jennie-O Foods, Inc. is among the first to develop the turkey hot dog, using a top-secret seasoning recipe and a custom-built, continuous oven stretching 100-feet long.
1986: Jennie-O Foods, Inc. is purchased by Hormel Foods Corporation.” ***

How does one give gratitude for our national symbol of Thanksgiving, Lord? Will You come, Holy Spirit, and lead us to ponder Mr. Olson’s contributions to Minnesota? Will You help us think about Your contributions to us through the members of the turkey family: Beltsville Small White, Bourbon Red, Jersey Buff, Narragansett, Royal Palm, Slate, Standard Bronze White Holland, Broad-Breasted Whites, and Heritage (Wild) Turkeys?

As You say, “the first deal be last, and the last first”, and so we start by remembering what gifts have been given to this continent through Meleaagris gallopavo a.k.a. Wild Turkeys. We thank You that they were an important food source for the Ojibwe and Dakota Nations for hundreds of years in Mni Sota (Minnesota). **** We remember that because turkeys were indigenous to North America, Spaniards, the French, and the English all fared better. ***** Thank You for giving us the “big brother” of the grouse to hunt for all these years! We remember that You made the marvelous wild turkey that could fly fast, run swiftly, and be positioned here for our survival!

Also, we recollect the bounty of the birds that went back to Europe and returned over time as our present-day domesticated breeds of turkey! We thank You that Mr. Olson saw the incredible utility of farm-raised turkeys! That he grew his business with a conscience that respected You, the land, the farmer, and the animal.******

Maybe this conscientiousness is why You chose him to oversee the increase of our State’s turkey production; we went from an insignificant source in 1949 to 42 million birds in 2019. ******* We thank You as a people for his stewardship of turkey’s! We ask Your blessing on every Minnesota turkey whether: Tom (male adult), Hen (female adult), Poult (baby), Jake (young male), or Jenny (young female)! We ask Your blessing on every turkey farmer past, present, and future! Will You give us grace and knowledge, like Earl B. Olson, to have such incredible focus on our life’s work, and cultivate a healthy culture across all forms of life raised in Minnesota?

* 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!
** https://minnesotaturkey.com/turkeys/fun-facts/#toggle-id-1
*** https://www.jennieo.com/content/our_history
**** https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/wild-turkeys-in-canada
***** https://blog.nwf.org/2012/11/lets-talk-turkey-history-of-wild-icon-in-america/
****** Obituary. Internet. December 13, 2006. StarTribune, Mpls.,MN. http://www.startribune.com/obituaries/detail/9061815/
******* https://www.ers.usda.gov/newsroom/trending-topics/turkey-sector-background-statistics/

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