Uncategorized

Insurrection or introspection?

The life of my home state is profoundly disrupted since March 13, 2020. Since then look at the effects of living under a “peacetime emergency”:

1. Covid 19 outbreak. 2. Shelter in place orders and the total cessation of all houses of worship. 3. Cessation of economic activity. 4. Massive unemployment. 5. GF death. 6. Massive protests. 7. Protests of righteous anger misdirected into insurrection. 8. City Council voting unanimously to “dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.

Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, will You give us a heart of introspection that displaces the heart of insurrection? Establish Your dominion of grace and truth within the people, land, and history of Minnesota. We love you. We welcome you. We need you in order to survive the chaos present, and establish Your EKKLESIA in the future. Amen.

Standard
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

iu
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. 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 Time 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
Standard
Uncategorized

Heart Reality

Congregational Church of Excelsior, UCC, Est. 1850

https://wp.me/paVTXh-aY

Hey friends!

So interesting to find this teaching on fasting here, and that the Word from Zecariah mentions fasting in the 5th month. I know his calendar was different than ours. (I believe Hebrews used the lunar calendar. Correct me if I’m wrong?)

Yet, the Lord invigorated me through this little half verse in Zechariah 7:3! It lines up with yesterday’s call to prayer. (Worship is Essential) Today, I just want to spread the idea that a call to fast need not be a huge scary thing.

If you eat 12 slices of pizza a day, maybe try eleven? If you eat 2 Ho-Ho’s every lunch, maybe eat one and share the other? What if He wants you to fast from fear, or from bingeing on anxiety-producing TV news? One could practice choosing to tell oneself a promise from His “love letter” to the human race; the Bible.

The Lord has me on a total fast from eating. I will drink only cleansing drinks. I’m giving my mind, body, and spirit a rest. I had so much more time yesterday to think, pray, and spend with my wife and daughters because I wasn’t a slave to my hunger.

Listen to G-d. If He calls to you, join me in fasting until worship is declared essential in Minnesota, your state, province, island, or nation. He invites our humility, and truly enjoys our undivided attention. Will you give it to Him today?

Standard
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

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

No B. S. please!

20190421_155258

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

 

 

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

The New Minneapolis: More Bridges 1872

1280px-Comity_Clause1872
“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

 

Standard
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/

Standard
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/

Standard
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/

Standard