Awe, Faith, music, Uncategorized

Unknown-2Unknown-1Unknown

Wordwise Hymns submitted an article that really stirred me up today. Though mostly about hymns and John Newton, the author questions our sense of wonder of G-d at the end of his article. Where is the passion of the Church in its songs? Why don’t we invite our heart (and maybe brains?) to Church or Synagogue? Below, I took a stab at one idea that may limit us. What do you think limits passion towards G-d?

 

HOW TO USE THIS BLOG 1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day. 2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the […]

via Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder — Wordwise Hymns

“I believe the wonder of the modern expression of the Church is quenched through decades of passivity, or maybe a failure of curiosity.
My spiritual heritage ranges from observant to belligerent, from the first pagan Swedish converts of Ansgar to atheistic Swedish socialists, from Polish Catholics to Polish Orthodox Jews to atheistic Jews. All this inheritance from Europe was then crunched and compacted into smaller boxes of American Protestantism: Episcopal, various Lutheran synods, Baptist Fundamentalism, Assemblies of G-d, the Vineyard (Non-denominations), Messianic Jewry.
I am surely not condemning the Church that I know and love, but am aware of how effective our common enemy is at lulling us to sleep.
Many of us only know Church history as told to us through secular scholars. We don’t know the backstory of the hymns or their authors. How many of them suffered for the privilege to worship G-d in Spirit and Truth?
We have disconnected from the Old Testament, in some cases, almost entirely. We don’t connect with its’ Feasts and Holidays so we are limited in relating to the founders of the Church and our Savior.
Surely, He loves us whether we read the newspaper or Herodotus, but it seems plain to me that one who remembers only 75 years of the Lord’s faithfulness may experience less passion than those who draw on the memories of Israel and the Church over the past 5775 years. May we be ever curious and ACTIVELY meditate on our King of Kings, and his unmerited favor shown through the stories of the faithful throughout history!” PTH

Do you ever wonder about G-d?

Quote
20th Century, Anti-Semitism, Fundamentalist, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

William Bell Riley and Fundamentalist Anti-Semitism?

Unknown-1

1936
William Bell Riley, pastor of First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, founder of the World Fundamentals Christian Association (WFCA), and president of Northwestern Bible School advocates against socialism of New Deal, the black market, and unionism. His outspoken belief that Jews within the Bolshevist (Communist) movement were committing acts of conspiracy and treason labeled him an “Anti-Semite”.*

“It cannot be understated. Bolshevism was the greatest human slaughter of all time.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

(The following text is transcribed from the original scans available at the Riley collection at the University of Northwestern).

The Jew and Communism
October 1936

For three successive Sunday nights I have been giving a brief dissertation on Communism, the first of these – “Shivering at the Sight of a Silver Shirt,” the second – “The Red Shirt of Russia and a Shirtless Russia”, the third – “Is There Danger to America in Communism?”, and now tonight,- “What Has the Jew to do with Communism?”
A Paper entitled “Anti-Semitism in America”, a Jewish defender says:-
“Until the last few years it has been the Fundamentalists and Premillennialists who have been noted for teaching kindness to the Jews and for persistently promoting the preaching of the Gospel of the love of Christ to the Jews.”
This is absolutely true! I have been a member of the boards of the two Jewish Missions of this city; I was for years on the Board of Councilors of a New York Mission. As a Fundamentalist and a Premillenialist I accord to the Jews not only a great place in past history, but also a major place in prophecy, or history to come. But I also agree with another statement to be found in that same Jewish Defense Paper, namely,
“The Word of God offers no quarter to individual Jews who may be criminals. There is no warrant for dealing gently with an offender against the peace of society, because he happens to be a Jew.”
“Anti-Semitism” is a sadly misapplied term. If it means anything, it means “opposition to Abyssianians, Arabians, Palestinians, Phoenicians, Syrians, and the countries of the Euphrates and the Tigris;” and everybody knows there is no such opposition. The term adopted covers entirely too much, and in some cases is intended as a cloak against all conceivable crimes.
For instance Guilford and Liggett were brutally and cowardly murdered. They were murdered in the same way and in all probability by the same man (Minneapolis- based Jewish gangster Kid Cann a.k.a. Isadore Blumenfeld), and in each instance by a shotgun. But, when two people, witnesses to the second murder, testified as to the man they saw do the deed, it is very poor taste to cry “Anti-Semitism” and try, thereby, to prejudice the public against the justice that should have been meted out to a liquor vendor Jew!
The same principle applies when Jews are found leading Communistic meetings,- as in Chicago heading Communistic parades,- as in Minneapolis, directing Communistic banditry,- as in China, and murderous revolutions,- as in Russia.**

William Bell Riley, like many religious leaders of the 1920-30’s, was known as a vigorous advocate for his worldview. It was his organization, the World Christian Fundamentals Association that wired William Jennings Bryan urging him to act as counsel for the association in the Scopes Trial.*** He saw the movement of evolution as a force to dilute and delude people from the Word of G-d and His sovereignty over all creation. Academically, he resisted evolution education on the basis that it was neither sound science or necessarily observational. As an example, the fossil records did not record trans-species mutations that would be physical evidence of Darwin’s theory.

For these reasons, he battled and debated evolution in the public arena, and in proposed law.
“…the University of Minnesota, of which the students and president, Lotus Delta Coffman (1875-1938), provided the most effective opposition to Riley’s proposed anti-evolution law. Their resistance, based on the issue of academic freedom, together with lack of support for Riley’s campaign from denominations other than the Baptists and from the general public, doomed the anti-evolution measure. Nevertheless, Minnesota came closer than any other northern State to passing such a law.” ****

This could contribute to Riley’s distrust of academic culture, but how is failure to support evolution as part of the curriculum of the University of Minnesota an act offensive to Jewish culture of the era? Perhaps it can be better explained by the life experiences and fears of both the Fundamentalists’ and the Jewish political Progressives in Minneapolis? At the risk of over generalization, the author will nonetheless cite in broad terms the movements of these camps within the North Star state to further ponder motives.

Often, those in the Fundamentalist camp were Mid-Western in values, and saw life through a spiritual filter first, and one of politics or citizenship secondly. They were distrustful of the Eastern “Establishment” and the powerful influence it had already wielded on their lives. Their issues related to a sense of loss and control of Minnesota’s: farming, railroads, mining, land use, taxation, finance, culture, and a combined faith heritage of mostly Protestant and Catholic Churches. In short, an outsider changes the rules of the game, and picks winners and losers.

In a similar way, religiously observant Jews from Eastern Europe sought shelter in Minnesota, and viewed life through a spiritual filter first, and a political lens secondly. They had survived pograms of Russia, corruption and prejudice against their way of life in Poland, and wanted a place to be free. In many senses, their values aligned with the Mid-West, though their collective memory was longer, and more international in scope.

Conversely, when politically Progressive Jews had arrived here, usually from the East Coast, they exerted a considerable influence on the laws of this time period. They, in a general sense, sought the redemption of humanity not through the law of Moses or the acts of YHWH, but through mostly secular and political means. They also had survived the pograms of Russia, and the suppressions of Polish Catholic Nationalism, and these painful memories rightfully pushed them to distrust “Christian” leadership or the benevolence of the “Church”. For many, Marxism became a new Torah that could overcome the obstacles and stagnancy of the old world, and bring a new way through collectivism and faith in humankind.

It seems, in hindsight, that these Progressives and the Fundamentalists were designed to grind: one valued private property and the other the collectivization of all property, one espoused self-government as a virtue and the other the primacy of the state, and finally, one camp held G-d as the ultimate source of authority and the other deified man. Perhaps Riley actually believed that the political motives of these Progressives were the enemy of our Republic, and not their Jewish identity whether aligning with the religious or non-theistic expressions?

Having explored this premise as a backdrop, we return back to the saga of W.B. and the shirt sermons. Famed University of Minnesota Professor Hyman Berman believed that Riley displayed anti-Semitic behaviors during this epoch. In his book, “Anti-Semitism in Minnesota during the Great Depression”, he uses an example of Riley’s sermon, “Shivering at the Sight of a Silver Shirt” as evidence of the pastor’s bias. While Riley’s word use would make any modern, politically-correct scholar bristle, did they convey in context and intent a heart bent on anti-Semitism? **** Did they convey honest intellectual disagreement, or pass over into advocating hate, violence, and crimes against  the Jewish citizenry of Minnesota?

Let’s take a look at Riley’s actual words from a 1936 reprint of the sermon.

“This series of articles is not in defense of capitalism, nor is it written in defense of the Silver Shirts. We speak because we have noted of late a disposition to attack immediately and almost mercilessly any company of men who are known to stand four-square for the constitution of our land, and vigorously against communism. That is why we speak now of ‘shirts'” p2.******

Is it possible that this great local historian read meaning into the life and work of W.B. Riley that was not expressly noted in writing or implied verbally? Let’ explore the background of Berman to see what, if any conditions, may have filtered his perceptions.

“Berman’s childhood (the son of radical Jewish workers in the garment industry), his acquaintance with union leaders, leftist theoreticians, and writers, time in the U.S. Army, and studies at the City College of New York and Columbia University provided a textured backdrop to his move to the North Star State. In 1961, Berman claimed that he didn’t know Minnesota from Montana and that family members seriously wondered whether there were sidewalks in Minneapolis. Those perceptions changed quickly.” ****** https://cla.umn.edu/history/news-events/story/hyman-berman-1925-2015

So, we learn in this article that his family had radical leanings, he was immersed in unionism and leftism, his perceptions were shaped by CCNY and CU, and that he didn’t know much about the culture of Minnesota upon arrival. Is it possible that Berman “jumped the shark” with his powerful post-humous charges against Riley? We at least record that his educational and cultural backdrop was “designed to grind” against Fundamentalism apart from any offense taken by his faith, culture, or ancestry.

(Note: The author met with Berman twice before his death, and found him a brilliant, engaging, and liberally-minded thinker. A reasonable man in agreement or disagreement. Also, my parents had first hand knowledge of Dr. Riley and First Baptist Church of Minneapolis. They found no evidence of alleged Jewish bias, rather the simple gospel of its’ most famous congregant; Billy Graham. His gospel, in short, is that as we know the Christ, the Living Torah, we are enabled to fulfill Deuteronomy 6:4,5, Psalm 78:5, Zechariah 14:9, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27.

Good Father, we give You thanks that You see beyond the biases of human-beings, and our one-word characterizations of our fellow man! We remember to You the success and failures of Israel and the Church throughout time. We have hated too much, and loved too little. We have bludgeoned each other to death figuratively and literally. We have stolen from our brothers and sisters and dishonored our parents and heirs. We have allowed the laws of men to usurp Your eternal words. Will You have mercy on us?

Today, we bless the justice W.B Riley stood for in his passion for fundamentalism. He truly sought and pursued to know You, to love Your laws, and love Your Word. Yet, those as strong as him in the letter of the law often stumble in that they miss the spirit of the law. Will You forgive him, the WCFA, and his followers where he may have missed and mislead others from the spirit of Your Laws into religious pride?  We disavow where he rejected and spoke evil of his Jewish brothers; will You take these curses up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Will You forgive the transference of his fears for the civic well-being on his congregation, and the state of Minnesota? Will You forgive any bitterness against Israel that came from clashes with Jewish advocates of: unionism, collectivism, Marxism, liberalism, and politicalization of science through evolutionism?

Will You forgive observant Jews any judgments made towards Dr. Riley, the Church, or toward Fundamentalists of this era? Will You forgive any transference from them that may have tainted the present, or threatens to skew our common future? Will You graft the Church more tightly to the Olive Tree? We haven’t yet recognized that we need each other to survive.

Will You forgive those who identify as Jews, but believe in the Messiah of Progressivism? Further will You forgive the atrocities of humanistic atheism in their age: the Revolution of 1917, Red Terror Bolshevism, the forced collectivization of the Ukraine 1931-32, Yezhovshchina, Polska Organizacja Wojskova, the Great Purge in Mongolia, and the Katyn Massacre? While these Progressives did not likely participate in these crimes, their worldview had damaged millions by 1936. Will You forgive their denial of this portion of reality? Will You forgive the counter-judgments of Jewish Communists towards: observant Jews, Dr. Riley, the Church, or towards Fundamentalists of this era?

Some of the fears of W.B. Riley have come true within our lifetimes. Our universities are dominated by viewpoints that are considered “secular, non-ideology”, yet are belief systems. The worship of political correctness is exactly like any world religion with all the attributes of a religion; its own vernacular, cultic objects and ceremonies, and a yearning for a future utopia where everything is submitted to tolerant uniformity. Can a student be an Orthodox Jew or Orthodox Christian and make it through a graduate program at the University of Minnesota in the sciences without being forced to publicly betray their faith or even the possibility that You are our First Cause?

Dear Lord, we still find ourselves at an impasse of relationship; perhaps not of religion. We broad-brush the motives of those whose we disagree.  We assume that we can fit an entire people or culture or movement under our neatly defined labels. This is wrong and is sin against You, and Your image within those whom we disagree. Have mercy on us!

Oftentimes, Progressive thinkers seek an external solution to an internal problem. I.E. “Others must change their beliefs, behaviors, and actions for me to be O.K., because I am not secure in my worth and identity.”
Meanwhile, the seekers of G-d search for an internal solution to an external problem.
I.E. “Because G-d has called me O.K., I am worthy and secure, therefore I can accept others’ beliefs, behaviors, and actions.”                                                                                                    Similarly, religious fundamentalists of any stripe can exhibit the same external solutions to inherently spiritual problems. I.E. “My problems can only be solved by legalistic observance to religious knowledge of G-d because I am not secure in in my relational knowledge of G-d.” Finally, sometimes atheists are more in tune with their heart than the members of a strict faith community. I.E. “I don’t care who gets the credit, I just want to see the naked clothed, the hungry fed, and to share with the poor ones.”

So we turn to Your Word, and to You as the Living Word for wisdom!

“A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.”  Apostle Paul in Romans 2:28,29

Further we see examples of Almighty G-d’s benevolently weighing humanity on the dual scales of internal and external justice!

“The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love Him with all your heart and all your soul, so that you may live.” Deuteronomy 30:6

“Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, remove the foreskins of your hearts, O men of Judah and people of Jerusalem. Otherwise, My wrath will break out like fire and burn with no one to extinguish it, because of your evil deeds.” Jeremiah 4:4

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will punish all who are circumcised yet uncircumcised…” Jeremiah 9:25

“The one who is physically uncircumcised yet keeps the Law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.” Romans 2:27

Lord, help our unbeliefs and lack of relationship to those we perceive as enemies, or those who genuinely oppose us. May we love our enemy in Minnesota. May we love the enemies of the Jewish faith. May we love the enemies of the Christian faith. May we love the enemies of the Progressive faith. Put us in right relationship so we can listen to each other. Give us Your worthiness so we have something to offer our neighbor. May we find all solutions in El Roi, may we receive “I Am” and live in the present! Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on this broken relationship! Will You bless our future with real chesed; right relationship with G-d and all people?

* 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!
** Pulaski, Clement., “William Bell Riley and Fundamentalist Anti-Semitism”. July 14, 2017. Cited in http://faithful-nation.com/2017/07/14/william-bell-riley-and-fundamentalist-anti-semitism/
*** Numbers, Ronald L. “Creationism in 20th-Century America”., Science 218 (5 November 1982): pp 538-544
**** Szasz, Ferenc M., “William B. Riley and the Fight against Teaching of Evolution in Minnesota.” Minnesota History 1969 41(5): 201-216.
***** Berman, Hyman. “Anti-Semitism in Minnesota during the Great Depression”., New York : 1979.
****** Riley, W.B. “Shivering at the Sight of a Silver Shirt”. Publ. L.W. Camp: Mpls., MN. 1936. https://www.worldcat.org/title/shivering-at-the-sight-of-a-shirt/oclc/59759935

Standard
20th Century, African American, History, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Transportation, Uncategorized

Truck Refrigeration System Invented

Unknown

http://www.mnhs.org/library/tips/history_topics/63jones.php

1935
Frederick McKinley Jones was a self-taught, African-American engineer who pioneered designs for mobile refrigeration. A former race car driver and mechanic, Jones created the first mechanical refrigeration system for trucks in 1935. Some of Jones’ other inventions were a portable x-ray machine, an air conditioning unit for military field hospitals, and a refrigerator for military field kitchens. A total of 61 patents were issued in Jones’ name.*

F. M. Jones had a rough start in life. His mother left his father, John Jones, at age seven, who struggled to both work and care for a son. In that era, orphanages would not readily admit a child born to an Irish dad and African-American mom. A Catholic priest, Father Ryan, took Fred in, gave him an education, and encouraged his mechanical abilities.**

Fred eventually found refuge on a large farm in Hallock, Minnesota. He discovered that he was adept at machinery and fixing things, and worked on handyman projects given him by the farm’s owner; Walter Hill. (A relative of rail tycoon James J. Hill) People in his town came to him with problems, and he would usually find a solution.

His concern for others was evident in the utility of his inventions. A doctor couldn’t move patients to the hospital for their x-rays, and so he invented a portable x-ray machine. The local movie theatre had issues with the poor audio quality of the new “talkies”, and he developed the Ultraphone Sound System so that everyone could hear the show.

He partnered with Jospeh Numero of Cinema Supplies to market his new audio system. Numero, though initially biased against Mr. Jones, soon came to treasure him as an engineer. Playing golf together, Numero made a joke that their associate Harry Werner “needed a fridge on his trucks” to solve his spoilage problems.

Thermo-King-1938

https://trsservice.com.au/thermo-king-history/

Frederick took the challenge seriously, and began work immediately gaining several more patents in the process. Mr Jones’ portable air-cooling units revolutionized the safe transport of produce and perishables for both the trucking and freight train industries. His invention enabled the modernization of the grocery store, and changed millions of lives through better access to fresh foods.***,**** F.M. Jones gave this advice to those seeking similar success;
“First, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Don’t be afraid to work.
Second, you have to read. All my life has been study and work.
Third, believe in yourself.” *****

We give You humble gratitude this day, Eternal Father, for being a G-d who generously shares and encourages the inventiveness of humanity! You only ask a few things of us in return: to remember that “I am the Lord your G-d…” (Exodus 20:2), that “You shall have no other gods before me…” (Exodus 20:3), and that “You shall not bow down to or worship…” (Exodus 20:4) the things that we (humans) have made. You have inspired us to create, but have mercifully given us guidelines in the use of our creations so that we do not arrogantly deify ourselves. Our lives are not long enough to express the thanksgiving You deserve!

Ruach ha Kodesh, what part of the incredible life of Frederick McKinley Jones do You wish to underscore today? Is he a type of Joseph; bringing service to those who oppose him? Is he a type of Daniel; seeing and calling to life that which doesn’t yet exist?

Like the Prince of Egypt, he found himself orphaned, yet under the tutelage of an exceptional teacher as if he was placed there for a purpose. He submitted to authority which honed and refined his character. Though both men experienced tragic betrayals and injustices, they looked beyond for their vindication. For Joseph, it came through his incredible and miraculous talents for civic planning, administration, and economics. For Mr. Jones, it came through a heart bent to help others through his G-d given genius in mechanics, science, origination, and innovation.

Similarly, Fred’s life had commonalities with the prophet Daniel. Both of these exceptional men were displaced from their homes, and were valued for their ability to learn. They were groomed to serve those foreign to them and accepted the challenge, yet their abilities went far beyond their stewards’ expectations. Through his disciplined prayer life and connection with G-d, Daniel saw hundreds of years in the future; he was the consultant of all consultants! F.M. Jones saw solutions and worked backwards to achieve them!

This leads the author to ponder the connections between acts of invention and prophetic acts. What say You, Elohim? Prophecy is both a call to the knowledge and practice of the written Word of G-d, and to relational knowledge of the Holy Spirit of Christ which simultaneously exists before, in, and after our conceptions of time. The human being who creates needs both a rudimentary core knowledge of process, matter, and materials, yet inwardly “sees” a connection previously thought impossible. All this to express heartfelt awe of this paradoxical nature of information and knowing the Informer of All!

We remember Fredrick McKinley Jones to You, and ask that You bless his literal and figurative children that find joy in machines, and happiness with dirty hands! We thank You that he chose the high path, and overcame the obstacles the enemy used to wound him: family rejection, loneliness, racial prejudice, and academic bias to name a few. Will You forgive the family of Minnesota our historic and present judgments against the Irishman, the African-American, those with ethnically mixed marriages, and their children?

Next, we ask that You replace these curses against these specific people groups with specific and powerful blessings. Will You give honor where it was taken? Will You enable these peoples to offer their inventions and prophecies to our society? Will You give our people both gifts of knowledge and commitment to eternal, unbroken relationship?

It’s astounding that the alertness, awareness, and insights of Mr. Jones made him follow through on a real problem wrapped in a joke. This one invention, a portable truck cooler, led to a whole chain of inventions around food distribution that surely was in Your mind first as a means of blessing the whole human race. What if Fred had not taken the challenge seriously? What insights and blessings have we backed down from today? Forgive our fears of doing an everyday task with greatness, or failing to see Your greatness in the nuts and blots of life! You have seen the end from the beginning, let Your people be faithful each step of the way: in attaining knowledge, in imagination, and in knowing Your benevolent nature. May we cooperate in moving Your blessings down the road to a better future for Minnesota and the whole earth! Amen!

* 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://www.encyclopedia.com/people/science-and-technology/technology-biographies/frederick-mckinley-jones
*** https://www.shipabco.com/history-refrigerated-trucking/
**** https://trsservice.com.au/thermo-king-history/
***** Please watch this excellent synopsis of Frederick McKinley Jones’ life. InspirationalGoodNews!! I.G.N. (2014, December 13) citing Twin Cities Public Television ca 2004. (Making It Happen: Masters of Invention chapter “Hallock’s Handyman) Produced by Daniel Pierce Bergin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy4UkFN2njQ

Standard
20th Century, Crime, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Gangster Kidnappings

unknown

Jun 15, 1933 to Jan 17, 1934
The brazen kidnappings of prominent businessmen William Hamm (June 15, 1933)and Edward Bremer (January 17, 1934) by the “Ma” Barker gang put an end to Chief O’Connor’s hands-off crime policy in Saint Paul. Both men are returned unhurt after large ransoms are paid.*

In the Prohibition Era of our largely blue-collar city of Saint Paul, there was an empathy and a real motive to look the other way at bootlegging. Physically, the city is located on the Mississippi River, and is the first big stop downstream from Canada. There’s a plethora of natural caves, which made effective stealth warehouses for the product. One also wonders if its populace, mostly of the Catholic regions of Europe, did not share the same moral objections to beer and whiskey of their dry Protestant counterparts in Minneapolis?

To continue the narrative, its people were comfortable with playing dumb to Johnny Law if it meant lucrative cash jobs working for the gangs, and if it kept St. Paul a “wet” city. Civic leadership, allegedly, were on the payrolls of major gangsters from Chicago, and were apt to play it cool if the gangsters kept a low profile. Apparently, this unspoken agreement between Chicago crime and St. Paul police began decades before the Volstead Act.

“This collaboration began in 1900 with the Layover Agreement, an unofficial contract between criminals and Chief of Police John O’Connor.
In exchange for tip-offs about FBI raids and protection during their “layover” in the city, the gangsters first agreed to check in with the St. Paul police when they were in town. Second, they gave a portion of their gains to the police department. Finally, they agreed to commit no crimes within the city limits, though Minneapolis was fair game.”**

unknown-1

During the era of the Great Depression, Hamm and Bremer would likely stand out as targets for kidnapping. Mr. Bremer was affiliated with banking, and Mr. Hamm with brewing. Though very different personalities, Hamm being an affable sort and Bremer more shielded type, both men were visible leaders from noteworthy families in Saint Paul.

Ma Barker also led a prominent family known as the Barker-Karpis Gang. “Though her children were undoubtedly murderers and their Barker-Karpis Gang committed a spree of robberies, kidnappings, and other crimes between 1931 and 1935, there is no evidence that “Ma” was their leader or was even significantly involved.” What is apparent, however, is that she stuck by her sons and their associates throughout their criminal careers.

Alvin Karpis, the probable real leader of the gang, later said that Ma was just “an old-fashioned homebody from the Ozarks … superstitious, gullible, simple, cantankerous and, well, generally law abiding”.**** He concluded that,
‘The most ridiculous story in the annals of crime is that Ma Barker was the mastermind behind the Karpis-Barker gang. … She wasn’t a leader of criminals or even a criminal herself. There is not one police photograph of her or set of fingerprints taken while she was alive … she knew we were criminals but her participation in our careers was limited to one function: when we traveled together, we moved as a mother and her sons. What could look more innocent?’ *****

So we come to You, Jesus, to watch and pray over this event. What do you want to reveal to us today through it? What blessing can come from an enabling mother, this gang, the corruption of police, and the crime of kidnapping?

We ask forgiveness for these past offenses to You in our city and state. Will You forgive Ma Barker for being an enabler of her criminal sons, and the impact of their crimes to our city? Will You forgive us today of similar co-dependence within the families of Minnesota? Give us grace to face our failures as parents, commitment to stand by our kids going the wrong way, and love that affirms them, yet calls out their sin. Will You bless our present and future mothers of Minnesota, and especially the relationships with their sons?

We acknowledge to You the damage done to innocent lives through the willful actions of the Karpis-Barker Gang. Will You bring restitution to all who suffered their crimes, as well as the heritage of the Bremer and Hamm families? Conversely, will You cut off the curses passed down to any generation of the Karpis or Barker clans?

How we need Your healing for our men, and especially our men enticed into gang life!
We acknowledge to You that we have not followed Your laws to honor our fathers and mothers, or practiced proper diligence in the raising of some of our sons. We have driven them away at times: from our families, from schools or job training, from the Church, and, most painfully, from You! Jesus, Son of David, have mercy!

Though we try, we have failed them somehow as: sons, husbands, fathers, and friends. Protect and shield our sons from the enticement of a life of crime, and the arms of surrogate families in the underworld. May these vulnerable boys find a good man to call out their holy masculinity. May they forgive their fathers’ offenses, and break with the spirit of vengeance.

We remember to You how we have subtly yielded to the Enemy in St. Paul, by looking the other way. Our police, it seems, were corruptible because they were internally incomplete. It is hard to bribe a content man. You have said, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely–be content with your pay.”******* Have mercy on these policemen past, and free those similarly tempted in the present. We ask Your protections over Minnesota’s police both now and forever; be their shield and very great reward!

We end by thanking You for Your eternal justice! You are our advocate within our broken families, though they may seem beyond hope. You bring us back to our Everlasting Father, no matter our state of lawlessness. You used the Catholic priest Lucien Galtier to rename the city of L’oeil de Cochon, so named for the alleged bootlegger and first resident of St. Paul, Minnesota; Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant. “Pig’s Eye, converted thou shalt be, like Saul; Arise, and be, henceforth, Saint Paul!”
*******

* 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!
** Sharon Park “Gangster Era in St. Paul, 1900–1936”. http://www.mnopedia.org/gangster-era-st-paul-1900-1936
***, **** Paul Maccabee, John Dillinger Slept Here: A Crooks’ Tour of Crime and Corruption in St. Paul, 1920-1936, Minnesota Historical Society, 1995, p.105.
***** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma_Barker
****** https://biblehub.com/luke/3-14.htm
******* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Parrant

Standard
20th Century, Boys, Girls, History, Immigration, Intercession, Israel, Jews, Minnesota

Neighborhood House: Camp for Immigrant Children

GV8.2 r141

1919
Neighborhood House on St. Paul’s West Side expands its sports and recreation program. Camp Owendingo on Carver Lake in Woodbury provides wholesome outdoor activities for the children of recent immigrants.*

“Led by Sophie Wirth, the classes grew into an industrial school. Girls and boys learned home and industrial arts. They took English language and American citizenship classes. In 1897 the industrial school grew into Neighborhood House, a full-service settlement house located at 153 Robertson Street. Still led by Wirth, and supervised by Mount Zion’s rabbis, Neighborhood House added recreational activities, dental and baby clinics, and programs for adults.

People of all religions and ethnic groups flocked to Neighborhood House. In 1903 it reorganized, evolving from a purely Jewish social effort into a non-sectarian one. In 1921 the population of the Flats was two and a half times greater than it had been in 1915. This led to crowding and housing shortages.

Under Constance Currie, who became head resident in 1918, Neighborhood House added playgrounds and camping activities. Most notable was the Sophie Wirth Day Camp in White Bear Lake. The Northern Pacific Railway provided free transportation to the camp for five years after its founding in 1919. The service gave hundreds of mothers and children a rare day of leisure.”**

“We praise Thee, O G-d, and thank Thee for all the blessings of the week that is gone; for life, health, and strength; for home love and friendship; for the disciplines of our trials and temptations; for the happiness of our success and prosperity. Thou hast commanded us: Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto the Lord thy G-d. Thou hast ennobled us, O G-d, by the blessings of work, and in love and grace sanctified us by the blessings of rest.” Union Prayer Book II, (New York, NY: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1973) p.36

Jesus, I praise You for the work of Sophie Wirth, and all who contributed to the Neighborhood House! Thank You for the inspiration and practical training this community center provided to West Saint Paul. Thank You for making a place for Russian Jewry, and that their place of Shabbat spilled over so much and blessed their neighbors!

How good and pleasant it is when brothers, and sisters, live together in unity. Thank you for the Sabbath of this day camp! Thank You that charity begets charity, and that the Northern Pacific Railway joined in to provide free rides.

I can’t imagine the reasons of judgments of Russian Jews, but by faith I acknowledge to You that we as human often fail each other in this way. Will You forgive any transference and judgments from Minnesotans’ towards this group of immigrants? Will You take any bitterness up, out, and onto the Cross?

Conversely, will You forgive the judgments that the Neighborhood House may have held towards its neighbors? Will You forgive any judgments towards Saint Paul, and the state of Minnesota? Will You forgive any bitter roots against the predominant Catholic faith?

We ask that You bless the heritage of Sophie Wirth in the community, her family, and her spiritual ancestry. May You continue to provide our State with those who have a heart for others! May You forever bless Minnesota through Your people Israel, specifically all Jews from Russia, and may they forever be welcomed here and endowed with Your Divine favor and protection. Amen!

 

* 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!
**http://www.mnopedia.org/group/jewish-roots-neighborhood-house-st-paul

Standard