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, Culture, Economics, Governors, History, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Politics, Uncategorized

Petersen Becomes Governor

Unknown

August 19, 1936

“Hjalmar Petersen takes office as the state’s 23rd governor upon the death of Governor Floyd B. Olson. Following his short stint as governor, Petersen tries and fails four times to regain the office.” *

“Hjalmer Petersen, the twenty-third governor of Minnesota, was born in Eskildstrup, Denmark on January 2, 1890. His education was limited and attained in the common schools of Denmark and Minnesota. At fourteen years old, he left school and went to work in the newspaper business, eventually founding the Askov American in 1914, a newspaper he owned the rest of his life. Petersen first entered politics as the clerk and then mayor of Askov. He also served as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1930 to 1934, and was the lieutenant governor of Minnesota from 1934 to 1936. On August 22, 1936, Governor Floyd B. Olson died in office, and Petersen, who was the lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. During his tenure, the federal unemployment insurance law was initiated; several labor disputes were dealt with; and significant judicial appointments were approved. After serving 134 days as governor, Petersen left office on January 2, 1936. He continued to stay politically active, serving as a member of the State Railroad and Warehouse Commission, a position he held until 1966. He also made several unsuccessful bids for the governor’s office, as well as a 1958 run for the U.S. Senate. Governor Hjalmar Petersen passed away on March 29, 1968 in Columbus, Ohio.” ** 

What did Governor Petersen’s keystone legislation of unemployment look like in his era? Minnesotans who were discharged through no fault of their own were to receive $15 a week for up to 16 weeks as of May 1,1938.*** See the table below to compare and contrast what this amount meant to a worker back  at its commencement.****

cost-of-living-1-768x1024

Shall we pray? Lord, we give You thanks for being the Governor of All, for being our shield and very great reward! We agree with Your covenant promises in Genesis 15 to Abraham and his children that Your favor is greater than the sum of all property, labor, and accomplishments. We remember and bless Your eternal words, and Your heart of unmerited goodness to all who believe!

Will You forgive us our broken trust in Your provision both in Governor Petersen’s era, and in the present? We have accepted wealth from the state that it does not create or own, but extracted from our neighbors. We have accepted the premise that our present condition of dysfunction becomes the problem of our functional neighbors. Will You forgive us this faulty logic and co-dependent relationship(s)?

What if the state had made unemployment insurance voluntary instead of mandatory? We can see at least three immediate benefits immediately from this premise. First, it would allow contributors to share their wealth freely with a true spirit of giving instead of the spirit of extortion through forced charity collected by the state. 

Secondly, it would remove politicians from the direct relationship between those with extra and those in need. Maybe this would remove a sense of entitlement of guaranteed benefits, and enable a sense of gratitude and trust towards givers from receivers because they would have no expectations?

Third, it would displace politicians’ from the false narrative that they were the givers of wealth, and undercut the credit they have taken for the gifts of others.

Will You forgive us for trusting in the politicians of Minnesota, and the provisions forced on our neighbor by the co-dependent law of unemployment insurance? We have assumed a co-dependent relationship between giver and receiver and state. Will You help us revisit these issues and remove the expectations, dependency, shame, and manipulation from helping each other? Will You remove what is false and create real relationship, real opportunity to give from the heart, and real gratitude? Will You fulfill the good intentions and desires of Hjalmer Petersen on Your terms, and show us a better, more honest way to love our unemployed neighbor?

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV

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

** https://www.nga.org/governor/hjalmar-petersen/ 

citing Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

 *** https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v48n10/v48n10p22.pdf

**** http://www.mybudget360.com/cost-of-living-1938-to-2015-inflation-history-cost-of-goods-inflation/

 

 

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20th Century, Crime, History, Intercession, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Uncategorized

Gangster Kidnappings

unknown

June 15, 1933 to January 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.”**

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!”

*******

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

** 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

 

 

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19th Century, Agriculture, Business, farming, History, Intercession, Minnesota, omnipresent history, State Government

Minnesota State Fair Finds a Home at Ramsey County Poor Farm’s Expense 1885

mn_state_fair_4

1885

“The Minnesota State Fair finds a permanent home in the Midway area of Saint Paul. (The 1885 fair was the 27th annual state fair.)” *

Lord, it does help to have more information when interceding; and most facets of life. Even with my limited research, I see a few things: 1. Establishing Fairgrounds was a priority by the city government of St. Paul, and the state government of Minnesota. 2. the Poor Farm and it’s people were clearly displaced. 3. There was a sense of rivalry between Minneapolis and St. Paul. 4. Care for the poor from the county, to the state, and to the Federal government.

To begin, I want to announce to the land formerly known as the Ramsey County Poor Farm the jubilee and blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ! Thank You for this example of caring for the the elderly and poor! I want to bless those generations attached to the Poor Farm whether as employees or residents, and ask that any bitterness on their part be forgiven and removed. 

  Lord, will You forgive our lack of relationship with those in need? Will You heal the rift over HOW we do charity, and WHAT it looks like? Each election, we still battle over WHO gets the credit for being charitable; the State or individuals!?! May this land that is now called the State Fairgrounds be a place where we iron out these differences! May we find Your way of blessing each other; rich to poor, in any state of health!

Also, will You forgive the political and business rivalry between Minneapolis and St. Paul? Will You set us free from the emotions of Alden Blethen? Jesus, will You make these “Twin Cities” live at peace with each other? Holy Spirit, will You inhabit this property now known as the State Fair and bring your life there? Will You dignify the poor and show them their potential to contribute for their loved ones and society, and most importantly, their eternal value to You?

More on how the poorhouse was transformed into the Minnesota State Fair:

**http://www.postcardy.com/msf.html

***http://www.mnopedia.org/structure/industrial-exposition-building-minneapolis

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

 

 

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19th Century, Culture, Economics, History, Minnesota, riverboat, Technology, trade, Transportation

Steamboats 1840 to 1870  

mississippi-riverboat

Steamboat trips up the scenic Mississippi are the fashion for Eastern tourists in the 1840s. By the mid-1850s steamboats, carrying supplies and immigrants as well as tourists, arrive in St. Paul at the rate of four or five a day during the summer months.*

Holy Spirit, will You journey with me through the steamboat era of the Mississippi? Will You allow me to bounce ideas off You, and alert me to any related subjects? Thanks that You are in, around and through all times and places! I love You for that!
Thanks for the gift of the steamboat! The idea of going effortlessly upstream must have been revolutionary in 1840. What would be an appropriate analogy to present Minnesotans’; skiing uphill at Afton or Wild Mountain? Maybe waterskiing without a rope or a boat?
I thank You for the relational benefits of this mode of transportation to our midwestern forefathers and foremothers. Technology is often viewed in terms of its innate capabilities, but not in terms of the relationships those capabilities may unlock. Transportation advancements seem to inherently effect relationships by changing how we view our geography.
For example, before the steamboat one imagines that it would be much easier for Northerners to travel south, downstream, on the Mississippi than Southerners to travel north. Is it a stretch to imagine that this creates a one-way relational path? If one can only passively receive visitors, products, news, from the north how would that impact one’s world-view.
Conversely, imagine what it would be like to only be a giver on this unidirectional path. A farmer works all season, loads up his crop, brings it to a river town, and sends it away. He feels the immediate reward of the sale of his harvest, but is largely isolated from any connections to those downstream.
Will You forgive any judgments between north and south based out of this one-way relational paradigm? Will You forgive any resentments based on an identity of being primarily a “giver” or a “receiver”? Will You forgive past judgments based on geographic isolation instead of real relationship?
Lord of Hesed, will You create in our generation a desire for real relationship, while aided by technology, not based on technology? Will You show us ways to reverse any symbolic or real curses resulting from one-way relationships? Will You make our mighty rivers flow upstream, and give us a future of blessed two-way, real relationships with our world and fellow man?

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  The current URL is http://www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!

 

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