20th Century, Catholic, Christian, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Science

Institute of Science and Letters

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Saint Paul Auditorium ca. 1907 Interior, Original Home of the Institute of Science and Letters. Photo by Scotty Moore

1907
The St. Paul Institute of Science and Letters is incorporated. The institute sponsors research, and a museum. After reinventing itself several times, it is now known as the Science Museum of Minnesota–home to dinosaur bones, computer and an IMAX theater.*

It is a blessing to learn that my city had a love of science fervent enough to create this institute! Furthermore, its benevolent nature was expressed in making scientific knowledge open to all! The Institute of Science and Letters was,“Originally a provider of public lectures, it was located in the St. Paul Auditorium”. http://www.smm.org/media/historicalfacts

As with any audience, surely in 1907 there were proponents, opponents, and those who remained open. Then, as in the present, most would not argue the data collected from experiments, but may differ drastically on its meaning to their life. Why is this?

One idea may be that we cannot extirpate the framing effects of our memory, our temperament, and our worldview. By “framing effect”, I mean the resistance we have to knowledge outside of our point of reference. A classic example is the story of the blind men describing an elephant.

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“A Jain version of the story says that six blind men were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant’s body. The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe.
A king explains to them:
All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all the features you mentioned.” “Elephant and the blind men”. Jain Stories. JainWorld.com. Retrieved 2006-08-29.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant

Lord, will You have mercy on our judgments made regarding science and its meaning to our lives? Will You forgive those in 1907 who used their new found scientific knowledge as a tool of separation from their predominantly Catholic neighbors? Will You forgive any counter judgments of scientists made in Your name or the name of the Roman Catholic church? Will You give us mercy on our neighbor whether they “know” through the channel of logic, association, observation, or relationship?

Your Word is not primarily a book of science, but where it does intersect with the sciences, it is accurate and eloquent in its claims. For example, You begin Your Word with the phrase, ”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 CEV A scientist, upon first reading, may take it as religious and mythical poetry. However, would this same scientist observe that this simple phrase covered the building blocks of the universe: time, space, and matter?

Jesus, will You forgive the prejudices of the religious towards the secular-minded scientist in St. Paul: past, present, and future? Will You forgive the prejudices of the science community toward people of faith? We measure each other falsely at times Lord! We use the wrong measuring stick because we so often lack empathy much less love towards our sparring partners in debate. Will You heal the words we use to describe the intersection of faith and science? Have mercy on our small frames! Let us ‘see’ the whole elephant together, in Your revealing presence.

*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!

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James Frederick Ferrier photo International Association of Scottish Philosophy

**”Every question in philosophy is the mask of another question; and all these masking and masked questions require to be removed and laid aside, until the ultimate but truly first question has been reached. Then, but not till them, it is possible to decipher and resolve the outside mask, and all those below it, which come before us in the first instance.” James Frederick Ferrier
http://www.greatthoughtstreasury.com/author/james-ferrier-fully-james-frederick-ferrier

*** A brief summary of the Scottish philosopher’s life. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Frederick_Ferrier

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20th Century, Architecture, Environment, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Natural Disaster, Transportation, Weather

High Bridge Blown Down

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Aug 20, 1904
A tornado traveling through Waconia, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Stillwater leaves fourteen people dead and causes property losses of $1.5 million. The same storm blows down the High Bridge in Saint Paul, where winds reach 110 miles per hour, the fastest recorded wind speed in the metropolitan area at the time. The storm also has the lowest measured barometric pressure (23 inches) of any tornado, according to Snowden Dwight Flora, author of Tornadoes of the United States.*

Every decision has a consequence. As the ancient prophet Hosea once said, ‘those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind’. But how did regular citizens of these cities ‘sow the wind’? Did they, or was this storm just a normal occurrence that is necessary to the health of the atmosphere and environment?
This I know of human nature, when tragedy strikes, many will attempt to deflect the awfulness of the event through blame. We don’t have the inner mechanisms to deal with great pain, and so we often try to externalize it. Psychologists call this process transference.

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Lord, what were the objects of transference in this event? Let me start with how we blame You, after all, this is an ‘act of God’. Will You forgive any residents of Waconia, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Stillwater who placed the blame for this event on You? Will You forgive any judgments made on Your character? Will You forgive those who viewed this storm as an offense against them in person and property, and in turn held a grudge against you?
Lord, we blame others! For example, “The High Bridge wouldn’t fall if it was designed better? The engineers and architects are to blame!” For the folks of these cities that fall into this category; will You forgive them those judgments of others?
Will You forgive our bifurcated motives? On one hand we love technology. We love what is new, innovative, and ground-breaking. Simultaneously, we cling to the familiar, and many of us have deep-rooted skepticism of new ideas. Will You forgive the judgments made of those who offer us new ideas? Will You forgive the wrath felt by those who dreamt, designed, labored, and finished this High Bridge?
Will You forgive those who blamed themselves for this hardship? We place ourselves on trial in the courts of minds and give harsh sentences for imperfections. Will You forgive those who blamed themselves for lost crops, fallen barns, loss of horses and animals, and loss of human life?
Lord, You are just. You are truly the only right judge because You know our heart, our history, our thoughts, our motives, and our actions. Yet, You are merciful to us, and often reveal the fragility of our inner life and its immaturity in the most gentle and gracious way possible.
You are a good dad. We do not criticize our toddlers when they make a bridge with blocks and it crashes. We praise them, and encourage their imaginations. Will You make us a people that loves valiant failures and Pyrrhic victories as much as you do?

*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!

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19th Century, Agriculture, Business, History, Industry, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota

Minneapolis Nation’s Flour Milling Capital 1880

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Minnesota wheat and the power of St. Anthony Falls make Minneapolis the nation’s capital of flour milling.

A year later, Pillsbury’s new A Mill is the largest flour mill in the world.*

My first thought is, ”How do I pray for a flour mill, and why is it important?” Show me why Lord. Possible reasons:
1. The Washburn mill exploded, allowing Pillsbury a chance to take the lead. (It is difficult to pray for this event without being mindful of the pain of the explosion.) So, do I pray about the effects of professional pride and jealousy?
2. It could be a simple acknowledgement of a real accomplishment; an amazingly quick rebuild! Simply view it as a story of hope?
3. The aftermath of the event on our flour industry?

Jesus, You know our inmost thoughts, and yet you love us. Lord, Washburn and Pillsbury were competitors in the milling business. There’s nothing wrong with competition between these companies, or any other for that matter. However, if there were underhanded or bitter motives between them, will You release us from the burden of their jealousy, and or pride? Will You cleanse St. Anthony Falls from any guilt brought
on by any unethical competition?

Assuming everything was on the up and up, and the Washburn mills explosion was purely accidental, will You also cleanse us from the bitterness and sense of loss of that incident? Will You cleanse us of the spirit of blame? Will You heal this rift between companies then, and show our present-day business culture how to compete without
hating their rivals? I thank you today for blessings of outstanding Minnesota companies in the grain and milling business: General Mills and Cargill to name a few!

Thank You for leaders who face major setbacks, and rebuild something amazing; brick by brick. Will You forgive our judgments of business leaders in milling, as well as their peers in all major industries here? The average person knows nothing of the intensity, expectation of perfection, risk, and sheer loneliness of being on top. Will You inform our hearts’, minds’, and creativity in the context of leadership?

Will You show us new ways of doing business in Minnesota that honor You and the creation we are stewards of, and help us redeem the business culture of the world? May our progeny say with Isaiah,
“Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” Isaiah 50:7
http://biblehub.com/isaiah/50-7.htm

*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!

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19th Century, Agriculture, Business, History, Industry, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota

Washburn ‘A’ Mill Explodes May 2, 1878

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The mill explodes when flour dust in the air inside it ignites. The explosion kills 18 workers, destroys five other mills, and decimates the surrounding area. Debris lands in Saint Paul, and the shock is felt in Stillwater. The event brings instant notoriety to Minneapolis.

The tragic explosion leads to reforms in the milling industry. Ventilation systems and other precautionary devices will be devised in order to prevent further tragedy.*

Lord, this explosion truly impacted our state and city for decades. Will You forgive us our bitter root judgements of this event? Will You forgive any rash words and thoughts spoken by the rivals of the houses of Pillsbury and Washburn that may still be with us today? Will You cleanse the land, and the river from the bifurcations of this blast?
If the root sin of pride is an issue, (because of its largesse), will You forgive and release all the inheritors of this separation? We need You to provide our food! We welcome You to Minnesota, to the Falls of St. Anthony! Come and ‘be present at our table Lord!’

*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!

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19th Century, Business, History, Industry, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota

Saint Paul Mutual Insurance Company Incorporated March 5, 1853

Alexander Wilkin

Alexander Wilkin

The legislature incorporates the St. Paul Mutual Insurance Company, forerunner of the insurance giant St. Paul Companies, the state’s oldest business corporation.*

Lord, thanks for the conception of corporations, and the good intended through their creation. Our culture has taken a bitter view of business entities such as the “corporation” because of the publicized abuses of some business leaders. This is like tossing away the idea of going to a court for justice on the basis that there are some mistrials. It’s like tossing the Bible because we read it as a punishment instead of Your love letter to humanity.

I commend the three men who founded this company today to You; dear Founder of the Universe. I thank You for the life of Alexander Wilkin, and his impetus to create an insurance company for Minnesotans’! I thank You for George and John Farrington, his partners and investors! I observe that these men, going “all-in”, could barely raise the $50,000 necessary to start their business. Yet, You have allowed it to grow to $20.68 billion in four generations?!

Jesus, I acknowledge the failures of corporations in Minnesota to honor Your standards of integrity. Even the best businesses operate on the basis of mutually beneficial self-interest, but are not expected to exhibit love. Forgive the judgments and offenses of our society towards its corporations, and the counter-offenses and judgements of Minnesota’s businesses towards society from March 5, 1853 forward.

Likewise, forgive the believers of Minnesota for our judgments of its corporate body, the Church. Forgive the bitter judgments and lack of love towards its parts, and failure to recognize that a rejection in part is a rejection of its corporateness. On the basis of this confession, I want to pronounce the Lord’s forgiveness to the businesses of Minnesota both past and present, and invite Your favor on our states’ corporations and all Church business. Make us one, Jesus!

More on St. Paul Companies http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/the-st-paul-companies-inc-history/

*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 .

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