Awe, Faith, music, Uncategorized

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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?

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

Benson Becomes Governor

J2 1936 p14

Jan 4, 1937
Elmer A. Benson takes office as the state’s 24th governor.* “He was elected in 1936 as Minnesota’s second Farmer-Labor Party governor with over 58 percent of the vote. He was defeated only two years later by an even larger margin. An outspoken champion of Minnesota’s workers and family farmers, Benson lacked the political gifts of his charismatic predecessor, Floyd B. Olson. However, many of his proposals—at first considered radical—became law in the decades that followed.”**

“Although the 1937 Legislature had given Benson–an early Socialist sympathizer–little of what he sought, many of his proposals became law during the 40 years that followed–property tax relief for homesteads; higher income tax rates for high-income individuals and corporations; mandatory workers’ compensation coverage for employees; a state Civil Service system; expanded state aid for schools, financed by income taxes; party designation for legislators.”***

“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof; and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” Ecclesiastes 7:8 NIV

Eternal Father, today we remember Your patience, and applaud Your forbearing spirit! You allow Your children to struggle as we learn, and do not rush to our aid at the first obstacle. You are perfect in holiness, and yet kind in Your judgments.

We remember with You the governorship of Elmer A. Benson today. We see Your image in his heart to correct monopolistic powers, relieve homesteaders, and ease the burdens of farmers. We see Your image in Governor Benson’s patience and faithfulness. His most treasured goals were not accomplished in his term in office, but like so many leaders, by faith, he eventually saw them put into law. We see that he sought to build consensus in his support for unions, and to establish his Progressive ideals through the law rather than might. Will You bless the changes he initiated, and his heart to make life better for those in society that were suffering?

Will You forgive also the sins of his idealism? Where he overstepped the bounds of the Constitution and inserted the government between employee and employer relationship, will You give balance? Though he acted out his ideals in integrity, will You forgive where his actions of benevolent state government actually diminished individual choice and responsibility for ones’ decisions and actions? In Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We ask that You visit with us the utility of the progressive income tax. In one sense, those most able pay more of the costs of society, and those less able pay less costs of the state. To be more exact, those who earn more, pay a higher percentage of their income, and those who earn less pay a smaller percentage of their income. This is my question to You; if some bear more of the financial burden of society than others, will the sense of ownership and participation be increased as one pays more, and diminished as one pays less?

To take the idea further, what other arena of life do we love more as we participate less? You have said, “Where Your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) If this is true, then would not those paying a lesser percentage of their income also be investing less of their heart in Minnesota, and those who pay a higher percentage of their income be investing more of their heart in our state?

Help me explore some of the math of Your Word, Jesus. We know that the Israelites were commanded by You to bring 10% of their wealth as an offering.
“‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.” Leviticus 27:30
But what of the Levites, the priestly lineage, who were not allowed to make wealth, or own property in the same sense of the rest of society?
“And the LORD instructed Moses, Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the LORD’s offering.” Numbers 18:25,26 NIV

So, this is what we can gather from these examples from your chosen people; that You claim 10% of every type of wealth and resource in the land, and that those priests whose income and inheritance is dependent on Your Sovereignty and the gifts of the people must also give back to You 10% of their income. Is this an example of a graduated tithe, which to us may be similar to a tax?

What we do see quite clearly is that giving is proportional, and flexible to the type and amount of wealth one has. Also, it is repeated frequently that no one is exempt from giving to the Sovereign of Israel, but exhorted with the command “none shall appear before me empty-handed”. Please ponder these verses below with the Lord, and see what you think.

“You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.” Exodus 23:15

“You shall redeem with a lamb the first offspring from a donkey; and if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck You shall redeem all the firstborn of your sons. None shall appear before Me empty-handed.” Exodus 34:20

“Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and at the Feast of Weeks and at the Feast of Booths, and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.”
Deuteronomy 16:16

While modern society may not relate to commands of this type from You, Good Father, we catch some of Your meaning today. The tithe You command is a parallel to our concept of taxation. Offerings were a parallel of giving beyond the tithe, or what we might think of as charity, from out of a sense of devotion, sharing a blessing, or gratitude, and not necessity or compulsion.

May we find Your way to pay the costs of our society. May the future generations of Minnesotans show respect and humility before Your wisdom in this area. May we all contribute evenly and proportionately to the resources we are allotted by You. May we be free of the greed that comes from too much, and too little. May we not allow the enemy of all to divide us through bitter root judgments of our neighbors’ lineage, rank, or profession. May we trust in Your provision more, and not demand offerings from our community that even You do not demand. May we see the other side of the coin that, perhaps, Governor Benson missed; that failing to give in proportion will also yield a failure of heart commitment to our North Star state! May we all have a sense of participation, ownership, and even joy that comes from not appearing before You or our neighbors empty-handed!

“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.  I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.
Malachi 3:8-12

* 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/person/benson-elmer-1895-1985
*** http://articles.latimes.com/1985-03-16/business/fi-27186_1_minnesota-politics

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20th Century, Agriculture, government, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Politics, Uncategorized

Christianson Becomes Governor

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Jan 6, 1925
Theodore Christianson takes office as the state’s 21st governor.*

Theodore Christianson, the twenty-first governor of Minnesota, was born in Lac Qui Parle Township, Minnesota on September 12, 1885. His education was attained at the University of Minnesota, where he earned an undergraduate degree in 1906 and a law degree in 1909. After establishing a successful legal practice in Dawson, Christianson became the owner and publisher of the Dawson Sentinel. He entered politics in 1915, serving as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, a position he held ten years. He next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in November 1924. He was reelected to a second term in 1926, and to a third term in 1928. During his tenure, a crime commission was formed, as well as a commission of administration and finance. Also, state expenditures were reduced; taxes were controlled; and state government was restructured. After completing his term, Christianson left office on January 6, 1931. He continued to stay politically active, serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he held from 1933 to 1937. Governor Theodore Christianson passed away on December 9, 1948, and was buried in the Sunset Memorial Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.**

Governor Christianson, a.k.a. “Tightwad Ted”, was a very fiscally conservative Republican who limited the power of government in favor of the individual. In this era, there were many fears about the insider capitalism of Wall Street, and the destabilizing reactions of sabre rattling socialists. He gave mostly agrarian Minnesotans a chance to regroup and recoup after the personal and property losses of WWI. (Those who lost sons to the war also lost heirs to their farms, as well as their most capable and loyal farm hands.)

So, here we give You thanks for “Tightwad Ted”. We thank You for his accountability and respect for the resources of Minnesotans. Theres a ‘time to scatter and a time to gather’ and we pause to remember Governor Christianson as a man who gave respite and a return to normalcy and simplicity to his constituents. Will You bless his heirs, both familial and governmental, who accept that there is season that the most reasonable course forward is to tighten the belt?

In this, we give You honor for taking us through seasons scarcity and plenty. We thank You for the eternal promise to be our Jehovah Jireh. We ask Your forgiveness where we have forgotten You; either through the sins of easy living, or sins of destitution. Have mercy on Minnesotans’ past, present, and future failure to give You and our neighbors the free gift of gratitude. Amen.

Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?” Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God. Proverbs 30:8,9 NASB

PS. Will You continue to forgive the judgments between the parties and political groups of this age? Perhaps the Republicans forgot Your principles of community because it came through a Socialist or DFL messenger? Maybe the Socialists and Democrats failed Republicans and Your urgings to personal responsibility through lumping them in with Wall Street, and assumptions that they were against Main Street? Will You forgive all the judgments and counter-judgments of these parties committed then as well as their fruits poisoning the present? Will You make us a State of “tightwads” with our disparaging thoughts, words, and hearts against our neighbor?

* 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.nga.org/cms/home/governors/past-governors-bios/page_minnesota/col2-content/main-content-list/title_christianson_theodore.html

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20th Century, Health, History, Intercession, Medicine, Minnesota, Politics, Science, Uncategorized

Minnesota Eugenics Society Forms

Charles-F-Dight-letter-to-Hitler

1923
In the early 1920s, Charles Fremont Dight, a physician in Minneapolis, launched a crusade to bring the eugenics movement to Minnesota. He combined the moral philosophy of eugenics with socialism and espoused that the state should administer reproduction of mentally handicapped individuals. His main lines of approach included eugenics education, changes in marriage laws, and the segregation and sterilization of what he called “defective” individuals. Dight organized the Minnesota Eugenics Society in 1923 and began campaigning for a sterilization law.

England was the birthplace of eugenics, and Charles Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, the movement’s father. The term became the name of a progressive project of improving the human species by controlling genetic selection. He aimed to apply the creed of “survival of the fittest” to the human race. Think of it, perhaps, as an attempt to create human thoroughbreds.

American progressives founded or led many organizations like Dight’s during this era: Eugenics Record Office, National Conference on Race Betterment, the American Breeders Association, New York Zoological Society, and the Human Betterment Foundation. Leaders of the movement included: Harry Laughlin, Charles Davenport, Leon Whitney, Madison Grant, Paul Popenoe, Eugene Gosney, Margaret Sanger, and progressive philanthropist Clarence Gamble. As a brief example of the severity of this movement were Mr. Laughlin’s call for mass sterilization of 10% of the population of the US.**

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer. We recognize that Dr. Dight sought to improve our state through advocating for eugenics. We recognize that he sought the betterment of his fellow Minnesotan through work in medicine, socialist politics, and as an educator at Hamline and the University of Minnesota. We give You thanks for his heart to bless others, and minimize disease and suffering.

That said, we recognize the limitations, firstly, of any political system to bring lasting change to our State. Humanistic politics cannot touch the heart and spirit of human beings, but it can mostly control external behaviors. Will You forgive our faith in the progressivism of this era instead of You? Will You forgive the idea that behavior modification does not necessitate a change of heart? Will You forgive our misbelief that compliance equals agreement, but taken to its extremes is an agent that fractures human souls and spirits?

Next, we have simultaneously believed in the goodness of the rule of man and have stood in opposition to the rule of man in our espousal of socialism. We negated the wisdom of Madison, Adams, and Jefferson that our rights are unalienable. That means that a human being has no power to alienate, dispose of by surrender, barter, or gift the rights given by the Ancient of Days.**** Will You forgive the sins of dualism during this era with our attempts to hold two contradictory beliefs simultaneously? More importantly, will You forgive this affront to Your parental rights and value of every human being?

As a citizen of Minnesota, and a child of G-d, I disavow the judgmental, cursing misbeliefs of Dight. I disavow his national socialist (Nazi) medicine empathies that science can create a “master race” through eugenics, and that such control would be beneficial. I disavow Dight’s letter to Hitler praising his efforts to “stamp out mental inferiority”.*** Will You take the sins within these root untruths that have cursed our State for nearly 100 years up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Will You bless genetic research that comports with Your values system?

Will You forgive our attempts to impeach You as the Sovereign of our civil, legal, and political authority of our society?
Will You forgive our contemptuous dismissal of that which You have created as perfectly imperfect?
Will You help us recognize that all genes, even broken, diseased, or “politically undesirable” ones have a purpose and worth in Your culture? Will You give us wisdom and humility as scientists as we attempt to genetically modify Your creation? Bless us in Minnesota to see that, perhaps, every gene bears Your fingerprints and is, therefore a bearer of “unalienable rights” and priceless worth?

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly and despised things of the world, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are,… 1 Corinthians 1:27, 28 Berean Study Bible

* 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!
**Dinesh D’Souza, The Big Lie (Washington DC: Regnery, 2017)pp151-155.
*** Read more on Dight and the ties between Progressivism, Socialism, and Fascism in this movement. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Fremont_Dight
****http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/AmericanIdeal/yardstick/pr3.html

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20th Century, Agriculture, History, Intercession, Minnesota, State Government

Nonpartisan League

herbert-gaston-nonpartisan-league

1918
The farmers’ Nonpartisan League, a reform group that advocates state control of the grain industry, runs candidates in the Republican primary. The NPL loses in the primary, but joins Minnesota’s branch of the Minnesota American Federation of Labor in forming the Farmer-Labor party.*

“In the 1910s, farmers began to decry poor market conditions and violations of their economic rights. Middlemen in the grain elevator, stockyard, cold storage, banking, and rail industries regularly gouged farmers. To fight corporate interests, the NPL was formed in North Dakota in 1915.
The NPL was founded by former Socialist Party member Arthur Townley, who was also a failed flax farmer. The NPL advocated state-run mills, grain elevators, stockyards, and warehouses. In order to protect farmers further, the NPL fought for state insurance programs, pensions, and employment bureaus. After success in North Dakota’s 1916 election, the NPL began to expand. Minnesota became the center of its activities.”**

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Lord, we say we love fairness, justice, and equal rights under the law, but our practice of these traits are very imperfect and human! Have mercy! Farmers of this era wanted to address the folly and failures of the Democrats and Republicans to represent their views and grievances. They wanted a way out of the “us versus them” paradigm in Saint Paul, and Washington! Lord, hear their prayers!

Will You forgive their root judgments based on politics? Will You forgive the Wall Street Republicans their willingness to commoditize a Democratic farming way of life, and to see all Progressives as revolutionary radicals instead of neighbors desperate for change? Will You forgive the Socialist and Progressives their judgments of the passivity of the Democrats, and characterizing all Republicans as greedy “Wall Streeters”? Will You forgive Democrats their judgments and fears of Socialist extremism, Progressive utopianism, and Republican heartlessness?

We have failed You as traders and transporters of commodities. Those who weighed the grain and set the prices for the train have dishonored You, and the farmers of Minnesota. Through Solomon, perhaps the greatest economic mind the earth has ever known, You have said: “The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.” Proverbs 11:1 NIV Will You have mercy on all forms of dishonest trading and transport of agricultural commodities? Will You restore our broken trust, and teach us better ways to raise, assess value, and distribute food?

Our Socialism, Progressivism, Democratism, and Republicanism has tested You as the owner of all the yields of the Land of 10,000 Lakes. We have ignored Your voice because we listen through the filter of all our ‘isms’. We have discounted each other in opinion and fact. Have mercy!

We listen and ponder this parable of Jesus:
“A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one they beat and treated shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. He sent a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.
Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘this is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” Luke 20:9-16 NIV

In its original context, this story was a rebuke of the misuse of authority of the chief priests, elders, and teachers of the law known as the Sanhedrin. The farmers of the vineyard symbolize the people of Israel. The servants represent the prophets of G-d whom the people rejected, the heir represented the Messiah, and the landowner is G-d the Father.

Yet, I see another interpretation of this text relevant to the NPL, the “isms”, and the economic forces of Wall Street. Perhaps each of these forces stumble over their self-importance: the farmer-laborer, the politicians, the bankers, and the traders? Is it possible that each sees themselves as the owner, therefore, possessing the final say over their property? Each has refused the reasonable messages of the servants and heirs sent to them?

Eternal Father, will You forgive us for attempting to own Your possessions? Will You forgive us the rejection of our opponent’s message and messengers? Will You forgive the misbelief in the revolutionary spirit of our heart that drives us to overthrow and possess? Will You forgive the independence of the NPL, the co-dependence of the Democratic and Republican parties and Wall Street?

We give You the false heart motives of this era, and ask that take them up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ. We ask that Your blood cleanses and frees us from every attachment of the Enemy that hinders the agriculture of Minnesota. We ask that You establish proper boundaries for all these groups both present and future. Will You be the Judge of Minnesota, so we can practice the blessing of being truly Nonpartisan?

*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!
**Excellent source of information on NPL and all history Minnesota! http://www.mnopedia.org/group/nonpartisan-league

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