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

William Bell Riley and Fundamentalist Anti-Semitism?

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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

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20th Century, Culture, History, Minnesota, Native Americans, Uncategorized

Society of American Indians Conference

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Oct 2, 1919 to Oct 4, 1919
The eighth convention of the Society of American Indians is held in Minneapolis.

“It is not right that the Indian, who fought for his country in France, go back to his tribe without the right to vote.” —Dr. Charles A. Eastman, a Dakota Indian born near Redwood Falls who becomes president of the Society of American Indians and a professor at Amherst College.*

At first glance, this issue seems like a slam dunk; American citizens have the right to vote, Indians of this era were American citizens, therefore this is a breech of their Constitutionally secured rights. It breaks faith with both the spirit and the letter of our law. Perhaps Eastman’s statement errs, however, in the assumption that most Indians were citizens?

Through the efforts of individuals and organizations like his, the Dakota would eventually be recognized as citizens by the Indian Freedom Citizenship Suffrage Act of 1924, also known as the Snyder Act. Unfortunately, before 1924, only about 8% of Indians were U.S. citizens, therefore, it is somewhat logical that they did not vote in a nation they did not wish to be part of. ** Many considered the tribe of origin to be their sovereign nation within U.S. borders before the Snyder Act, and many tribes are defined as “First Nations” for the same reason today.

To add a spiritual dimension, we can explore a relationship between civil rights and worship dysfunctions. Both concepts speak to the inherent, unalienable value of a subject. Civil rights are directed to protect the intrinsic, non-negotiable worth conferred by G-d upon each human being. Worship, perhaps, could be defined as human recognition and practice of the intrinsic, non-negotiable worth of G-d. When and where we are dysfunctional in our worship of G-d, we open ourselves to be dysfunctional in respecting the worthiness and honor of our human neighbors.

Prior to his time organizing for SAI, he organized for the YMCA in western states and Canada among Indians. Below is quote of some observations that informed his faith.

“During that time, as an avowed Christian, Eastman nevertheless seemed to maintain a reflective stance toward that religion because of his early traditional Dakota upbringing. He studied what he called “the Protestant missionary effort among Indians” and “almost unconsciously reopened the book of my early religious training.” He wondered how it was “that our simple lives [before Christianity] were so imbued with the spirit of worship, while much churchgoing among white and Christian Indians led often to such very small results.” *** ***https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/opinions/dr-charles-eastman-a-dakotas-conflicted-take-on-christianity/

Lord hear our prayer for Minnesotan’s of 1919. We are guilty of a worship dysfunction in this era. We have attempted to assume the rights of citizenship in Your kingdom without humility. Our legal status is based on the unmerited favor and rights bestowed on us by the blood of the risen Messiah! How can we receive unmerited legal access to the King of the Universe, and then deny legal rights to those we see everyday?

Likewise, our worship dysfunctions manifested in our failure to recognize Your image and worthiness and inherent legal rights of our Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota neighbors. Will You have mercy on our lack of mercy for these neighbors? Will You have mercy on our worship dysfunctions that usurp Your position as Author of All Human rights!?

Will You raise our awareness of the perfection of Your authority? May we be humble and learn from our elders about our relationships and laws; human to human. May we receive our justice as a gift from the One so that we can pass it to the many until You reign forever! 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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Citizenship_Act
***https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/opinions/dr-charles-eastman-a-dakotas-conflicted-take-on-christianity/
A nice summary of the life of Dr. Charles Eastman. (aka Hakadah and Ohiyesa) http://aktalakota.stjo.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8884

 

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

High Bridge Blown Down

Unknown

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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History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Uncategorized

What is PTH? Why pray about the past?

I freely confess that the following outline is a work in progress. I simply want to share the framework and rationale of why praying through history is pertinent to me. Everyone who names the name of Jesus is called to be a minister of reconciliation, and this is just one man’s attempt to practice.

I. There are specific “moments of separation” in human history. Our perceptions lead to thoughts that overlook or take offense. I will call these “thought-judgments”.

For example, the Seljuk Turks attack and overcome the city of Jerusalem.

II. Action-based judgments at the moment of the offense.

  • Jews to Seljuks, Jews to all Turks, Jews of Jerusalem towards any outsider.
  • Seljuks to Jerusalem’s Jews, Seljuks to all Jews, Seljuk’s towards all enemies.

III. Future judgments are formed based on memory and perception; bitter root judgments are formed.

  • Transference on a cultural scale.
  • Perpetuation of a past offense.
  • Walking backward into our future.

IV. Parties are held responsible for their actions and judgments in the Lord’s justice.

  • Even righteous anger betrays the victim. Perhaps even more so if the victim is a city, culture, tribe, or nation. Under the dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ, all have been forgiven all, and therefore must seek and practice to forgive all to remain true to His example. (This is not easy, but perhaps impossible apart from His mercy. The decision of the will may be simple, but the maintaining a heart of forgiveness is divine. )
  • This is not an endorsement of living without boundaries, especially personal boundaries. This is not an endorsement to submit to an abuser. Rather, it is a challenge of the rights of a human being to hold another prisoner by the maintenance of an offense.

V. We can representationally acknowledge historical sin before our Lord.

  • Through Christ we have access to his Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence. He is present to all history, the present, and future events. He is within time, and beyond our comprehension of time. He knows all and can guide us to pray representationally, (intercession) for events of history, the present, and the future. He truly has unlimited power to forgive, heal, restore any human condition!
  • His only limitation is self-imposed: He is a gentleman with boundaries. He believes in good and evil, justice and injustice, lightness and darkness, separateness and relationship. Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” We can trust in distinctions because he trusts in distinctions. Denial of sin within the context of our relationship with Him or others offends God because it denies our condition of separateness, or that we may have a need to address. Denial allows us to keep our pride, hold a grudge, or maintain anger. To use an old Baptist analogy, “The whole world stands under the Niagara Falls of the Lord’s love. Some have their cups turned up and are filled. Others, though under a deluge of love, can’t seem to keep a drop because their cups are turned upside down.”

VI. Through acknowledgement of historical sins, we set the process of restoration in motion. It is a first step in a process, but is important because it removes the legal grounds of the accusations of the Enemy.

  • We become aware of sin. Often by conscience, or reading or hearing of history.
  • We confess it to the Lord. This is a legal admission of guilt.
  • We pronounce the Lord’s forgiveness of confessed sin. (1 John 1: 8-10)
  • He will guide it through the full process of restoration.

    1. Confession leads to remorse.

    2. Remorse leads to repentance.

    3. Repentance leads to reconciliation.

    4. Reconciliation leads to restoration.

  • We cannot change past events, but replace a heritage cursed relationships with a ray of blessed ones; a change beginning at a fixed point in time, but continuing into eternity.

VII. Additional scriptural principles or mandates that outline our authority under Christ to pray through history.

1. Author Derek Prince sheds light on several key passages of scripture:

  • “It is never the will of God that the judgment due the wicked should come upon the righteous.” Genesis 18: 23,25 NIV
  • “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” v. 23 Abraham asks.
  • ”Far be it from you to do such a thing — to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” v. 25
  • On Christians’ dual citizenship: “By natural birth [the apostle Paul, like any Christian] is a citizen of an earthly nation, and he is subject to all the ordinances and requirements of his nation’s lawful government. But by spiritual rebirth through faith in Christ, he is also a citizen of God’s heavenly kingdom. This is the basis of Paul’s statement, … “We…are citizens of heaven.” Philippians 3:20 NEB
  • Another example, Jeremiah 1: 5,10 NIV – ”I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” v.5
  • ”See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” v.10
  • Jeremiah was subject as a citizen of Judah: he did not “preach or practice political subversion or anarchy. Nor did he ever seek to evade or resist decrees made by the government concerning him, even though these were at times arbitrary and unjust. Yet on the spiritual plane to which God elevated him through his prophetic ministry, Jeremiah exercised authority over the very rulers to whom he was in subjection on the natural plane.”

    – Derek Prince, Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting, (Springdale, PA: Whittaker House,1973)  [Bolded emphasis mine.]

2. Theologian Timothy Tennent speaks to Christians’ God-given ability to express forgiveness from God.

  • Mark 2:1-12 NIV v 5. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “ Son, your sins are forgiven.” v 10.
  • “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…”He said to the paralytic, v11.
  • “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” “It is interesting to note that in John 20:22-23, Jesus breathes upon his disciples to receive the Holy Spirit, and then pronounces, “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”  Jesus is giving the church the authority to announce His forgiveness in the lives of those who come to Him in faith.
  • We do not have the innate ability to forgive anyone’s sins against God, or to withhold God’s forgiveness of sins from anybody.  But Jesus has given the Church the authority to act as His regents or representatives in the world, and to speak on His behalf.  We can declare that “God forgives you” with all the authority of Jesus, because we are not declaring our forgiveness, but rather His forgiveness in Christ.  We are merely pronouncing the forgiveness made possible by the sacrifice of Christ.”-Timothy Tennent, President, Asbury Theological Seminary http://blogs.asburyseminary.edu/global-talk/the-temple-is-here-mark-21-12/ [Bolded emphasis mine]

3.  His Holiness John Paul II, First Sunday of Lent “Day of Pardon” Presentation Vatican Basilica, 12 March 2000:

  • The meaning of the celebration of Lent: “…Christians are invited to acknowledge, before God and before those offended by their actions, the faults which they have committed. Let them do so without seeking anything in return, but strengthened only by the ‘love of God which has been poured finto our hearts’ (Rom 5:5)” (Incarnationis Mysterium, 11; cf. Terno Millennio Adveniente, 33).
  • …The Lord has been living and present in his Church, and through the Saints he has demonstrated that he continues to be at work in human history, in the midst of his community. Certainly, Christians, as pilgrims and wayfarers towards the Kingdom, remain sinners, frail, weak and subject to the temptations of Satan, the Prince of this world, despite their incorporation into the Body of Christ. In every generation the holiness of the Church has shone forth, witnessed by countless numbers of her sons and daughters; yet this holiness has been contradicted by the continuing presence of sin which burdens the journey of God’s People. The Church can sing both the Magnificat for what God has accomplished within her and the Miserere for the sins of Christians, for which she stands in need of purification, penance and renewal (cf. Lumen Gentium, 8).
  • “The Church cannot cross the threshold of the new millennium without encouraging her children to purify themselves through repentance of past errors and instances of infidelity, inconsistency and slowness to act” (Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 33). Consequently, a liturgy seeking pardon from God for the sins committed by Christians down the centuries is not only legitimate; it is also the most fitting means of expressing repentance and gaining purification.  Pope John Paul II, in a primatial act, confesses the sins of Christians over the centuries down to our own time, conscious that the Church is a unique subject in history, “a single mystical person”. The Church is a communion of saints, but a solidarity in sin also exists among all the members of the People of God: the bearers of the Petrine ministry, Bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful.– Source: http://www.catholiclinks.org/sacramentoperdondiadelperdon.htm  [Bolded emphasis mine.]

In Closing

Not all, but many, stories of the past are characterized by an antagonist/ protagonist relationship. I want to get beyond that broken record! I want to remember that I am just like them both; a human being with a heart filled with mixed motives! Perhaps one day we will learn to let the other guy off the hook, and create a just and merciful analytical model for history that will foster future generations in their struggles to ‘love their enemies, and do good to those who persecute them.’ May we, by the authority of the King of the Universe, practice to: heal the past, free the present, and bless the future. Amen!

James D. Orvis

 

 

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

Railroad Introduction Jun 28, 1862

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Minnesota’s first railroad line begins operation when the William Crooks travels ten miles from St. Paul to the village of St. Anthony (present-day Minneapolis). Within ten years the state is laced with railroad lines, opening up vast inland regions to farming and lumber.

To get here, the William Crooks rode on tracks to LaCrosse, Wisconsin then was shipped by steamboat to St. Paul. Until the railroads, steamboats and the rivers they ride are the most efficient way to move goods in and grain and logs out.*

Thanks for the innovations that led to the railways in MInnesota! We have been blessed with excellent passenger and freight transportation here for about 150 years! I bless the changes the William Crooks brought to this generation by the authority of Jesus. May these rails continue to be a blessing to this state in perpetuity!

Good Dad, as I meditate today with You on the subject of trains, I feel a bit of melancholy. Like any good father, You relish the growth, achievements, and inventions of Your kids as they play. You “play trains” with us, and relish as we delight in building, connecting, and traveling.

While this snapshot of time, the coming of the William Crooks, was born peaceably, our methodology and timing in building many future rail lines left much to be desired. What would a dad say to a kid, who when playing with his siblings, demanded that they sign numerous deeds or legal contracts that gave him dominance of their shared playroom or basement? What would a dad say to a daughter who demanded that her brother be permanently removed from the premises because she needed more room for her elaborate train set?

Granted, the real-life complexities of building these lines in 1862 were much more severe than the basement scenario. How does one negotiate a deal between two parties that share little commonality in their definitions of property and ownership? How does one reach resolution when each parties’ land needs or transportation needs are so different?

Lord, forgive and heal Minnesota of every bad fruit and judgment that sprung from the dissonance of these deals. Will You forgive railway companies, their land agents, or any other parties in authority their sins against Native Americans stemming from the land granted them by the federal, state, or local government? We still bear their burden of having sinned against You when we take land or property from one, and give it to another without price! Will You forgive tribes, though often truly wronged, the maintenance of this offense into the present era? (May they receive justice, but be free from transference in their hearts.) How will You heal these broken hearts? Bind us up, Lord!

Hear my prayer, may all forms of coercive redistribution of wealth and property cease in the state of Minnesota! May your Holy Spirit so move on our state and people that we would give and share our land and property, our selves, and our time according to Your pleasure! In many ways, we have lost the joy of giving because our much of our charity is routed through faceless government institutions rather than through human relationships. Help us solve this problem too.

Holy Spirit, will You enable us to give the unlimited resources of heaven to our fellow man through prayer and fasting! May You fill internal chasms of heart that sometimes drive our reckless consumption and fuel our frenetic needs for doing, and cut us off from being. Change what we desire; what we want! In the words of David in Psalms 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”

*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!

 

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19th Century, Civics, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, State Government

Ramsey Becomes Governor Jan 2, 1860 to Jul 10, 1863  

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Alexander Ramsey takes office as the state’s second governor. He was the only man to be both appointed as governor of the territory and then elected as governor of the state.

Ramsey was re-elected in 1861. In January 1863 he was elected by the state legislature to the U.S. Senate. He resigned the governorship at the end of June 1863, after the legislative session was over.

His administration was marked by sound economic management-particularly of the state’s school lands-and by two crises: the Civil War and the Dakota Uprising. Ramsey was in Washington, D.C., in 1861 at the time the Civil War began, and as governor offered the first volunteer regiment for the Union Army.*

Jesus thank you for Alexander Ramsey. Thank you for the leadership through two of the most trying events our state has faced; The Dakota Uprising, and the Civil War. Holy Spirit, I invite You to move and direct my thoughts and prayers. That said, today I feel You are taking me on a tangent.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

DAKOTA UPRISING

Master, what can one add that hasn’t been said about the Dakota Uprising? Scholars from many backgrounds have analyzed the information regarding this scar in Minnesotan history, and yet there is still a gnawing sense of brokeness between Native and non-Native Minnesotans. How to proceed? How do you want to connect the head to the heart of this issue?

As a human being, I can see that there usually aren’t uprisings without provocation. These promptings could be active; i.e. land concessions pushed by rail backed by the power of the State or Federal government. These proddings could be passive; a neglect to uphold ones end of the bargain. What human would respond well if they were told to “eat grass” when they asked for provisions that were rightfully theirs?
However, does an offense give us the right to commit atrocities of counter offense? To commit the sin of transference by literally nailing innocent parties to the doors of their homes? I posit to You, Good One, that although we are made in Your image, we have marred it by quashing our offender, our enemy. Who will save us from this cycle of offense and counter-offense, come “come close” and “stay away”?

Many of us have viewed the Native American human as lesser. It was Your pleasure to create all Indians! You made them of many tribes, languages, and nations in Your image and a reflection of Your glory! Will You forgive all Non- Native Minnesotans:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards First Nations?
2. All our words of judgment, and verbal expressions of contempt of Native Americans?
3. Any legal expressions of contempt towards Indians?
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the Native American human being?

In the same light, we have wrongly grouped Non-Natives as having a singular viewpoint. We have, at times, monolithically condemned those of European descent as “racist” and “invaders”. Are You not the Creator of the Americans of European descent?

Will You forgive all Native Minnesotans:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards European Americans?
2. All our words of judgment, and verbal expressions of contempt of Non-Native Americans?
3. Any legal expressions of contempt towards European Immigrants?
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the Non-Native American human being?

CIVIL WAR

In a similar vein, will You forgive this State our offenses to You by the judgments foisted on Governor Ramsey, and any political leaders since who have wrestled such weighty conflicts? They have to make difficult choices based on incomplete information, and yet we, as their constituents, often show no mercy on their human frailties and moments of indecision! Christ have mercy on our judgments of our leaders for not fixing OUR broken hearts, and OUR divisive and untrusting attitudes! Can new laws make people show respect and love towards each other?

Taking another huge bite, I’m sure the enemy wreaked havoc in the state through the Civil War. I’m sure many were conflicted about trying to establish peace between the North and the South, slave and free, through warfare. Help me sort out the things to pray over this event.

First, forgive the audacity and judgments of the Church towards slavery. Granted, there was not one monolithic point of view, but there were many that named the name of Jesus, and still saw fit to hold slaves. Will You forgive us this view as a state? As a nation? As the Church of America?

Many of us have viewed the African American human as lesser. It was Your pleasure to create all Africans! You made them of many tribes, languages, and nations in Your image and a reflection of Your glory! Will You forgive all Non- African Minnesotans:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards African Americans?
2. All our words of judgment, and verbal expressions of slavery of African Americans?
3. Any legal expressions of slavery towards African Americans?
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the African American human being?

Second, will You forgive African Americans, and any of the ancestors of American enslavement:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards Non-African Americans?
2. All our words of judgment of Non-African Americans?
3. Any legal expressions of revenge towards Non-African Americans?
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the Non-African American human being?

Being the son of a military father, I’m proud that our forefathers were among the first to VOLUNTEER to die in battle opposing slavery. Slavery had been a bone of contention and internal conflict in our national psyche from our founding. Thank You that many in our State have consistently supported the rights of life and liberty throughout the ages. Will You bless those who have fought with a pure heart brimming over with justice?

Lastly, Dear One, how would things have been different if the Church had followed Your admonitions: rising in prayer and fasting over the injustices of slavery? Submitting our grievances to You; acknowledging Your position as King of the Universe? The Church has followed culture into physical war so often, instead of engaging the enemy in heavenly realms. We have tried to change the attitudes of our nation towards the black African slave and the American Indian through external battle. We try to bring peace to the world around us without first doing the work of making peace with You and your children in our hearts. Christ have mercy on us! We choose to honor You first this day: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam…Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe! May we forever bring our universal problems to You!

*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!

 

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19th Century, Culture, Economics, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, riverboat, Technology, Transportation

Steamboats 1840 to 1870  

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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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