Gary, Indiana was founded by US Steel in 1906. It bloomed with the steel industry, but in spite of its wealth and promise became a deeply segregated city.
In 1967, when, Richard Hatcher, one of the nation’s first big city black mayors was elected, white flight that had begun in the early 1960’s accelerated.
As this happened, the steel industry contracted and the jobs that had built and supported Gary disappeared.
Today, Gary has a population of about 75,000, down from almost 200,000 in its heyday. Driving around the city, you can still see the empty building and often stunning homes that were built in this heyday. Rows and rows, blocks and blocks, of abandoned, magnificent homes.
What are the lessons?
Racism and poverty are complicated. There was segregation that led to an oppressed people. But when the whites left, bad choices were made. Blight that could have been cleared away still exists. It’s estimated that over 1/3 of all buildings are unoccupied. Driving around, I would say it is more.
Yet, there is a depth and beauty to this community that is hard to properly express. A nobleness to the population I have felt in few other places. It has been a trip I will never forget.
I always ask the students in my leadership classes, who is someone that mentored you and shaped your life. Today, a female officer from the Gary PD said, "my Dad," then she explained.
She was 22 years old and 7 months pregnant. Driving in her hometown of Gary, she was shot 4 times, twice in the head. A random act of violence, the police didn’t follow through on finding the shooters. She was devastated.
Later, still recovering and now nine months pregnant, her dad encouraged her to become a police officer and change what she was upset about. That encouragement and her decision to serve changed that shooting from a tragedy to fuel for life.
Thomas Merton in his book, The Storey Mountain, talks about coming to a crossroads where he had to decide, "will I live to please God, or please man."
He understood that to love God was to do things for God. This was the only way to fulfill the destiny we were created for.
This temptation to lose sight of God and focus on pleasing others has never been greater. The entire infrastructure of social media is based on people's desire to be liked and accepted. Where does this rabbit hole lead. Is there another way to live?
Question: What should you believe in Politics and Media?
Answer: Not much.
The problem is that politicians and the media generally tell us what we want to hear. They don’t make money, and they don’t get elected otherwise.
As long as we are smart and demand truth, well, that is what we’ll get. The second we are moved by something else, well, we lose truth.
I spoke last week on George Washington’s farewell address. He wrote on how keeping the freedoms of liberty demanded a people shaped by morality and religion. I believe this is why, to keep us demanding the right things.
Unfortunately, today, most people are driven by their lesser angels.
Join us as we discuss this and more on Today's The Pilgrim's Odyssey podcast.
I heard from someone I’m very close to about a counseling appointment they just had. Thirty minutes of spilling their guts, then “Well, your time is up. That must have been very therapeutic getting that out, see ya’ next week." They walked out and were alone with little direction or answers. It devastated them.
The questions they had were existential, spiritual, and deeper than the symptoms they were exhibiting. Modern counselors are primarily taught to treat the symptoms. Their 30-minute life assessment is not a life assessment. It's a check in the box. Now, there are some who dig deeper, but they are few and far between. These special ones are worth finding, but they can be hard to find.
Depression up. Suicide up. Psych meds up. The evidence shows I’m right. Modern mental health has a problem.
Today on the Pilgrim's Odyssey we discuss why, what to do about, and advice for those seeking help.
What a crazy, wonderful, strange trip to Idaho! I saw the best of America, and then the worst on the flight home.
Hear it all on today's episode!
We’ve been talking this week about George Washington’s farewell address of 1793. It contains his admonition to preserve our liberty through unity of government, the danger of a large military establishment, and the divisiveness of parties.
Today, we end this series on the values he saw as needed to preserver this character and freedom, our religion and morality.
Yesterday, we talked about George Washington’s view that our country was interwoven with the love of liberty and the unity of government helped insure this liberty. He warned of those who would divide us.
What was this unity Washington warned us to keep?
“The name of American, .........., must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles.”
He also warned us of what he saw as the most likely thing to tear our country apart:
“In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.”
That is what has exactly happened to our country. Parties have created a platform to pollute our union, to give us fewer choices, to allow elites to speak for and divide us.
We will never be united by fear. It may temporarily dictate actions, but eventually, fear erodes and divides.
We will never be united by political divisions and labels.
But what unites us today? Does anything?
In 1796, George Washington used his farewell address to remind us what kept our young country united, Liberty! And admonishes us that liberty is the only thing that will keep an American government united in the future.
Take a minute to look up and read the entire farewell address and join me all week as we discuss it in depth. George Washington's words and warnings have never been needed more.
I mentioned in a podcast earlier this week that I believe the Bible describes the human condition better than anything. It is real to me because it knows me.
Sadly, we have raised a couple generations of children unfamiliar with church, with no clue “why” you should believe, the benefit of belief, etc.
I still think that half-a-century since his passing, the best apologist of how to reach them, and to understand the role of faith in our own lives, is CS Lewis.
You were made for something greater than just earth.
You discover yourself when you give up yourself.
Try to be good, and you will understand quickly why you need God, why you need what you were created for.
Now, as you walk around this weekend, remember this world was created for you. Christ died for you. Find your place in it by following the one who created you.