Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor
Volume V, Issue XXV
Chicago Truth, Real Reform and Light
The 'other' weekly news magazine this week features the cover entitled Chicago Bull [click to read] with Mayor Rahm Emmanuel on the cover. Stating that the mayor is fighting crime and failing schools, the magazine asks: "So why are people mad at him." For one thing, it must be noted that the mayor had a hand in governing before he worked for the White House. Could it be that he's tilting at windmills of his own making? THYME often feels compelled to offer contrasting perspective. Chicago has known some great reformers and men of courage. Here is what that looks like:
It seems that two great myths impede human progress. First there is the myth that generations before us did not struggle with the things we struggle with today. Human nature hasn't changed in the thousands of years of history and the lessons of history show that great progress has often been made as noble persons have faced the challenge head on. The second myth, one so much promoted today, is that mankind is ever evolving to some higher level and if we just get the institutions [such as government] right, we're all living in utopia.
Both myths are dangerous because they ignore the ever present struggle of our nobler aspirations over our tendency toward depravity. It is a battle in which 'Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.' Honest history shows us this struggle. Dennis Prager writes that Every Generation is Tested by a Great Evil [click to read] and the story is in how we respond to that evil. The history of the great city of Chicago bears this out.
"It would appear that every generation confronts a major moral test. A great evil presents itself as a good, and the world that is not victimized by that evil is tested: Can it recognize the evil and confront it?The pattern is eerily and depressingly repetitive.
1. The evil takes hold.
2. The evil has myriad defenders even among otherwise decent people.
3. The evil is vanquished after destroying an uncountable number of lives.
4. After the evil is vanquished, there is virtually unanimous agreement that it was indeed evil."
Chicago's corruption is the stuff of legends, yet there has been great progress in the face of great tragedy. Chicago has known both Al Capone [click to read] and Frank Loesch [click to read], the man who brought him to justice.
"When I was a small boy, I attended church every Sunday at a big Gothic Presbyterian bastion in Chicago. The preaching was powerful and the music was great. But for me, the most awesome moment in the morning service was the offertory, when twelve solemn, frock-coated ushers marched in lock-step down the main aisle to receive the brass plates for collecting the offering. These men, so serious about their business of serving the Lord in this magnificent house of worship, were the business and professional leaders of Chicago.
One of the twelve ushers was a man named Frank Loesch. He was not a very imposing-looking man, but in Chicago he was a living legend, for he was the man who had stood up to Al Capone. In the prohibition years, Capone's rule was absolute. The local and state police and even the Federal Bureau of Investigation were afraid to oppose him. But single-handedly, Frank Loesch, as a Christian layman and without any government support, organized the Chicago Crime Commission, a group of citizens that was determined to take Mr. Capone to court and put him away. During the months that the Crime Commission met, Frank Loesch's life was in constant danger. There were threats on the lives of his family and friends. But he never wavered. Ultimately, he won the case against Capone and was the instrument for removing this blight from the city of Chicago. Frank Loesch had risked his life to live out God's call on his life.
Each Sunday at this point in the service, my father, a Chicago businessman himself, never failed to poke me and silently point to Frank Loesch with pride. Sometimes I'd catch a tear in my father's eye. For my dad, and for all of us, this was and is what authentic Christian living is all about." -- Bruce Larson
The Chicago River.
The story of Chicago includes the tragic Chicago Fire and the great revivals brought by a simple shoe salesman, D.L. Moody [click to read] who butchered the king's English but led many to the high calling of Faith. Chicago saw more than its share of corruption but it also saw great innovation as in the great World's Fair [click to read] and the architecture of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. She has survived Fire, sewage issues, corruption and financial collapse.
Preston Tucker's Unique Automobile was made in Chicago.
Not all of Chicago's stories have happy endings. Consider car maker Preston Tucker [click to read], who saw his innovative company squashed by a government attorney. Yet Detroit would do well to look to the innovation that was surpressed in the past as it looks to position itself for the future.
Inscription on the wall of Moody Bible Institute's Chicago Campus. The Institute, which trains Christian workers for service around the world, is part of the legacy of the great evangelist.