I sit here today with my Bible open in great pain after five days of barely being able to walk. I decide that in my condition I should study the Book of Job. It’s a beautiful book which has a prose intro in which Job loses everything and a prose conclusion in which Job has everything he lost restored double. The portion in between describes, in poetry, a great conflict and struggle between Job, his friends, and God Himself, a scene which resembles the larger conflict of the ages.
“I call the book of Job,” said Thomas Carlyle, “apart from all theories about it, one of the grandest things ever written with the pen.”
“Yes the book of Job,” said Mandell Creighton, “stirs one deeply. The dramatic skill with which it works out its problem is quite amazing, and the majesty of the picture is overpowering. The blundering friends who agonize the sufferer by commonplace moralities that suffering is the punishment of sin…the well-meant mediation of an impartial bystander, who suggests to Job that his impatience has shown that he needed chastening, and that God’s justice is vindicated in the chastisement; Job’s silence before this, in which he feels some grain of truth; all lead up to a great revelation of God’s glory as the purpose of the world – a purpose in which each man bears his part in a mysterious way which God only can explain…It is all so ancient and yet so modern. There are few mightier works in all literature.”
The conflict will be resolved, mankind will be happier than Adam in paradise ever was, and God will be esteemed and vindicated.
I look forward to teaching through this book in the “Context and Flow” series.
On this day, July 12, 1954, a plan was put forward which brought about one of the greatest changes in the American landscape and culture.
My parents remember vividly the political climate of the 1950s. They recall going to Chicago beaches and seeing signs everywhere bearing the slogan, “I Like Ike.” In the 1970s, when I was a child, my father got me hooked on coin collecting. He would snatch up every Eisenhower silver dollar he came across to add to my collection, those were my favorite. My prized possession was my double-headed Eisenhower silver dollar, a misprint of some kind. My friends always wondered why I won every coin toss determining who bats first, and I’ve yet to this day revealed my secret!
The former General was courted by both parties, but he ended up running and winning as a Republican. The cold-war was raging and Ike seemed like the perfect man for the job under such circumstances. Over 75-million people watched President Eisenhower’s inauguration on TV.
Ike, having seen enough of war, longed for peace. He downsized the military and used the extra money to improve our quality of life at home, his infrastructure improvements making the most impact. Ike pushed through Congress the largest public works project in American history, a project which forever changed the American landscape and way of life.
On this day, July 12, 1954, Ike put forward a plan for an interstate highway system called, “The Federal Highway Act.” Congress approved it in 1956 and work began almost immediately. The largest road-building project in American History called for the laying of 41,000 miles of road over a thirteen year period at the cost of 32-billion dollars.
Ike sold the act as a national security measure. If there was a nuclear attack, the roads would provide rapid routes for people fleeing the cities; in case of Soviet invasion, the roads provided maneuvering routes for the U.S. military. Thankfully, they were never utilized for these purposes! Instead, the military project provided for the peaceful transportation of people and goods.
The Federal Highway Act forever changed the American landscape and culture. The mid-50s saw an economic boom as a result of the cold war spending and wages had doubled since World War Two. As a result, people’s idea of the American dream was altered. Before World War Two, most people lived in cities, found jobs close to home, and were content to stay where they were for the rest of their lives. But in the 50s the people, because of their higher wages, were driving bigger cars and living in bigger houses, and because of the new highway system eighty-percent of those houses were being built in the suburbs. By 1960, the suburban populations equaled the cities. The Federal Highway Act is largely responsible for this change of landscape and culture.
Next time you drive the Interstates or visit a suburb, remember the slogan, “I Like Ike.”