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Next Exit: 1939

Next Exit: 1939

May 1939. "Alabama. The poorer the land, the more frequently one sees religious signs along highways." Photo by Marion Post Wolcott for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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And Lottery Signs

Every time I go to a convenience store in a less affluent part of town, I see a whole line of people wasting most of their money on lottery tickets. It drives me crazy for some reason. I feel like I should tell them, that they have a much better chance of getting hit by lightning and suing God than hitting the Lottery, but it's none of my business. Some people prey on the poor. Even churches.

Hark, the voice of Jesus calling

Not a quotation from the Bible, but the title of a hymn by Daniel March (1816-1909), written in 1868 when he was a pastor in Philadelphia. The first four lines are: “Hark, the voice of Jesus calling, / ‘Who will go and work today? / Fields are ripe and harvests waiting, / Who will bear the sheaves away?’” March based it on the text from Isaiah 6:8, which reads: “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”

Blessed are the poor

Wolcott's statement could be taken as an experienced observation, or a slap at the poverty-stricken yet largely religious South during the Depression. Either way, her point is supported by scripture. Matthew 5 uses the language of poverty to describe those who will overcome it spiritually one day:

        Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

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