Christmas 2007

Volume XXII, Number 2

In This Issue

Reading Platonic (and other) Text-Maps by Tom Tredway

Most maps are mini-pictures of the landscape they represent, but written texts can also be “cartographic.” Pietists have, of course, been guided by one such text-map above all others. We are told that in confused or uncertain moments some of our forebears would simply open the Scriptures at random, point to a verse on the page, and seek to divine from it what the Spirit was seeking to tell them. One presumes that they were trying to avoid inflicting their own ideas on Holy Writ. They wanted the Bible to guide them, not the other way around. But one wonders what they did when a verse seemed, at least at first, to have little or nothing to say to the matter in question. What, for example, could Isaiah 44:24-25, I am the Lord, who made all things, who also stretched out the heavens, who by myself spread out the earth, who frustrates the omens of liars, and makes fools of diviners, mean to a Swede trying to decide whether to book passage on a steamer bound from Göteborg to New York in 1878? (I leave it to you, reader, to speculate on that.)

Alaska’s Two Covenant Schools by Paul Swanson

Rural Alaska is defined as the vast regions of the State not connected to the North American road system and is primarily populated by Alaska natives. In 1887, the Covenant Church began missionary work in one of these rural regions. Only the Orthodox, the Presbyterians, the Friends, and the Moravians, along with the Covenant were doing missionary work among the Alaskan natives at that time. Somehow the Covenant either chose or was assigned the villages around the Norton Sound. Today the church in most of these villages is the “Covenant” church.

News and Notes

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Bentz; Meet the Hallingberg-Lovolls

Youth Movement

Review: From one Heart to Another reviewed by Elder M. Lindahl

Dick celebrates this life-giving gift as he weaves together two threads, one about the physical ordeal he went through leading to well-being, and the other about the spiritual lessons he learned in the process. These parallel stories run throughout the book, connecting nicely into what might be classified as an extended, edifying Christian tract.

Review: Wolf Song reviewed by Jennifer and Violet Ecklund-Johnson

Wolf Song tells the story of a young girl, Nell, and her Uncle Walter embarking on a north woods adventure to howl with the wolves. The story is a refreshing change from the “big bad wolf” character typically depicted in children’s literature.

Romans Chapter 8:18-23 and Waldenström’s Commentary by Paul Peter Waldenström and translated by Tommy Carlson

Personal Considerations Regarding Sexual Preference and the Church by Ralph Sturdy

I am grieved that the 2004 Covenant Annual Meeting endorsed a policy on human sexuality that limits and judges the participation of homosexual persons in the life of denominational churches. I fear the policy was intended, at least in part, to cull out those who disagree. Some of my Covenant clergy brothers, suggest that if I can’t agree with them, I’d best find another denomination. I say to my brothers, “you can’t get rid of me that easily.”

Pietism and Social Justice: The Legacy of Johann Arndt’s True Christianity by Mark Safstrom

In a previous article in Pietisten, I suggested that P.P. Waldenström’s commentary on North American society reflected some traditional Lutheran Pietist concerns for social justice. Prompted by a friend at Seattle First Covenant, this was expanded into a Sunday school series that traced the Covenant Church’s history of social ministries through its Pietist roots. This article is a summary of part one of that class.

The 2007 Ivar Wistrom Invitational by Arvid Adell

Pictured here is the antithesis of the Mets. You are looking at the foursome who completely annihilated the competition to win the Third Annual Wistrom Invitational—by a landslide. As befits the modesty of these champions, the post-tournament banquet was held at the Garrison, Minnesota McDonalds with the incomparably beautiful Lake Mille Lac in the background as a kind of gallery. Three of these players, myself the exception, are the perennial winners of this event and there are murmurings about a possible dynasty in the making. Whatever, we are in perfect concert with spokesman Stengal, “None of us could not have done it by hisself.”

Sabbath Day by Elder M. Lindahl

Picture two young boys, maybe nine and twelve, on Sunday mornings standing in the narthex of the Swedish Mission Church in Stambaugh, Michigan handing out little text-only Sions Basun hymn books to the people as they arrive for worship. While the boys greeted people, the huge bell above them clanged loudly when sexton Art Thompson pulled on a thick rope nearby.

Federated Perspectives, June 17, 2007 by Ted Larsen

I was born and raised in the State of Montana in a small town in which everyone knew everybody. Because it was a railroad transfer center, we had a variety of nationalities in a population that seemed well integrated. One of the churches in our town had burned beyond repair, so the congregation joined with those of another church where they pretty much read the Bible in the same way and quite often got the same message. Realizing the need for a name that would not favor one group over the other, they decided to call themselves “the Federated Church.”

Kermit Holmgren, 1906 — 2006 by Marian Ecklund

Not long ago I took my re-assignment as the top (or maybe the bottom) slice in the generational sandwich of our family. My father, Kermit Holmgren, died nearly four months past 100 years. My memories of the years of his life are more of the encyclopedic than the “sound bite” variety, such that I hardly know where to begin!

Betty A. Nelson, 1936 — 2007 by Peter Sandstrom

Betty Nelson was a gracious woman who warmly touched the lives of many people. Among those who experienced her unceasing cheerfulness, gift-giving, and laughter were, first and foremost, her family.

Amos Otieno Odenyo, 1935 — 2007 by Martin Odenyo

With much sorrow we announce the passing of Amos Otieno Odenyo. Amos was born to Zablon Sangoro Odenyo and Grace Dina Adero (Obuong) Odenyo on April 18, 1935 in Regea village, Gem, Kenya. Amos attended Kisii High School from 1955 to 1958. During these years life-long friendships were established and a pioneering spirit was formed. From 1959 to 1961, Amos was stationed in Mombasa as an Assistant Inspector of Police, a remarkable achievement in Kenya’s pre-independence era. In 1961, Amos was among the first in his generation to travel outside of East Africa, attending Augustana College in South Dakota, U.S.A., where he received a B.A. in Political Science in 1965. Amos continued his university studies at the University of Wyoming, and received a M.A. in Sociology in 1967. In 1970, Amos earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Minnesota.

Regular Features

Thinking about two phrases by Penrod

I recently encountered this term in a review by John Gray of Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong by Marc D. Hauser. Gray told about a bonobo who displayed an “aversion to inequity” in trying to assist a bird. I knew right away what the term means. I recognize an aversion to inequity in myself and I think most humans have it more or less.

S.K.’s Swedish Crepes

Sightings in Christian Music by Glen V. Wiberg

Through my friendship with Phyllis Holmer, I have begun a correspondence with a longstanding friend of the Holmers, Dr Andrew Burgess, Professor of Philosophy and a Kierkegaard scholar at The University of New Mexico in, Albuquerque. Dr Burgess is also a graduate of Minnehaha and was a student of Paul Holmer. I would like to share part of a letter which I wrote this past summer to Dr Burgess.

So What’s the Solution? by Arthur W. Anderson

There are times in my life when things go wrong and I wonder why. All the plausible sources I turn to are simply band aids that nurse my anger, self-pity, and frustration. I’m still that crotchety, old guy. I seldom read self-help books anymore. The glamorous promises always seem to let me down. Recently, my circle of friends hit upon a small volume by Eckhart Tolle entitled The Power of the Now.

Poetry Corner by Arthur Mampel

When I teach a poetry workshop, I ask the students to free their minds and try to imagine a place in their lives that they retreat to when they want solitude and reflection, a place where they can clear their minds of everydayness, where they can think new thoughts. It may be a bench in the park, or their private room, or a walk by the lake, or in the library. I tell them that when they have imagined such a place they are to describe it in as many one syllable words as they can put on a single sheet of paper.

The Farmer and His Wife by Arthur Mampel

Every day by Bill Wahman

Then by Robert Simmons

Out and About

Seattle, Washington, July 17 and 18; Rock Island, Illinois, October 19; Prairie Village, Kansas, October 21; Petersons call trip to Kenya “a bath in hope.”

Post: Readers Respond

The 2007 Waldenström by Eric Ecklund-Johnson

The Waldenström Award is given for outstanding play to the college football player Pietisten selects. Again this year we are faced with a difficult decision.