Spring 2008

Volume XXIII, Number 1

In This Issue

I Was the Emperor of Japan by Steve Balogh

My mountain kingdom was in Minamata in Kumamoto Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu, from where, the ancient story tells us, the Japanese people originated. From my mountain vantage point, I looked out over the vast blue Shiranui Sea, a beautiful, fairy tale water, but a sea of sorrows, really. Each morning, I watched my people in their fishing boats bobbing along the coast or out across the sea, toward Goshonoura, an island where dinosaurs once roamed. And at night, they were often still there, the boats with their lights, and my people, with strong hands and backs, working to make a living off the sea. Sometimes the sea was calm and it looked like glass stretching all the way to Goshonoura; but at other times, it was angry, and a nasty wind lashed the boats with rain, and tossed them up and down, up and down, over foaming hills of water. I looked out from my balcony each day, taking it all in. Above me there, and sometimes below me off the cliffs, sea eagles floated and screamed.

Death Has a Face by Peter Sandstrom

Bergman died last July 31, a New York Times writer declared that Bergman’s iconic figure of death incarnate in his 1958 film, The Seventh Seal, had become an enduringly effective symbol of both death and Bergman’s early signature film-making style. That black-robed persona with the wide, white grease-painted face and bald head protruding from his cowl outlasted relentless efforts to satirize, lampoon, and mock it for nearly 50 years. Considering how overwhelmingly cynical and derisive our culture’s comedy and commentary have become, it is really something when an icon from the world of art or cinema survives and continues with its original force intact. My teenage introduction to Ingmar Bergman and appreciation of him is a case in point.

Youth Movement

Axel John Nelson; Samuel Albin Hokanson; Elsie Evelyn Nelson Brown; Benjamin Sergey Spohr; Micah James Small.

Tom Tredway Awarded Order of the Polar Star (Nordstjärneorden)

Jonas Hafström, Sweden’s Ambassador to the U.S., presented the Order of the Polar Star to Dr. Tom Tredway, president emeritus of Augustana College and Pietisten Navigation (& History) Editor, in recognition of the many ways he has nurtured Augustana’s ties to the homeland of its founders.

Mama’s Milk by Michael Elsohn Ross and illustrated by Ashley Wolff reviewed by Jennifer and Violet Ecklund-Johnson

Mama’s Milk is a wonderfully illustrated book about how human and animal mothers feed their young. The rhyming text reads like a sweet lullaby and tells how a variety of animal babies nurse and bond with their mothers. The colorful pictures demonstrate mothers providing nourishment and comforting their young in their natural habitats. Both wild and domestic animals are included in the book.

Matthew Chapter 28: 16-20 and Waldenström’s Commentary by Paul Peter Waldenström and translated by Tommy Carlson

Krister Stendahl by Phil Johnson

Doctor Bishop Krister Stendahl, knowing God’s Kingdom includes people of every faith and walk of life, was a friend to all in the spirit of Jesus. He was a friend of Pietisten and our fondness for him is great.

In Praise of Higher Education by Phil Johnson

When John Johnson of North Park University, son of my old football teammate at North Park, Gordon Johnson, called, a rare opportunity fell into our laps. John is in Development and he asked if I could arrange a meeting between North Park University President, David Parkyn, and Dr. Bob Elde (North Park ’69), Dean of the School of Biology at the University of Minnesota, while the North Park choir was in Minneapolis.

Transportation for our Times by Nels Elde

My soul delights in the canoe ride of theology and religion that can give life richness and depth. When I navigate the waterways of the BWCA, I am filled with awe and wonder even in a beat up aluminum canoe.

The Sermon by Pastor Abraham Wickbom

This sermon is said to have been preached in 1860. It was reproduced by Aug. Bäckman from Vetlanda in the book Forntid and Nutid (Past and Present) that reports parish life and cultural history from Östra Härad in Jönköping’s Province. For its truthfulness the writer is not responsible, however there have been several persons that have given witness that the sermon actually was given.

Listening for “voice” while reading text by David Hawkinson

Becoming a reader requires that we learn how to speak and listen for the voices that come from within and for the ones that address us. Bible is spoken word more than written word. Reading bible is at heart the practice of genuine dialogue.

Engaging Anders Nygren by Elder M. Lindahl

While we were enjoying a delicious Swedish Christmas dinner, my son-in-law, Jeff, asked about the subject of my doctoral thesis. Finishing the meatball I was chewing and stalling a bit to organize my thoughts, I responded, “I translated some of the early writings of Anders Nygren.” Though I added a few general comments for clarity, Jeff was not satisfied. “Dad, couldn’t you just put your thesis into a single paragraph?” Thankfully, the table conversation changed, and the festivities continued. His challenging question, nonetheless, became lodged firmly in my consciousness. What follows is an attempt, though not in a single paragraph, to expand a bit on my research experience.

Navigating Realistically (in a Platonic Sense) by Tom Tredway

The Bible uses a number of metaphors for the relationship of the believer to God, for the Christian life. Marriage, child-parent, servant-lord, foot race, battle—these are a few of them. Certainly one of the most frequent is that of a journey or pilgrimage. From the author of Hebrews to John Bunyan to the hymns of the Scandinavian Pietists the idea that the Christian is on a journey has been a powerful one for understanding the inner life. If you accept that way of thinking about human existence in relation to the divine, you tend to see the everyday world in a different light and you are apt to find in ordinary things traces or even evidences of things greater and unseen.

Roy Bengtson by Lois Vetvick

At North Park College, my Uncle Roy had a nickname because he was hit by a car on Foster Avenue. For some friends and family this nickname did not stick. But on my side of the family he has been known as “Uncle Bong.”

Nels George Akerlund by Arvid Adell

It must have been an extraordinary and strange sight seeing a wife, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, plus a few in-laws encircling a hospital bed whose rails were decorated with twinkling lights and brightly colored balloons. It must have been an extraordinary and strange sound hearing boisterous musical renditions of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow,” “When the saints go Marching In,” and, finally, “Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara” resounding in the bedroom where the person being serenaded appeared to be totally oblivious to the celebration.

Bill Frykman by Laura Frykman

I want to share just a few thoughts about Dad, who remained a beloved mystery to me all his life. The first time I knew I loved him was when I was very little, at bedtime. He would pick me up and set me on the edge of the bathroom sink, and tell me to hold on to him, while he gently washed and tickled my dirty toes. He was a tender and compassionate man. Even when he disagreed with my choices, he always respected my independence, and taught me to persist in all my efforts.

Ruth Wold by Phil Johnson

Ruth was there to serve the Lord and to be the best helpmate she could be to her husband George, the Pastor. In that spirit, Ruth was always young and true. She lived simple, pure graciousness.

Regular Features

Green with Reene by Irene Ecklund

HOPE (Helping Omaha’s People Eat) is a Vegetable garden maintained by the Master Gardeners of Douglas and Sarpy counties. I am Crew Leader of a group of gardeners who work at HOPE three days a week. All the produce goes to feed the hungry.

Sightings in Christian Music by Glen Wiberg

Sweden, an anomaly in many ways, is a deviation from the rules, especially as seen and experienced by many American visitors. The most common perception many Swedish-Americans carry away with them from visiting relatives or friends in the land of their forebears is that today Sweden has become a thoroughly secular place. This is based on how few attend church—except for baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and funerals. As one wag puts it “hatch, match, and dispatch.”

Poetry Corner by Arthur Mampel

I once read that the mind is like an endless video-tape—recording every sensation, thought, feeling, memory, action, fear, taste, et al in the course of the human experience. And, if that is so, then the substance of who we are is surely influenced by the sum of those experiences. And if we believe this, it follows that when we nourish our minds with qualities that deepen our character and enrich our souls we have chosen a wise direction.

The Last Chapter by Arthur Mampel

Las Cruces Night by Sheryl Nelms

Men of the Church by Arthur W. Anderson

My new friend, Gus, invited me to a men’s gathering in the church lounge at a time when 8 a.m. was colder and earlier than usual. About 18-20 men—three professors, a doctor, hard-nosed businessmen, some retired, others not, assembled in the church kitchen, had donuts and coffee, and then gathered together in the lounge.

Young Turks by Penrod

I don’t know how the metaphor “young Turks” got started, I’ve not checked out its meaning with anybody until now. It refers, does it not, to younger people who act with boldness and energy, and who challenge authority though they need not reject authority if it passes their test? Usually the word has a positive, respectful, even admiring connotation.

Annual Meeting Report by Phil Johnson

Our host this year was the Schubert Club of St. Paul. They opened the second floor of their Rare Instrument Museum for our festivities. In sense, our host was our departed brother and colleague, Bruce Carlson. It was a festive time.

Post: Readers Respond

Thoughts on the Jayhawks’ NCAA Championship by Eric Ecklund-Johnson

I will admit that I am a convert to Jayhawk basketball. I was once indifferent to their wins, losses, and frequent early exits from the NCAA tournament; however, the scales fell from my eyes shortly after I accepted a job at the University of Kansas Hospital and I have seen the light.

Congratulations Caitlin Hunstock

Forward Caitlin Hunstock of Bethlehem Covenant Church in Minneapolis completed a distinguished basketball career at the University of Wisconsin River Falls playing forward for the Falcons.