Young Turks

by Penrod

I begin with the remark that it has been a long time since anything practical, therapeutic, or theological has been mentioned in this column and this issue is no exception. But wait! Look at my column in the Christmas issue. It contains the whole ball of wax as advertised. If you don’t believe me, read it again.

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. At the 1988 Covenant Annual Meeting in Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts—the year David Horner was called to be President of North Park—some people called Pietisten the work of “young Turks.”

There was some truth in this designation at the time—especially when people thought of David Hawkinson and Peter Sandstrom, perhaps even Phil Johnson (all three former Covenant pastors who still had fire in their bellies). However, the notion of “young” when applied to Phil was already something of a stretch.

Be that as it may, there has been no mention of the term young Turks around here for a long time. According to information in The Christian Century, the average age of a Lutheran is 53, of a Methodist, 57, and, from an independent estimator, Pietisten subscribers average 63. No young Turks we.

So what are they up to, these aging Pietisten folks? What have we got here? The Three Stooges?, Three Men in a Boat?, PG Wodehouse characters? I know some of you are as puzzled as I as to why and how they keep going as their powers diminish.

The truth is that they get a lift from some tremendous young Turks who give verve to this conversation called Pietisten. There are more than you see named in our pages. Because there can never be too many in light of our average age, I move that Pietisten run an ad in both The Covenant Companion and The Christian Century —“Young Turks Wanted, Please Apply.” Young folks are our hope.

Penrod says that, in thinking about him, one should think first of Booth Tarkington's Penrod, the boy writer, and then of the mighty pen of Martin Luther with its power like unto the rod of Aaron.

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