Volume XIV, Number 2
In This Issue
For several decades I have been reading Bible alongside others and within other traditions and teaching what I have come to learn in the process. This much I have come to believe: Readers are made in the same sense that reading must be taught.
On this date fifty-one years ago, a body was found in a ditch alongside a road. This was no business man, no victim of robbers who trudged along from one city to the next. This was Kaj Munk, a playwright and faithful parish pastor in Denmark—shot in the head by the Nazis who were occupying his country.
I’m driving down the highway and a car passes me on the right. As it passes, I see on the back bumper a shiny outline of a fish. I shake it off and continue down the road until I see a huge sign that says: "The Lord is God!"
"Christ and John the Baptist" is a fine example of the power of Munk’s preaching. Most of his sermons could be described as "narrative preaching." In other words, you will not find a three-point sermon. The story of the text itself provides the sermon’s structure, pulse, rhythm, and resolution. But the story is told in an engaging way with powerful and imaginative metaphors and the social and political significance of the story is inescapable. Could there be a stronger metaphor than "the Prophet’s head on a platter"—a foreshadowing of Munk being shot in the head and martyred?
I mark the passage of time, especially during the warmer months, by boats. Others chart time by their travels, health crises, job growth or change, family change, or any number of things. I remember the boats I’m on during any season.
The Covenant Church was born in February, 1885. The format of that gathering was essentially a "mission meeting" as noted by Karl Olsson. Mission meetings were characterized by preaching, often several sermons per session. On Wednesday evening of that week (it was Ash Wednesday), the preachers were F. M. Johnson and C. A. Bjork. Both sermons stressed that unity is the result of divine grace at work.
Readers have asked for more information about some of the personalities of Pietisten’s roots. Rosenius granted Elder Lindahl a Narnian type interview in September, 1867. Picture the two of them taking coffee together in a konditori in Umeå, Sweden.
I stood at the entrance of a narrow, ancient path, its width, just sufficient for a sub-compact car, defined by rough stone walls four feet high and nearly as wide. Their dimensions have little significance for these walls result from a compelling need to pick and move fieldstone.
The greatest gift we can give our children is their independence. Our first child had to struggle for hers; she paved the way for the others. Our second and third had it easier, for all I had to hear was, "Mom, this is not your business," or "If I want your help, I know where you are," and I backed off. When our fourth came of age, we handed her independence gift wrapped and on a silver platter. We knew it was inevitable. We held our breath for a few years, but somehow we all survived—mother, father, and child.
Even Milton Carlson could not go on forever. No one saw Milt die so maybe, as son Bruce suggested, he was taken up by a chariot of fire. That is how he wanted to go.
Molly grew up in Hibbing, Minnesota while the rich iron mine there was on its way to becoming the biggest open pit mine in the world. She graduated from the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. Soon thereafter, she met and married Barton Nelson. In 1930, the two of them set sail for China on the President McKinley to become Covenant medical missionaries at the Bethesda Union Hospital in Siangyang.
Paul Sebestyén died not long after Rev. Wesley Nelson read Peter Sandstrom’s article to him from last issue of Pietisten.
Steven Spielberg once said: "Most movies are whispers. Marty’s movies are shouts." I have to agree. This summer I watched some Scorsese movies up north at our cabin and decided to write about three of them and how I think they measure up.
Oh, what disillusionment befalls us when we think we know all about what is expected of us! For example, as a minister, I would assume that if I was asked to fulfill my calling on any given Sunday, I would preach and do such other things a normal service requires.
Many years ago, we attended the summer school sponsored by St. Olaf College at the University of Oslo. We were two kids right out of college, married only a few days, going to school together with two hundred American students in a strange land, enjoying it but also a bit homesick at times.
Unsung Heroes. The greatest heroes of our time are people who are not consuming and despoiling the earth. These people are seldom described as heroes in the news. My heroes are folks who do not ride on noisy, polluting airplanes and people who walk or ride bicycles instead of driving around in cars. These persons are often labeled non-productive and I am grateful for the contribution each of them makes to the commonwealth.
Vaclav Havel and a Civil Society, April 26, 1999; A Visit to Nantucket, August 20-21, 1999
Carl Wistrom has been appointed Director of the Physical Plant at North Park University.