Volume XVI, Number 3
In This Issue
My Western (non-Muslim) friends and Pietisten have asked me to give them a Muslim perspective on the events of September 11 and subsequent developments. I have struggled with this task because I have feared to be the token Muslim and I have asked myself if I dared speak as a Muslim. How much do I know about religion? I am anything but an expert on religion, terrorism, or Afghanistan.
In 1952, Harpers published a book by J. Paul Williams: What Americans Believe and How They Worship. Tucked away in the relative obscurity of the final chapter of this book is one of the most provocative contributions to the discussion of religious freedom in this country. It is provocative because Prof. Williams advocates in effect the establishment of a state religion with coercive sanctions here in America. He proposes that "governmental agencies must teach the democratic ideal as religion."
The important point is to understand that all placement is intentional and that we must take this into consideration as readers. Matthew 26 is a remarkable example of how attention to this careful placement provides dramatic effect and meaning to the betrayal and arrest of Jesus. In order to highlight this editing technique, I find it helpful to read the narrative as if I were following a play.
I Corinthians 11:23-26 and Waldenström's Commentary translated by Tommy Carlson and by Paul Peter Waldenström
A friend, Mitch Zeman, was an assistant to Henri and I was counting on him to introduce me to Father Nouwen. There were no specific promises of a meeting but late on my first afternoon at Yale, Mitch took me to the great man's office and introduced us. Nouwen asked me why I was there.
To an athlete or a coach, there is absolutely nothing like the pre-game jitters. It's hard to pin down when they actually begin. Some coaches say that it's the night before the night before the game that's the worst time. The fluttering in the stomach known as butterflies becomes a common occurrence.
Private Lindahl, Citizen Soldier by Elder M. Lindahl opens a window for us into the realities of life in the military service, particularly seen through the perceptive eyes of an eighteen-year-old enlistee. Based on the 250 letters he had written home, the narrative is indebted to a devoted mother who systematically preserved them for posterity.
Thomas Cahill has determined to do a seven volume series on the "Hinges of History." The first book in this effort was the best selling How the Irish Saved Civilization, and the second dealt with The Gifts of the Jews. In 1999 he published his treatment of Jesus, Desire of the Everlasting Hills, and it is hard to imagine how any of the four remaining "Hinges" volumes will surpass it in grace, wit, insight, and, even, wisdom. For pietists it has, as they say, some good news and, alas, some bad, or at least sobering, news.
Reading "A Word from Professor Nyvall" by Arthur Anderson (Summer, 2001) brought some additional memories to mind. I had the privilege—and what a privilege it was—to have Professor Nyvall as a teacher for classes in Johannine Literature and Covenant History when I was a student in North Park Theological Seminary in 1931-32 and 1934-37.
Make a fist and look at its size. I’ve read that the size of one’s fist is about the size of one’s heart. As one grows from infancy to adulthood, the fist size is a good indicator of the size of the heart at each stage of one’s physical development. An infant’s heart and fist, for example, are about the same size.
Harry Opel, one of the greatest forces in serious (Covenant) music since the sublime A.L. Skoog himself, died at age 80 on January 2, 2002.
On Friday, December 8, 2001, family and friends gathered at Karmel Covenant Church in rural Princeton, Minnesota, to say farewell to Willard LeRoy Berggren who left this earthly home on December 2, 2001.
The Bethlehem Covenant Winter Seminar featured John Weborg from North Park Theological Seminary. John is a veteran professor at NPTS, one of the giants who, as the years pass and the culmination of a career comes into view, makes one ask, "How can there be a North Park Seminary without him?"
When we go to see a movie, what draws us to the types of pictures we want to see? What makes us go to movies? First and foremost there is the story itself.
Those who "measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves among themselves, are not wise" (II Corinthians 10:12).
Is God interested in real estate? From the perspective of the theology I hold, I believe He is. God is the creator, the center of whole universe. When He drew back to look at what was done, He said it was pretty good. I’m grubby enough to appreciate what that means. In a class I had with him, the late Dr. Joseph Sittler, burst out with the amazing statement: "Every chink of human existence is Christocentric." I believe that!
In pursuing a favorite pastime of reading through hymnals, I have often wondered why so few of our Swedish heritage hymns have made it into American hymnals. The two hymns that have made it are "Children of the Heavenly Father" and "How Great Thou Art."
We are so often exhorted to learn to know God’s will, and Jesus Himself taught us to pray to God, saying, "Your will be done," but what are we to understand by God’s will? What is the will of God? Paul in Romans 12 gives an interesting and comprehensive answer to this question when he in verse two puts the phrase, "the good, the acceptable, and the perfect," as an appositive.