Report to Subscribers

by Phil Johnson

Causes for Concern

A few days ago I was speaking to a friend about writing a Pietisten article on the Somali community in Minneapolis. During our conversation, he referred to Pietisten as a “Christian institution.” I have never thought of or used the word institution when referring to Pietisten. My friend’s choice of words surprised and amused me. We are not connected with any organization or denomination. We are not anti-institution but we have intentionally been un-institutional. Is it a cause for concern to be seen as an institution? At least my friend identified us as Christian which some have wondered about.

What makes an activity or organization an institution? I suppose some sort of reputation is necessary. The organization in question must have been around for a while, and there is probably an expectation that it will persist.

As I pondered my concern about Pietisten’s institution identity, it dawned on me that some readers and bone fide institutions like library subscribers have other concerns. For example, we have received inquiries about missing issues and questions like, “Is Pietisten still being published?” Given the time between issues, you may question the existence and reliability of this journal yourself.

It is our sincere desire to pick up the pace of publication. We say we print three issues a year but we haven’t kept up. Are we going to? We hope so. There are lots of good reasons to do so. Nevertheless, this journal is not going to last forever. Almost at the moment we first published Pietisten in 1986, we were no longer “young Turks.” If true in 1986, it is many degrees more true now.

If Pietisten is to continue, it must, in the not too distant future, be taken over by younger people. Who will they be? How will that happen?

Meanwhile, this is the 58th issue of this rebirth or episode of Pietisten. We have subscriptions into the mid 60th issue. We intend to produce the issues and to fulfill our subscriptions. We will strive to do so at a rate of three per year. For the record, your subscriptions are per issue, not per year. If you subscribe for three or six issues you have that many coming and will not (correctly) be billed for renewal until you have received the specified quantity—no matter how long that may take.

We continue to enjoy ourselves in this endeavor and we thank you, each one of you, for your faithfulness, participation, and patience.

Online Edition—www.pietisten.org

In this department we have the good fortune to be very well served by Karl Nelson who is both young and also exceptionally competent. He is currently creating a new publishing system and indexing all the issues that are Online.

Interesting contacts develop because pietisten.org. See for example, two of letters on page 19. Also the website allows us to publish longer articles and full-length versions of articles that were abridged for the printed version. Check Pietisten Online if you have the chance.

Numbers:

Current Mailing list: 909
Receipts 2003 $7,449
Expenditures 2003 $7,864
Cash in Bank, December 31, 2003 $448.91

Expecting Death

It is both wise and practical to expect death—Biblical, too. Death is coming for all of us. In nearly every issue of Pietisten there is a death to acknowledge and a tribute to pay, like the several tributes in this issue.

Memorial services and funerals I have attended joyfully celebrate the life of the deceased. In the celebration and in our tributes, the sorrow and sadness of death is swallowed up in victory as the Bible promises. I have not personally been connected with extremely tragic deaths like the death of a child, a death from a horrible accident, a suicide, or the death of a young person in war. Consequently I lack authority regarding those situations. Does death get swallowed up in victory in cases which seem senseless? If so, it is surely God’s work. Only God could do it.

I think we all have people no longer living who continue to bless us in our hearts and minds. People to whom tribute has been paid in Pietisten are among these for many readers, and for most of us there are many more.

Meanwhile, here we are, somehow blessed to be alive and present in this incredible mystery of life and consciousness, most of us with the possibility of a number of laughs, more times of friendship, and a few moments of understanding in the hours ahead. We are not dead yet. Thanks be to God.

Phil Johnson is Editor Emeritus of Pietisten.

See all articles by Phil Johnson