Volume XIV, Number 1
In This Issue
I had never sung in Hungarian before. Actually, I had never spoken or done anything in Hungarian. Yet, here I was, one of twenty or so, who had gathered in what was then the lounge of the North Park College Campus Center. It was the sometimes haunt of a most amazing and unique man, Dr. Paul Sebestyén.
On a recent Friday afternoon, I stopped at the Pietisten office on my way home from work. Phil Johnson, editor-in-chief, poured two cups of coffee and we sat down to take stock of things. Phil said, “I have a favorite composer.” This was unexpected, but since I work in the concert business my antenna went on alert.
The feelings are like it just happened yesterday. But it happened almost two years ago. My grandfather died of a stroke.
The loss of a beloved friend, Curtiss Johnson, has become the occasion for a new infusion of youth. The editor had the good fortune to meet Karl Nelson, Curt’s grandson, at the funeral home and again at Salem for the Memorial Service.
The practice of conscientious objection, the refusal to fight in the military on moral and religious grounds, has existed since the time of the Christ. Throughout much of history, however, conscientious objectors (COs) have not been a part of the religious mainstream. Two key Vietnam War-era Supreme Court cases changed forever the nature of conscientious objection by expanding the definition of religion and moving conscientious objection into mainstream religious life.
The boating season lies ahead. For me, it is a season of grace and wonder as I’m privileged once again to return to the waters. And yet, as the call of grace comes to me again and again, I have to admit my own resistance to grace. My father surprised me with a phone call late last summer. Hemming and hawing, he finally said he would like to give me his boat.
My wife, Alice, and I had the special privilege of attending the commencement exercises at North Park University in May, and being present as Dr. Young Song (John) Kim received the degree of Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa from his Alma Mater.
In the memorial service, tucked into the end of the great liturgy of Yom Kippur, a prayer is offered. It is only one prayer among so many eloquent petitions prayed during the Days of Awe. I used to pass by it quickly, fearing that any lingering in its phrases might release unwanted events in the future. Now, for me, the prayer stands out above the many others.
I put my newly acquired stethoscope over the left side of the chest and—to my utter astonishment—I couldn’t hear a thing. I was quite certain the man I was examining had a beating heart, because I was able to carry on an extended conversation with him. So, while I attempted to appear cool and in control, I frantically moved my stethoscope all over his chest, front and back, in a desperate attempt to hear his heart sounds. Nothing.
There has been a decade of trouble in this part of the world. Efforts at reconstruction are happening simultaneously with destruction. The following is an interview done last Fall with long-time friend, Mike Groh, a consultant and community organizer, who has been working in this part of Europe.
They are everywhere. And it makes no difference whether you associate with them or try to avoid them. Like it or not, computers will share our destiny and the destiny of our children’s children. Are they our servants or our masters? Do they think, and, if so, is their thinking superior to that of humans? Where does this leave us?
Dean Erickson was a special person, a man of integrity, wisdom, patience, good judgment, kindness, and understanding. He had a first-rate mind and was committed to the Christian Faith. Albin was dedicated to helping the on-coming generations find an integrated heritage of faith and learning.
Curt made many friends, and he was committed to Christian faith and ministry. He was a lover. He loved his family, he loved history, he loved his country, he loved his church, and he loved sports. We salute him and his well-lived life.
Some of the many Pietisten Printing Crew members
Five great films were nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards. Each was good in its ownway. Despite the violent snowstorms Minnesota had late in January, I was able to get to the movie theaters and see all five of these movies.
My first thought was: Why don’t I rent a place in Vero Beach next year and come to all the games. I could see good major league baseball at one-third the price with no parking worries. Then I reflected on the time some 28 years ago when my son, Kirk, and I stole out onto the field to hit and field baseballs until a caretaker spotted us and invited us to leave.
We all sat in perfect silence for thirty minutes until a man with a strong voice began singing a song by Nils Frykman, “O sällhet stor,” literally, “O bliss so great.” No hymn number was announced but all joined in spontaneously singing all five verses by heart. It was truly a moment of ecstasy for me and one that has never worn off. I left the service that evening with a resolve to translate that song—if not for others, at least for myself.
The magnificent memorial service in Salem Covenant Church, New Brighton, the home church of Curtiss Johnson, reflected the wide range of his friendships and influence.
We have returned from our travels having had an amazing time. We’ve been traveling through India for seven weeks which allowed us to see most of the country, or at least a good part of it. Traveling in India is remarkable.