Fall/Winter 2010

Volume XXV, Number 2

In This Issue

Reflections on Haiti: The search for strength and courage by Dick Nystrom

I had gone to Haiti as a member of one of the many medical teams that began to arrive soon after the January 2010 earthquake, which claimed 230,000 lives. In the days to follow I watched as Haitians young and old waited under the hot sun for their turn to see the doctor, some with injuries that had not yet healed and others simply looking weary to the bone. And yet there was a quiet dignity about the people, even as they waited in the mud while dogs and goats rummaged through the medical waste that piled up outside the clinic door.

Images of Haiti by Jeff HansPetersen

If we are the leaven, where is the lump? by Mark Safstrom

Some of the early Pietists, as well as several other religious reform groups, drew on baking terminology to explain their perceived role within established churches. They came up with an oft-quoted analogy, in which they equated their zeal and piety with a “leaven” (a piece of fermenting dough) that would prompt Christians throughout the greater church, or the “lump” (the dough that has no catalyst), to rise.

Hymn Festival ‘A Glorious Finale’ by Eloise Nelson

A Hymn Festival brought a magnificent conclusion to the Covenant and Augustana Lutheran anniversary symposium at North Park University Nov. 5-6.

Sightings in Christian Music by Glen V. Wiberg

The destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11, like the bombing of Pearl Harbor or the assassination of John Kennedy, is another of those national tragedies that are stamped indelibly on our minds as a memory we will never forget. Recalling that day, the shock of it summoned a host of Americans to seek out a church or synagogue or mosque to lament as a community the tragedy on the day of the event, as well in the days following.

Life Together by Joel Braun

My wife Hilary and I live in a house with a bunch of young adults who are at various points in their walks with God. All of us are figuring out patterns and practices of faith that we can do separately and together to deepen and strengthen our life with Christ. My wife and I are “house pastors” and it is the greatest and hardest thing we have ever done.

Mission Meeting Report

Pietists from near and far gathered on Vashon Island, Wash., on Aug. 14 for Pietisten’s first annual Mission Meeting.

Churches in Transformation by Anders Andersson

Three churches in Sweden – the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden, the Baptist Union of Sweden and the United Methodist Church of Sweden – are in the midst of negotiations in order to become one church.

SVF-NPU Exchange 35th Anniversary

The exchange program between North Park University, Chicago and Södra Vätterbygdens Folkhögskola (SVF), Sweden is celebrating another anniversary! In addition to a reunion program on campus here at SVF in Jönköping, Sweden, there will also be a trip to Greece led by Hans Nilsson. All former students, teachers and interested friends are welcome.

A Pietist’s Bookshelf: Responding to the "New Atheists" by John E. Phelan, Jr.

In the years following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, a number of books attacking religion in general and Christianity in particular became extremely popular. These works, in John Lennonesque fashion, encouraged us to imagine a world without the quarrelsome religions and their attending violence and bloodshed. Writers like Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins poured scorn on people of faith and their absurd beliefs.

From the Choir Loft: Keeping the horse in front of the cart by Joel Ulrich

So, as keepers, teachers, singers and leaders, our work is and always has been the work of helping our singers find “the song.” This is a never-ending, always-in-progress work and a conversation. Throughout the history of the world, the “song” was always part and parcel of the world that people lived in.

Power Plays by Penrod

Let’s say you have been influenced by Jesus and by the Dalai Lama and by others of similar spirit, have discovered for yourself how satisfying it is to seek the happiness of your neighbor and you run into challenges in trying to be of help to someone. What you need is a power play. Not everything that is called a power play is one.

The End of the Science v. Religion Debate by Arvid Adell

In l632, Galileo was placed under house arrest by the Pope. His crime? Corroborating and promulgating Copernicus’s scientific theory that our world is part of a sun-centered universe. His defense? The Church, he noted critically, provided both knowledge of how to move into heaven and how the heavens moved. Perhaps it should stick to the former and forget the latter.

Star of Bethlehem by Viktor Rydberg and translated by Mark Safstrom

Waldenström’s Commentary on the Psalms of David by Paul Peter Waldenström and translated by Mark Safstrom

BOOK REVIEW: Lillian Budd by Elder M. Lindahl

Lillian Budd (1897–1989), born in Chicago to immigrants Charles and Selma Peterson, a WWI Navy veteran and Western Electric Company employee, wrote a delightful trilogy about Swedish-American immigration.

A Day in Washington, D.C. by Elder M. Lindahl

The Twin Cities Honor Flight is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for their sacrifices and service. Their mission is to provide the opportunity for elderly veterans to visit the World War II Memorial and other war memorials in Washington, D. C. Each day, according to statistics, some 1,100 of the old WW II vets leave this earth. There are Honor Flight programs in about 38 states.

Skoog Grave Marker by Mark Erickson

Covenant-Augustana Hymn Festival by Glen V. Wiberg

On Nov. 6, 2010, a hymn festival took place in Anderson Chapel on the campus of North Park University in Chicago on the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Augustana Synod and the 125th Anniversary of the Evangelical Covenant Church. It was a hymn sing that can best be described as a “historic phenomenon.”

Readers Respond

Sports Prophecy by Eric by Eric Nelson

P.P. Waldenstrom respected tradition, whether in the hymnal or on the gridiron. At least I suspect the second would be true.

Tribute to Don Frisk by Sarah Eix

While a number of Pietisten readers may have known Don Frisk as a pastor, teacher, and theologian, I knew him as Grandpa: the one who helped me make stuff in his wood shop, treated me to root beer at “Berghoffs,” and spent a spring break with me at Hagerman Lake, Mich. He delighted me with stories about his dad’s trips between Minneapolis and Seattle as a conductor for the Great Northern Railroad, about oversleeping for the “Julotta” Christmas morning service when he was pastor of his first church, and about falling in love with the organist there, my grandma Evie.

Gordon Nelson by Phil Johnson

Dr. Gordon Nelson, an elected member of the Board of Estimate and Taxation for the city of Minneapolis for 32 years, joined the staff of Martin Sabo, Minnesota Fifth District Representative, in 1978 and served for 28 years. Gordy knew virtually everything, especially about politics and theology. Congressman Sabo said: “He was a quiet person with an incredible knowledge of the history of Minneapolis. He had a deep interest in city government and wanting to make it work.”

Youth Movement