Volume XXVIII, Number 2
In This Issue
I have to be honest. I’ve never liked the story of Mary and Martha. It’s one of those biblical texts that strikes a nerve deep inside me and makes me feel judged; makes me feel like a bad Christian. Every time I hear Jesus’s words to Martha it’s as if he’s speaking directly to me. Shaking his head disapprovingly and saying, “Christa, Christa, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken from her.”
It was the summer of ’39 – that is, 1839 – and the young Carl Olof Rosenius was tormented by two lingering doubts: “Does God exist?” and if so, “is the Bible really God’s word?” Rosenius had had no shortage of spiritual mentors in his youth, including the charismatic laywoman preacher Maja Lisa Söderlund, who had previously helped him regain confidence in his faith. In this more recent episode of doubt, one might have expected him to be content with the many great friends and mentors that he already had.
It was near the end of my sixth year at Bethel University when I finally met Virgil Olson, the dean of Baptist General Conference historians. I was helping to coordinate our research conference on “The Pietist Impulse in Christianity,” and Virgil had been convinced to make the drive down from Cambridge, Minnesota for the Saturday morning sessions. He served as one of eight panelists in a roundtable discussion of Pietism in the histories of the BGC, the Evangelical Free Church, the Augustana Lutheran Church, and the Evangelical Covenant Church.
Every fall in the 1950s a number—maybe nine or ten or twelve—of North Parkers made their way down Illinois 92 or US 6 from Chicago (there were then no Interstates) to another Swedish-American outpost in Illinois, Rock Island. The late adolescents were headed for Augustana College, there to spend two years completing their BA degrees. NPC was at that time a junior college, and a few North Parkers weren’t from Minnesota and couldn’t get the in-state tuition at the “U” in Minneapolis. So for us the Lutheran college on the Mississippi, like North Park, started by Swedish immigrants, was a good place to finish college.
“Stubborn Love, mom! Play Stubborn Love!” came Milla’s seven-year-old plea from the back seat. “It’s my favorite one!”
During Salem Covenant Church’s 125th Anniversary, it was deemed appropriate to highlight Salem’s musical life by bringing forth the lovely reed organ from the archives into the sanctuary to stand side by side with the Holtkamp organ, which was undergoing maintenance. Our organist, Cindy Reents made the comment that both instruments have played an important role in the worship life of this congregation.
The Pietist revivals of the 19th century sought to better connect people with the church. They were Christians devoted to translating their experience with God from their heads to their hearts. Conventicle groups studied the word and spent time singing songs that reflected their new-found spiritual awakening.
The call came in at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. My best friend, Warren Stratton, was calling from his bed in the Intensive Care Unit of the local hospital. That Wednesday morning I had visited him when he greeted me with a request. He handed me a copy of Christianity Today, asking me to read the cover story for later discussion, a habit we both imposed on each other on a weekly basis. The cover blared “Young forever: The Juvenilization of the American Church.”
Jesus does not always speak to his followers directly or doctrinally. Instead, the Bible introduces us to the themes of God’s Kingdom in parables, analogies and metaphors. Its lexicon includes banquets, vineyards, shepherds, pearls of great price, and widows searching for lost coins. All of these resonated with the first century Jews.
Some prose is so full of meaning and emotion, its words and matter—so incarnated in its writing, penned with such artistry and heart—that to merely call it prose is to present it to the reader as less than it is. At the very least it is prose-poetry.
Many of you have been there: a mostly empty stadium, Double A-talent entertaining you for major league prices, a lazy conversation with your ballpark buddy that’s rarely interrupted by a reason to cheer. And you’ve probably — even if you aren’t a Cubs fan — wondered on that dog day in September: “Why am I here?”
Livsrön: The Autobiography of Pastor N.J. Lindqvist
Carl Blomgren was born on January 30, 1936 in Seattle. He graduated from Garfield High School and several colleges and universities, including a year overseas at the University of Edinburg. In school, he played baseball and football, and took every math, philosophy and literature class available.
Rev. Arthur W. Anderson died at the John Knox Care Village in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, where he had resided for the past three months. Art’s is a very ecumenical spirit so it was okay that he was living in a Presbyterian residence when he died.
Dorothy (Dottie) Lundbom was born May 7, 1913 at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago, the first of three girls to Hulda and Otto Ohlson. Dottie died on July 27, 2013 at Axelson Manor, Covenant Village of Northbrook, Illinois – a little over 2 months after celebrating her 100th birthday.