Pietisten

Fall/Winter 2015

Volume XXX, Number 2

In This Issue

In whom do you put your trust? by Steve Elde

While I was in seminary, students and faculty took retreats together at Covenant Harbor in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. We got out of the classroom, sat at table together, rested and played, reflected on the scriptures together, prayed and worshiped together, and got to know each other. One experience that brought us closer together was the ropes course.

Productive Nostalgia: Telling our story in new ways by Mark Safstrom

It was back in 1986 that a modern group of Mission Friends got the idea to resurrect this journal as a way of continuing to tell the story of Pietism, particularly how this tradition had informed the growth of the Evangelical Covenant Church. The desire to tell this story broadly and well inspired us to reconnect with friends in several related traditions, such as Augustana and other Lutheran groups, Baptists and Evangelical Free, among others. What a rich conversation this has been!

One body, many parts by Chris Gehrz

Along with thousands of people here at Bethel, two billion human beings now living around the world, billions more in the past, and all those yet to draw breath, you are the body of Christ. Just for a moment, think about that. Let your imagination linger over that phrase: “the body of Christ.”

Michael Makeleni and the Walmer Tigers of South Africa by Phil Johnson

There is a township in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with a basketball team named the Walmer Tigers. The team has been playing for nearly three years. The facilities are Spartan; the basketball court is concrete. It seems like an okay court—until you look at the baskets. When you do, you say, “What the heck?” The rims are half way up the backboard, about ten-and-a-half feet high and there are no nets. There is very little backboard area above the rim—making layups a challenge. In a word, the rims are forbidding.

A Bird on My Hand reviewed by Carol Elde

Review of A Bird on My Hand by Mary Bevis

Poetry Corner by Arthur Mampel

One afternoon my imagination was subpoenaed to focus only on poetry.

Helena’s Swedish Apple Cake with Vanilla Sauce by Bonnie Sparrman

It’s a humble apple cake that ties me to Helena, my college roommate in Sweden. Sometimes on weekends we visited her family where her mother set a beautiful table and served incredibly tasty food. Everything about Helena’s home drew me in and made me feel alive and alert.

Bringing the head into the heart: Transforming education at Halle by Kyle M. Mecher

As true today as it was in the late 17th Century—theological study can easily devolve into mere information or abstraction, forgetful of practice. Amidst a culture of nominal Christianity, the German Pietists longed for Christians to truly practice faith, but found that the structures of Lutheran universities reinforced the status quo. Philipp Jakob Spener (1635-1705) envisioned the possibility for universities to become like “workshops of the Holy Spirit,” distinct from the rest of culture, and ever mindful of practical application. The Institutes and University at Halle eventually answered this call. Under the direction of August Hermann Francke (1663-1727), Halle’s innovations in pedagogy nurtured dedicated clergy, missionaries and teachers.

The hollowed-out self by David Jessup

Those inclined to believe that our civilization is in the doldrums need only turn on the television to confirm their suspicions. The vapidity and vulgarity of what passes for entertainment is disheartening enough, but even relatively sophisticated products of popular culture can convey deeply pessimistic messages.

A Pietist’s Bookshelf by Jay Phelan

Between the World and Me

Mindful of the present by Chrissy Larson

When I took Copper to the self-serve dog wash the most recent time, I got him ready to be washed by lifting him into the tub and connecting him to a short lead so he can’t jump out and run to freedom.

Practical, therapeutic, theological thought by Penrod

Someone recently said: “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” Not bad. I’ve heard that said before. Easy to see the truth in it. I can hold out for something “perfect” and end up getting nothing.

Some thoughts on God as the author of truth by G. Timothy Johnson

Because I finished seminary before entering medical school in my late twenties, I am often asked why I made that career change at that time. I never had a well-articulated answer to that question until just recently, at age 78. And, strangely, for this protestant minister the inspiration for understanding the answer came from an amazing interview on a recent “60 Minutes” episode with Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.

Report from Minnesota by Thomas Tredway

A rump gathering that involved several Pietisten board members was held on Shirt Lake, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, this summer. In fact, it fell on August 8, 2015, the very day of the Pietisten Picnic and Annual Meeting on Vashon Island, Puget Sound, Washington. The rump gathering was part of the 2015 Summer “Conference on Despair,” whose solemn sessions raged on in Minnesota through the week of August 4 through 10.

Who you calling sport? by Eric Nelson

A British court recently took up the question of whether the card game bridge should be considered a sport. The outcome of the case determined financing and tax breaks for the English Bridge Union if they can convince the powdered wigs that bridge should have a seat next to track and field or English football.

Post: Readers Respond

David R. Swanson gathered by Phil Johnson

Whether you called him Swanny, Shorty, David, Dave, Dick, George for his unlikeness size-wise to the great George Mikan of the Minneapolis World Champion Lakers, or, as in one case I know of, Boo Boo, it doesn’t matter. We knew who this person was and he was our friend.

Bryan Jeffery Leech gathered by Royce Eckhardt

Bryan Jeffery Leech was a remarkably gifted and unique man. The amalgamation of a prolific hymn writer, facile lyricist, composer, gifted preacher, witty humorist, beloved pastor and caring friend—all rolled into one rather diminutive fellow with a delightful British accent—that was Bryan! He arrived from his native England when he was 25, and years later in celebrating his 50th birthday, he declared, “Now I’m half and hahf!”