Fall/Winter 2016

Volume XXXI, Number 2

In This Issue

Poetry Corner by Arthur Mampel

Backlash of Goodness / An Editorial Evening

On fear by Stephanie Johnson Blomgren

I am trying to decide how far back to go. To remember the imagined foes of my closet? In residence, intent on my undoing. Child, under the covers, turning this way and that, dodging a quiverful of shots. Every minute, saving my own life. Every breath, a choice on whether to cry out.

Why we read together by Mark Safstrom

During the past half year, many Covenant congregations across the country, including my own, embarked on a journey of reading the entire New Testament together.

Holiness is justice by Dennis Moon

This past June, following the shooting at an Orlando nightclub, I put a sign out in front of our church that said, “A Blessed Ramadan to our Muslim friends.” It was an effort to show support for our siblings in the Abrahamic tradition because some national notables were calling for Muslims to be kept from entering the country. The response to the sign was surprisingly positive.

The Covenant Hymnal, a worshipbook by Glen Wiberg and Jane Wiberg

Last summer, Pastor Mark Pattie of Salem Covenant Church of New Brighton, Minnesota, preached a remarkable sermon using the hymnal as a “worship book” – just as it was meant to be used. We on the hymnal committee had named it precisely that: “The Covenant Hymnal; Worshipbook” and hoped it would be used not only as a musical voice but as a praying voice. As a member of the hymnal committee, Mark’s sermon gave me great hope.

Mazariner by Bonnie Sparrman

I shared this with Eric on our return flight, asking “Why do you think I should write about mazariner?” Grinning, he quickly answered, “Because they are good!”

Sucking up by Phil Johnson

Speaking of sucking up, surely someone before me has described the main current of economic flow as sucking up — in contrast to “trickling down,” which in reality is but a drip.

Enjoy it while you can by Eric Nelson

A note about the Sports Prophecy: I was too busy watching baseball last fall to write a column, so instead we are reprinting a Sports Prophecy from a 1908 issue of Pietisten. It was written shortly after the Chicago Cubs won the 1908 World Series, and still feels relevant for today’s fan.

Shepherding science and theology by John E. Phelan Jr.

I also came away convinced that some of the biggest questions we face today as Christians are scientific ones — and not the ones we immediately think of. The creation question is significant, but for me far down the list from questions now being raised by neuroscience and biology. Christians who fail to engage these questions fail not only to engage our world, they fail to fully engage God.

Having faith, and keeping faith by Tom Tredway

My guess is that now and then even Pietists find their minds wandering during church services. Mine has anyway. A while back, during a particularly “doctrinal” sermon on the Trinity, I found myself wondering what the churchgoers in the pews were thinking.

Unlocking untapped potential by Owen Youngman

In 1928, Carl Sandburg – under the heading “Tentative (First Model) Definitions of Poetry” in his collection “Good Morning, America” – included this as No. 36 of 38 definitions: “Poetry is the achievement of the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.”

Plausible musings on muted memories by Craig E. Anderson

I have only faint recollections of my Grandpa Anderson, as he died in 1943 when I was only four. I can’t say I really knew him, though he would not have said the same of me. He was around when I was born and present at the Bethesda Covenant Church the day I was baptized. He no doubt cradled me in his arms and welcomed me in his own way as his third grandchild. He was a first-hand observer of my earliest years but I have only dim remembrances of being in his presence.

An interview with Dr. G. Timothy Johnson, ABC News medical editor by Arvid Adell

Invitation to a stranger by Chris Gehrz

My first conversation with G.W. Carlson took place two weeks shy of 14 years ago. I was in town for my brother’s wedding, and a cousin of mine insisted that I meet her favorite Bethel professor, so there I was.

A celebration for Pietisten’s three decades

About 45 souls (in bodies) met in Fellowship Hall at Covenant Village in Golden Valley, Minnesota, to celebrate the 30th birthday of our journal the evening of Dec. 14, 2016.

Descartes error? by Penrod

The admirable Rene Descartes realized that the human mind, his and ours, everybody included, is filled with misinformation, false claims, errors, and a lot of BS.

Post: Readers Respond

News and Notes

Ted Larsen signed by Phil Johnson

I wheeled him into the hallway where we found a nice spot. He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out folded papers. It was a neatly typed copy of “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe. Ted launched into a reading of “The Raven” like I have never heard. I can’t imagine it could be performed better. It took my breath away. Ted, our fine gentleman friend, began to wear down after a while not quite finishing the poem. No matter. I was dazzled.

Harriet Safstrom

Three days shy of her ninety-seventh birthday, Harriet left this earthly life surrounded by her family, as they shared fond memories, laughter and tears.