Fall/Winter 2017

Volume XXXII, Number 2

In This Issue

Holding on in unknown waters by Denise Anderson

These past several months have felt like a barrage of horrible stories in the news: multiple hurricanes, devastating wildfires, the horrific Las Vegas tragedy, gross abuse by people in powerful positions, and white supremacists marching and spreading their hate. It is hard to absorb all of this terrible news, let alone make sense of all that is going on in the world today. Sometimes it feels like the small boat that we are navigating in has hit choppy water. As we sail on, instead of getting calmer, the waves are only getting bigger.

Always reforming, always planting by Mark Safstrom

With the 500th anniversary of the Reformation fresh in mind, two slogans from Lutheran history, both Latin, seem particularly relevant as a framework for this issue.

Everyone Needs a Rule: The Sermon on the Mount, Pietism, and The Rule of St. Benedict by Mike Fargo

For almost 35 years I have been a member of the same Covenant church—Trinity Covenant in Salem, Oregon. My three children were baptized there, my daughter was married there, the funerals for both of my wife’s parents were held there. In my files I have over a hundred sermons that I’ve preached there and dozens of adult classes that I’ve taught. Trinity has been my spiritual home through good times and bad. It has nurtured me, challenged me, frustrated me, and above all else been one of God’s primary tools for making me into who I am today.

Speculation or confession? by Doug Johnson

As a college Junior I became a sponge when it came to listening to preaching. Some Sundays I’d hit three churches! I wanted to soak up as much as possible not only to learn as much as I could about preaching, or to receive inspiration, but I wanted to witness the difference Christ makes in lives in and through the church. I wanted to be in step with the church’s confession in the world.

A Pietist's Bookshelf by John E. Phelan Jr.

Protestants: The Faith That Made the Modern World; Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet; Reading Paul with the Reformers: Reconciling Old and New Perspectives

Sightings in Christian Music by David Bjorlin

As a worship leader and a hymn writer, the past year has left me wondering how the church can respond to dangerous political rhetoric and action directly opposed to the central narrative of hospitality and welcome presented in Scripture. In light of a leader elected on the promise of border walls, Muslim bans, and opposition to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), it seems clear to me that a true Pietist movement rooted in the immigrant experience has a responsibility to speak and act on behalf of the stranger and foreigner in our midst. Further, I am convinced that part of the way we envision how to engage well in political discourse and social action is formed by the words we sing and pray in worship.

Skorpa for fika by Bonnie Sparrman

Now for a truly Scandinavian classic. Skorpa may seem elementary, but it is so delicious, it would be a shame to go without. This crispy, golden slice-of-a-cookie, is a delightful marriage of flavor and texture. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or cappuccino; similar to its Italian cousin, biscotti, except it is more tender and easier on the teeth, thanks to the addition of butter.

Does a backroad in Minnesota lead to God? by Tom Tredway

The photo accompanying the text of this essay came to me via e-mail last summer. The picture arrived from the Editor Emeritus of Pietisten himself! It was meant to remind me that if I attended the “Summer 2017” gathering of Old Pietists in Crow Wing County, Minnesota, there would be a bonus: I could bike along some of the great backroads the county boasts. The photo is of one such North Woods by-way.

Poetry Corner by Arthur Mampel

Poems: LXIV, Bewildered Kingdom, and A Quandary

Silliness and Stillness: A History of Covenant Point Bible Camp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula reviewed by Phil Carlson

Review of Silliness and Stillness: A History of Covenant Point Bible Camp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by Mark Safstrom.

The Pietist Option reviewed by Ryan Eikenbary-Barber

The Pietist Option by Christopher Gehrz and Mark Pattie III has much in common with Philipp Jakob Spener’s Pia Desideria. Both books are slim, readable, and packed with practical advice on church revitalization.

Living as people of the resurrection by Chris Gehrz

“You need an elevator speech.” So said a friend when I announced on Facebook the publication of our book on Pietism. What she meant is that we needed to come up with a pitch for The Pietist Option that would last about thirty seconds, the length of time we’d have to explain Pietism to someone sharing a typical elevator ride.

Health care system at the brink by John H. Anderson

Having spent approximately forty years in the health care industry in various roles, including that of CEO, and now in a retired status for the past fifteen years, I have an accumulation of experiences and observations from which to reflect on where we are, how did we get here, and what’s ahead.

An anecdotal report on my encounter with an ontological shock by Arvid Adell

When I was teaching a course in Existentialism at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, a few years ago, I received a card from one of my students quoting Paul Tillich which read “Just to be is to be holy.” As the instructor and also the dispenser of grades, one often wonders if there is an ulterior motive whenever a student sends a salubrious message to a professor. Regardless of the motive, I have never forgotten that quote and at propitious moments have found it useful for dealing with some of life’s less than joyful experiences.

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