Spring/Summer 2018

Volume XXXIII, Number 1

In This Issue

Accidental Selfie by Kristen Glass Perez

When I was looking through my past six years of sermons at Augustana, I found something funny. In my second year here, I first preached about the “selfie.” It was in the fall of 2013 and that is because that year, selfie was declared “word of the year” and was first added to the dictionary. It might seem like we have had the notion of selfies forever, but really it’s only been since 2013 that it officially came into the vernacular and even later that our phones now come with selfie mode. So as we have lived now for five years with selfies, something that I have learned and reflected on a lot this year is that most of life is not what we put on Instagram; most of life is an accidental selfie.

Humble leadership and gentle persuasion by Mark Safstrom

Around election time (and when is it not?) our mailboxes get overstuffed with campaign ads. In the mail or on tv, the slogans are petty. Especially concerning to a college professor, the quotes are mere sound bites, without context. “Trust me, not the other candidate...” because he or she said this offhand comment ten years ago.

Welcoming Dreamers by Steve Bahls

From a sermon originally delivered in Ascension Chapel, Augustana College.

Holy Wings by Yenta

What is going on in Europe? by Kaleb Nyquist

It was pleasantly warm the night of the Brexit referendum, or at least it was in New Orleans. I was in The Big Easy as part of a gathering of millennial faith leaders converged around the issue of global climate change. On our final evening together, the ministry students, like myself, were organizing a group rideshare down into the festive French Quarter. I was trying to convince some new friends, all professional policy wonks, to come join us in the excursion, but it was like convincing a sports fan to skip out on a league championship. They legitimately wanted to watch the Brexit results come in.

Spatchcock chicken and roasted root vegetables by Bonnie Sparrman

It’s easy to get carried away designing an elaborate menu for a special celebration. Some of us pore over much-loved cookbooks or food blogs hunting for fresh ideas to please our guests. If you’re like me, you recall erstwhile Thanksgiving or Easter feasts and decide which dish warrants repeating. We imagine holiday gatherings, the table spread with a pressed cloth, flowers arranged, candles flickering warmth. I write a prep-list and draw a picture of the dinner plate, arranging the food two-dimensionally days before it is in my hands. I consult with trusted cooks: Alice Waters, Suzanne Goin, and of course, Julia.

A Pastor’s Wife: Her Son’s Tribute by David C. Bjorkquist

My mother was born on July 10, 1905 in the log house on the farm homesteaded by her father, Gust Augustson. She was named Anna Marie after her mother Sophie’s sister. Her father had come to Minnesota a few years earlier from a rented farm near Edinburg, North Dakota to establish a claim to farmland south of Warroad, which is located on Lake of the Woods bordering Canada. Both her mother’s and father’s families emigrated from Sweden to the Red River Valley in eastern North Dakota and had lived and married there. Her three brothers, Gottfrid, Reuel, and Ansgar, and sister Ellen were born in North Dakota before moving to the new farm.

Sightings in Christian Music by David Bjorlin

Recently on a Facebook group for Covenant worship leaders, someone asked, “Is ‘I Surrender All’ in the Covenant Hymnal? If it is, I can’t seem to find it.”

A Lifetime with the Hymnal by LeRoy W. Nelson

On a sunny spring morning, the rural mail carrier stopped by the mailbox on our farm in western Wisconsin and unloaded three or four bundles wrapped in brown paper and tied up in strong twine. The return label on the packages read, Covenant Book Concern, 1005 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago 13, Illinois.

My Own Hymnathon by Sandy Nelson

Inspired by the Saint Mark’s Episcopal hymnathon, I decided to embark on my own personal hymnathon. A few weeks later, I spent the weeks of Lent singing through the entire Covenant Hymnal, one verse of each of the 777 hymns. It was such a lovely time, playing the piano and singing a dozen or two or more hymns each day.

Gathered at the River by Bob Bach

Shortly after we had settled in, chattering voices could be heard coming down the trail from the road above. A group of young men and women appeared on the scene and, just like that, peeled off all their clothes and jumped into the water just a short distance from where we were gathered. I saw my mother glance over at them and then look back at me.

The Atonement and Optimism by Tom Tredway

Often religious experience, even Christian experience, is understood to be a transaction or negotiation between humans and the divine. P.P. Waldenström, the leading theological figure in nineteenth century Pietism in both Sweden and Swedish America, charged that heathen religion, and by implication much of Christianity, understood the gods—or God Himself—to be angry at human sin and failure; if a person were to hope to be restored to divine favor, some sacrifice, perhaps of a dead creature, would be necessary to appease the divinity, to overcome His wrath. The individual made the offering which satisfied the divine sense of justice, and the relationship between earth and heaven was set right.

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

Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved; Rethinking Incarceration

Out of Harmony? by Phil Johnson

“Gentle persuasion” has been the Covenant way at its best, but in making the position on human sexuality binding, the nature of the Covenant has shifted.

Life, prosperity, health by Penrod

The mystery of life and personality remains and always will. It is life. Life is always on the move and cannot be captured. Our bodies of needs and urges and ultimately death that make our existence possible, quite graciously make themselves subject to our minds; we are conscious, and we live in the independence of personal life and freedom. Amazing. Astonishing. Improbable! And, yet, there it is. Here it is.

News and Notes

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