Fall/Winter 2019

Volume XXXIV, Number 2

In This Issue

Risky discipleship by Mary Spriggs

Yesterday was a stressful day. There were errands and housework to do and my daughter was not feeling well. I dashed into Starbucks to get her a fruit drink and a stranger held the door open for me. “Thank you very much,” I said. “You are worth it,” she replied. Wow. The power of one statement to turn a stressful day into one of joy and affirmation.

As God gives us to see by Mark Safstrom

Where we read from matters. Our past understandings inform our reading, as does our education, social class, gender, race, theological background, and a host of other factors. We don’t come to a text as a blank slate, whether it is a sacred, scientific, or literary text.

A Handful of Earth by Richard Priggie

The liberal arts in prison by Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom

I am on the faculty at a liberal arts university that has an embedded seminary and I’d like to tell you about what the liberal arts and theological education have to do with people in prison.

Sightings in Christian Music by David Bjorlin

In my last column I discussed how a particular passage in Karl Olsson’s history, By One Spirit, helped me understand what I believe is a key characteristic of Pietism. As I wrote then, at the heart of this movement is the introspective person — one who is aware of their own faults and moves through the world with this basic self-reflective posture. At its best this posture leads to humility and charity towards others; at its worst, it fosters scrupulosity and anxiety that can slip into despair. Continuing that theme, I will explore how this self-reflective posture is found in the early songs of the Mission Friends — especially in the poignant descriptions of anxiety, worry, and fear.

Prinsesstårte by Bonnie Sparrman

Discovering a new food anchors a slice of time in my memory like nothing else. Perhaps this is the case for you as well, but I doubt it is this way for everyone. Mnemonic peculiarities aside, it was December of my twelfth year when I first laid eyes on a princess torte.

Free grace, sinners! Free grace! by Tom Tredway

The college where I studied and later taught is in a Mississippi River town. The immigrants who founded it built a big stone Old Main with a dome that towers over the Mississippi Valley. Once, in my junior year, long decades ago, I took a class that had some dull spells.

Five things Christians should not say about the Holocaust by John E. Phelan Jr.

In August I made a trip with a group of Jews and Christians to Poland. We visited the great centers of the Jewish civilization that flourished there for many centuries. [...] Everywhere we went we were knee deep in absence. Of a prewar population of millions only a few thousand remain.

“Sorry” by Phil Johnson

Boeing Company is “sorry.” It’s proper for Boeing to apologize for the death of hundreds in its planes that malfunctioned and crashed. British Petroleum was sorry for what went wrong in the Gulf of Mexico.

Practical, Therapeutic, Theological Talk by Penrod

Guys don’t always appreciate their wives as they ought. Your wife might not be Eve but you’re not Adam either. None of us are of the stature of Adam when God presented Eve to him. I speak no ill of us fellows today; still it’s important for perspective.

The church we could have been…and can still be by Jodi Fondell

The outcomes from both the Covenant Annual Meetings in Minneapolis in 2018 and Omaha in 2019 resulted in lines being drawn in the sand around the subject of same-sex marriage. This left many of us feeling like we have no idea who the Evangelical Covenant Church is anymore, or how best minister to the LGBTQ community.

Echoes from the 2019 Covenant annual meeting

These remarks were shared during the debate at the meeting on Friday, June 28, 2019, included here with permission by the authors and reprinted from their own notes.

Advent Baptism by Ann Boaden

Advent Light by Ann Boaden

Mission Friends by Al Tizon

At the base of our strategic planning, goal setting, doctrine defending, policy making, project managing, and results assessing, must be the experiential truth of our friendship with each other in Christ. We are more than the business we have become.

Called to be lifers by Doug Johnson

Retired ministers rarely surrender their interest in the Church. Servants of Christ who have stepped away from active, professional ministry rarely shut the door on that to which they’ve given themselves for years. Church talk, church life, church growth, even church politics live on in a minister’s mind.

Christ’s birth story: a different perspective by Don Ecklund

The Bible is a living document that allows us to look for new truths as we live in a changing culture and world. Christianity has had a strong tradition of viewing sex as sinful, rather than as a God-given gift to be cherished. I think Christians can develop an appreciation for marriage beyond its sexual function.

Post: Readers Respond

“Cries” by Ann Boaden

Tribute to Star Birkeland Asimakoupoulos by Greg Asimakoupoulos

The Waiting Room by Greg Asimakoupoulos

Tribute to Blake A. Stromberg by Brad Halverson

Tribute for Blake Stromberg by Peter Olson