Fall/Winter 2021

Volume XXXVI, Number 2

In this issue

If you are quiet enough… by Lois Hermansen

A treasure hidden in a field by Mark Safstrom

Nearly a century and a half ago, in the June 1872 issue of Pietisten, Pastor Waldenström wrote a sermon ostensibly on the parable from Matthew’s gospel about a treasure hidden in a field. A man finds the treasure, covers it up, and sells all that he has in order to buy that field. In applying the parable, Waldenström embarked on a multi-faceted explanation of the nature of God’s kingdom. “This kingdom is called the Kingdom of God because it has its origin, not in human ingenuity, strategy, or power, but in the grace and power of God’s eternal purpose to save man’s fallen race.”

Skunks and rejection by Donna Ahlberg

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of rejection. Why was Jesus rejected in Nazareth? What does it mean to be rejected? Well, here’s a thought: One of the most rejected animals that lives around here and most places is the lowly skunk. Do you like skunks? No? Why not? Because they smell. Because they dig up your nice lawn looking for grubs. They uproot plants. Because they spray. They spray your dog. Yes, that’s such a nuisance. That odor lasts a long time. They are easily recognizable by their long fur and black and white markings, and I know we don’t like to see them around the campground. We take offense at them.

Persistence and Dacquoise Torte by Bonnie Sparrman

In the kitchen, persistence and patience are as indispensable to the cook as a good sharp knife. However, I humbly admit this is something I’ve been slow to discover, and even slower to live out.

Gifts from my father by Dan Johnson

During the pandemic I found myself with plenty of time to think and reflect. One object of my musing had been the resolution of the four boxes of my father’s diaries lingering in our garage. His diaries began in 1922 and ended in 2000. My father, Rev. Walter W. Johnson, son of Swedish immigrants, was born in Los Angeles in 1901, and died in 2002. He was a pastor and chaplain in the Evangelical Covenant Church for 72 years.

Epiphany by Ann Boaden

I have a church that loveth me by Greg Asimakoupoulos

This year marks fifty years of my connection with the Evangelical Covenant Church. I had never heard of the denomination until I took part in an ecumenical lay witness mission that was hosted at Newport Covenant Church in Bellevue, Washington in 1971. I was in my first year at Seattle Pacific University as a Biblical Literature major.

Spirituality, churched and unchurched by Tom Tredway

Are the ancient Nordic pagans returning? American Christians with a Scandinavian heritage are sometimes troubled by reports about the growing secularization of the northern lands themselves. Whether these Yankees are consoled or upset by the fact that their own society is trending in the same direction isn’t clear. But that this secularization is happening is undeniable. So American heirs of Swedish Pietism must think about the situation in two lands they care about, Sweden and America.

A clean heart and a bridled tongue by Steve Elde

I wouldn’t say I’m an expert on the slapstick comedy of The Three Stooges, but I did watch a lot of their movies as a kid. My friends and I would laugh and mimic their jokes and comic routines. I was even a member of The Three Stooges Fan Club. I got a letter from them that reminded me not to hit my friends with hammers. One of my favorite Stooges lines was from Curly. When someone asked him a hard question he would say, “Oh! Wise guy, eh?” A wise guy was a know-it-all who made everyone else’s business, his business. A wise guy was a smart aleck.

Ordination by Dennis Moon

What is ordination? A ticket to martyrdom in an unforgettable fury of light? One could get that idea, with Jesus’ dying on a cross, not by burning, but nonetheless, bound to the stake. Oliver seems to be blessing death for an idea, for the world, for some martyr’s flames have been unforgettable and they still inspire us today.

The practice of piety in song by Christian Bunners

As part of the filming for the documentary, God’s Glory, Neighbor’s Good, we interviewed scholar Christian Brunners at the Nikolai Church in Berlin, Germany, a historic church served by Philipp Jakob Spener, Paul Gerhardt, and Johann Crüger. Interview by Tim Frakes, translated by Dustin L. Smith. May 2015.

Post: Readers Respond

In no one else is salvation by Paul Peter Waldenström and translated by Mark Safstrom

In 1872, Waldenström published a sermon in Pietisten on the doctrine of the atonement, the “Sermon for the Twentieth Sunday After Trinity.” This sermon launched a debate among revival Christians in Sweden and Swedish immigrants in North America, and came to be consequential in the development of new church institutions, chiefly the Swedish Mission Covenant, in the coming decades. Throughout his career, Waldenström continued to preach on the atonement, revisiting his earlier texts to clarify his views. One example is the following excerpt from a devotional book in 1877 titled I ingen annan är frälsning (“In no one else is salvation”), in which Waldenström reworked and added to his original sermon.