Volume XXII, Number 1
In This Issue
The movie Amazing Grace is about William Wilberforce and his colleagues who fought to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire and about John Newton who wrote the song and to whom Wilberforce went for spiritual advice. In 1807, 200 years ago, parliament passed the bill outlawing the slave trade.
One month later, in July of 1938, the baby was adopted by Clarence and Holly. He was named Wesley, after John Wesley, and Clarence, after his new father. The doctors determined that he was born sometime during the first two weeks of June. Since Holly’s day of birth was on November 4th, it was decided that for the official record, Wes’s birth date would be June 4, 1938. A new life for Wesley Clarence Swanson had begun.
From a distance we join the many who gathered at Haddam Neck Covenant to honor and bless Ella Christianson who, as her daughter, Janet Johnson, points out, has been a Covenanter for a century. Three cheers and more for Ella!
On a pleasant day on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, the Reverend Arthur G. Mampel happily drove his recently acquired 1931 Model A Ford pickup along Koloa Road. The seller had taken $400 from the Pastor for the pickup plus another $400 for a Model A convertible. He liked to tell folks at a local watering hole how he saw the minister coming. If Mampel knew of this talk at his expense, he merely enjoyed the more the exhilaration of tooling along behind the wheel of his own Model A pickup.
Many Pietisten readers could add some names of their own to the cloud of witnesses in Hebrews. The list with Enoch or Sara or Moses on it might be expanded with the names of Karl Olsson or Barbara Hawkinson or Bruce Carlson. Pastors and Sunday School teachers; parents, siblings, roommates—all could be added to the Old Testament names in Hebrews. Most of those we would add would be people we have known personally. But some might be writers, of hymns or theologies, or perhaps church leaders, lay or clergy, whose words or acts have guided our own lives. Each of us could say with the newer RSV translation that we are “surrounded” by people of faith who have sustained and developed our own lives.
On the fourth Wednesday of Lent, the Prophet Ezekiel appeared at Bethlehem Covenant Church, Minneapolis to speak forth this famous prophetic poem. A dialog between Clyde Lund and Bruce Taylor set the stage, the prophet, the son of man, in ancient garb strode to the pulpit, prophesied the Word of the Lord and the bones rattled. When John of Bethany completed his rendition of the ancient prophecy, Phil Johnson continued as printed here. When the prophecies were completed, Paul Issacs and Bruce Taylor played a flute and piano rendition of “Dem Dry Bones”
For some years I have found satisfaction in visiting the graves of my ancestors. My wife Ginny suspects that I have a warped gene, but she has been with me on enough of these excursions to have made some peace with my peculiar interest.
This is drawn from the tribute Adele’s son, Tim, gave at Adele’s memorial service.
Arthur (his given name rarely passed my lips) picked up the nickname “Squeaky” at North Park Junior College in Chicago. “Squeaky Pete” is a little poem on its own. To understand the origin of the name, one only needed to hear Pete speak a few words.
As an avid gardener, this is a very busy time of the season. I never know when to stop planting. I fear I have a serious problem with discipline when it comes to gardening. I love it and get such pleasure watching God’s creation develop in my yard each year.
Some people seek God intensely like Thomas a Kempis, Thomas Merton, Ghandi—millions of people. I’m not one of them, at least not now.
While the Guthrie Theater still hasn’t justified the multi-million dollar pil-grimage from what was already a perfectly good theater, they nevertheless continue to produce lavish interpretations of Shakespeare plays that are certainly bearable to say the least. Their latest, The Merchant of Venice, is no exception.
On February 26, 2007, several hundred guests attended an extra-ordinary concert at Landmark Center in St. Paul. The concert with the inviting title “Listen to the Song of Life” celebrated the life of Bruce Carlson whose death occurred on July 28, 2006, after a three-year battle with disease.
Surprise! Sunday morning the phone rang. It was for me. A sweet, romantic voice cried out, “AHT!” (Art). It softened me. Was this some long-forgotten sweetheart? Nope! It was the voice of my lovely three-year-old great-granddaughter, “Mariah.”
Walter Brueggemann in his excellent book, Finally Comes The Poet speaks about the danger of muteness in our society. Brueggemann says, “Moses and Israel had learned that muteness leads to brick quotas” (p. 55).
Lake Florida Covenant Church is the oldest Covenant Church in Minnesota, founded in 1870. It is a lovely, old, white church with a cemetery adjacent. Though it no longer hosts a regular congregation, it is always open to visitors. The pump organ and piano are in good condition and hymnals are out for use.
Maybe people think prophecy is simply a matter of inspiration given to the prophet in a momentary flash and all he has to do is say it.