Post: Readers Respond

Dear Pietisten Staff: The beautiful flowers spoke their silent message at Curtiss’ Memorial—and we thank you.

Curtiss looked forward eagerly to each Pietisten and was proud to be a contributor. He was especially pleased to see "Finding Sam" in print, and also he was happy to be the "Roving Sports Reporter." Thanks for your good work.

"In the Springtime fair, but mortal—all too brief our earthly day." — Lina Sandell — Lorraine Johnson and Family.

Dear Editors: I have developed, over the years, a love-hate relationship with your magazine. Where else am I going to find articles about Paul Sebestyén and many of the other people and ideas that have been most important to me down through my years of education at North Park College and Seminary? On the other hand, I can never quite escape the nagging conviction that Pietisten is (sorry, guys [and gals]) elitist both in content and in spirit. Your lively band of contributors can’t be anything other than the educated, sophisticated people they are, of course—and mostly I'm glad for what they are—but your cryptic humor, your incessant references to luxury water-craft, and your inside information on what Aaron Copland had for dinner hardly qualify you to be the modern-day custodians of the pietist heritage. My suspicion is many modern-day Covenanters who like praise songs and worship teams, and who know nothing of Spener, Waldenström and Rosenius may be closer to the spirit of our pietist forbears than the erudite crew who make up your staff and your readership.

Having gotten all that off my chest, however, I still can't quite keep myself from saying, "Keep up the good work!" (But please go easy on the Chris Craft stuff. For some of us, it really is obnoxious!) Philip E. Hakanson, Senior Pastor First Covenant Church Omaha, Nebraska

[Ouch! Thanks for the letter—both the critique and the words of encouragement. We are not competing to be the custodians of pietism. Sorry the Chris Crafts offend you. The boat ads are a major source of income and tend to make people smile. — Ed.]

It’s disappointing to have only three issues but keep them coming. Sure hope it doesn’t become a "twoly." Ed Newton, Boring, Oregon.

Thanks for the last issue of Pietisten. It was great. It arrived as we returned from New Zealand, a trip the church helped us take as a retirement gift. After experiencing a fall season, driving on the left side of the road, with controls on the right side of the auto, having an eight day week due to the international date line—Pietisten was there to help me get back to normal. Keep up the good work. Allan Johnson, Portland, Oregon.

Hi Phil and Bruce and Tommy and all you other great, great people.

I’m just checking you out on the WEB, and now this greeting to say thanks for a wonderful Winter edition which I read from the comfort of a sunny warm Deck. The issue was truly an inspiration. I, of course, knew about David Kersten’s new Chris Craft from a recent sermon, but was fun to read about it too. And Wonderful Glen Wiberg’s column, and Art Anderson and David Hawkinson and the Tributes to Albin Erickson and Curtiss Johnson, and the good comments of the Readers, and on and on. Thanks much. A big day at First Covenant, Saint Paul tomorrow as we celebrate our 125th anniversary with worship followed by an anniversary dinner at the Landmark Center. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!! Just had to take this moment to recognize your good work. Hope to see you at Bay Lake this summer. Know I’ll see Bruce there. Roger G. Carlson, Saint Paul, Minnesota.

I enjoyed my introductory copy of Pietisten (Winter, 1999). Fine writing! Note that it was the gospel according to Paul (Sebestyén) who referred to Him as a "common human babe," not the Gospel according to Saint Paul. Francis Stoecker, Silver City, New Mexico.

"But who knoweth the date and time"

Some more ramblings from Oxford. Inside the gate on the front of this card is where I honed up on some writing skills and took communion and was blessed by the Canon. Oxford is not only an environment of thinking, reading, and writing, it is also a place of drinking. There are more pubs here than there are mosquitoes on the shores of Rainy Lake. Yesterday I hung out for a time at The Eagle and the Child, a short walk from Christ Church where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien met weekly to share their writings and ale—not necessarily in that order, I was told.

Oxford consists of 39 colleges, all independent of one another, and all steeped in their own history and tradition. There are 67 massive pipe organs throughout the University and town. I have talked my way into some lessons when I return here later this year. Can you imagine a honky tonk piano player taking some pipe organ lessons at Oxford—enough to make one chuckle as did the organist at Christ Church Cathedral when I discussed it with him.

Students here upon acceptance go through a matriculation ceremony similar to our graduation ceremonies where they have bestowed them the honor of being a student at Oxford. It also creates a sense of oneness even though they are scattered throughout 39 colleges. Bob Bach, Angels Camp, California.

Tack för år av alltid lika stimulerande läsning—I appreciate the informality, the openness, and the personal touch of Pietisten. It makes me laugh and think…. Olle Engström, Lidingö, Sweden.

I have given thought as what could be submitted [to Pietisten per the editor’s request]. I had been working on the theological tradition of the Augustana Lutheran Church. Part of an article I wrote had to do with Olaf Olsson, who was a close friend of some of the founders of the Evangelical Mission Covenant. I was interested in the fact that he had written sharply criticizing those who did not believe it was necessary for churches to subscribe to confessions, but later when the Covenant was formed, he advised those writing its constitution not to include reference to confessions.

What I began was never finished since other projects came in the way. Just now, my wife, Marilyn, and I are preparing to leave for Nigeria, where as an ELCA overseas volunteer, I will be teaching at Theological College of Northern Nigeria. TCNN is an ecumenical seminary and it offers, in addition to the B.D. (M.Div.) program, a master’s program, in which I will be teaching. They want courses on Kierkegaard’s philosophy of religion and Luther’s theology the first semester and courses on Johannine theology and the doctrine of the Trinity the second semester. I shall be kept very busy!

When we return next summer, I shall give some further thought to what I could write for Pietisten. Keep up the good work! Bernhard Erling, St. Peter, Minnesota.

Thank you for your letter of August 6 and the enclosed current issue of Pietisten. It is a most interesting publication both in the viewpoints of the contributors and in the range of the contributions.

I look forward to reading and reflection on future issues. Earland I. Carlson, Allison Park, Pennsylvania.

The Winter, 1999 issue was A+. The variation in content of articles is most interesting. Your 1998 interview with Mike Groh has helped me understand Serbia-Kosovo. Thanks, Gerry Fross, Chicago, Illinois.

Enclosed is a small contribution in celebration of a luncheon gathering at our home on July 22, 1999. As I looked around at folks eating and visiting in spirited conversation, I thought: "These are Pietisten people!"

Present were Bob & Vi Erickson, Phyllis Erickson, Jim & Alyce Hawkinson, Tim & Cindy Hawkinson,Marilyn Hjelm, Eldon Johnson, Vernoy & Lois Johnson, Ginny Larson, Kent & Bonnie Palmquist, Bernice Stohlberg, and ourselves. Unable to attend were Bob & Mary Anderson, Doug & Gale Cederberg, Doug & Carolyn Cedarleaf, Myrtle Erickson, Don Frisk, and Elder & Muriel Lindahl. All of these Mission Friends either live up here in the North Woods or summer in these parts. What a great time we had!

We remembered in prayer those who do not walk this path with us any longer: Bob Hjelm, Zenos Hawkinson, Dusty Larson, Irving Erickson, Harlan Erickson, and Paul Stohlberg. Arnie and Marilyn Bolin, Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin.