Post: Readers Respond

Things are going well here at Princeton. My residency is almost finished, and I will take my comprehensive exams next January. Please keep sending me Pietisten. Reading it is a distinct pleasure. I particularly enjoyed Tim Sporrong’s “Dead Preachers Society” (Fall, 1990)! Keep it up! David Freedholm, Princeton, New Jersey.

I feel highly honored to have been paid tribute by Pietisten Friends! Willard Berggren, Princeton, Minnesota.

Enclosed is my check for the renewal of my subscription to Pietisten. Sitting down and reading the Spring issue non-stop evokes some reflections about how important this publication has become to me.

Living under the broad canopy of what our forebears envisioned church to be, “I am a companion of all who fear thee,” I am prompted to the confession: “Yes, but there are some companions I prefer to be with more than the other companions to correct my understandings, challenge my biases, enlarge my vision.” But in a time in Covenant history when there are so many who “know not Joseph” and seem to care not to know him, I can’t tell you how glad I am for this meeting place of old friends and companions that Pietisten provides!

When Pietisten began, I thought, upon subscribing: “How quaint but naive! A nice nostalgia trip but nothing you can take seriously!” It seemed to belong in the category of Waldenström and Lina Sandell T-shirts at the Centennial or the tongue-in-cheek “bring back the brown hymnal” movement. How wrong I was! Since then each issue has been like returning to the well. No flashy four-colors covers. No evangelism formulas. No pleadings for bigness. No appeals for money. Just the fresh air of freedom, of biblical substance, of good humor and respect by companions from the past and present who are good to be with.

In the Spring issue, what a fantastic trip Elder Lindahl took me on with pietists like Gust F. Johnson, Eric Hawkinson, and Nils Lund. Companions of my journey. Then to read Waldenström’s exposition of the Gospel for the 4th Sunday in Lent on John 3 followed by a moving sermon by Peter Sandstrom on the appointed lessons for that Sunday. When I got to Eric Hawkinson’s sermon on Jesus the Burden-Bearer, I was ready for a trip to the altar, to sell all I have, to tell everyone I know, to bear or suffer anything for the sake of the crucified Burden-Bearer!

All I can say is God bless Pietisten by whose strange stirrings God may be pleased to call forth once again “ecclesiola in ecclesia.” May it be so! Glen Wiberg, New Brighton, Minnesota.

Thanks for the first year of Pietisten—I’ve thoroughly enjoyed its unique contributions to my regular reading schedule. I especially appreciate the insight it gives regarding our roots as Covenanters. A big thank you to those mysterious “special friends” whose generosity introduced me the first year to Pietisten. Please find enclosed a check to renew this subscription. Thanks! Charles Wahlstrom, Wakefield, Nebraska.

We [the UN] are picking up the pieces of our association with the “allies” during the Gulf crisis. The UN is terribly compromised in this affair in that we are perceived as being on the side of the “new crusaders” by the Arab man in the street. A Syrian friend and former colleague (Christian) was here last week from Damascus. He maintains that the ordinary Joe-Blow saw it as strictly a Moslem/Christian struggle. Whatever the vision, from Algeria to Pakistan, the UN offices have been receiving death threats which routinely link us to American imperialism.

The staff here is particularly angry and disturbed because it is the first time in our history that the UN has been the instrument for recourse to war and not to peace. And irony of ironies, the sanctions were working superbly. Iraq is now on its knees. The UN mission that went out three weeks ago to do a needs assessment study has produced a report that terrifies in its description of death and destruction, particularly in Baghdad. Energy is nonexistent; and in a country where the temperatures next month will begin to average 90 to 95 degrees F, dehydration is just one of the problems, raised m the UN report, that will have to be addressed.

As I think that I wrote before, Saddam Hussein is a particularly sinister s.o.b., and his taking of Kuwait had to be broken. But this sudden massive buildup in favor of the noble Kuwaitis and the principle of sovereignty, when the Europeans, be it remembered, were very much in favor of the embargo, has the very strong odor of sulphur about it There is a strong current among colleagues that Bush’s sudden interest in principle was motivated by the discovery that were the US to control Kuwait and Saudi oil sources—indirectly of course—it would equally control the economies of Japan and Germany which are completely dependent on these sources. Me, I don’t know.

What is clear to me is the massive destruction of life. 100,000 Iraqi soldiers dead, are US statistics. We do not speak of the wounded, the living. And now we have the Kurds. The US under Kissinger armed them as a lever for the Shah against Iraq, but when the Treaty of Friendship between Iran and Iraq was signed, Iraq turned on the Kurds and settled scores. In the Kurdish appeal to the US for spare parts, Kissinger turned a deaf ear. Slaughter was everywhere.

This time around, the New York Times would have us believe that the Kurds misunderstood a series of broadcasts, in Kurdish, over a CIA financed radio station, in which they were allegedly told to rise up against Hussein and that America would support them. All of this is, of course, denied on our side; and the world sheds a few tears over the deaths of infants in obscure mountain refugee camps.

You can see that I’m tired or rather, drained, by all this, this together with the yellow ribbons and stars and stripes everywhere. Significantly, Blacks did not support the war to any significant degree, if I am to believe the N.Y. Times polls. A storm warning. Robert Thompson, New York and Geneva.