Post: Readers Respond

Such a deal! How can I forego succumbing to such marketing strategy as the terrific offer of three subscriptions for $27 .00 [second gift subscription $7.00]. Three subscriptions to such a spicy, meaty, mighty journal as Pietisten! That our sons shall share in the richness of the spirit of a Pietistic revival in such a manner and for such a price is a gift beyond measure. Thank you! Blessings. Mel Soneson, Chicago, Illinois and Lake Hubert, Minnesota.

Hope all is well with you and the staff at Pietisten. You are performing a needed and necessary function as you tackle some of the issues that the church must face. Thank God that the Covenant freedoms can be given expression through the sounding board of Pietisten. Allt til goda. L. Edward Nelson, Longview, Washington.

Thanks much for the copies of Pietisten you have sent without any request of funds for a subscription. My conscience urges at least a token of my appreciation for a stimulating journal. Thanks much again. Douglas Cedarleaf, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The arrival of Pietisten today evoked once again the sense of my indebtedness to our common roots. Its appreciation for an imaginative faith and its emphases on biblical, historical, and theological substance are evident in every issue. Together these nurture a memory which extends to my youth and beyond. I think the accents of the colporteurs sounded by immigrants from Småland in Lac Qui Parle county, Minnesota were encoded in my genes and in those of my relatives from the local Covenant church and elsewhere round the country. Hence, Pietisten speaks to me.

The Minnesota poet, Bill Holm, in The Dead Get By With Everything, reflects on the appearances and behaviors of his ancestors and wonders:

I’ll be living with all

these dead people inside me.

How will I ever feed them?

I share that observation, and to his question I conclude that one way is to read Pietisten. It ministers to a spirit deep inside. So, thank you and your staff for your fine word. Enclosed is my payment for a two-year renewal. Henry Gustafson, Wausau, Wisconsin.

Enclosed is my check for another year. I enjoy Pietisten very much. I especially liked Phil’s article in the Fall ‘91 issue regarding his reflections from the Annual Meeting regarding the shift in ministry from “pastoral” to “manager,” and accompanying shift in the image of the congregation which goes with that change. Thanks for your enhancement of dialogue in our Church. Paul Stone, Dedham, Massachusetts.

I was delighted with Wittgenstein, Waldenström, & Nicaragua as I read my first issue of Pietisten. And when I read Hardin’s call to discover the Covenant’s Pietistic/Lutheran roots, I felt like I’d come home! Thanks for the ordination gift! Chris Breuninger, Twisp, Washington.

Thanks for Pietisten. I enjoy the articles. Tommy Carlson’s comments on Waldenström’s commentary (in James) caused me to dust off Waldenström’s NYA TEST AMENTET and “try” my Swedish. My two-volume set was given to me by the daughter of Rev. M.E. Anderson (back in 1942 during my internship in Tacoma, Washington) and M.E. Anderson writes in the flyleaf on October 18, 1892.

This year marks ten years of retirement! God has been good! Keep up the good work . . . keep the past alive!! Enclosed is a check to help in some small way. If the check bounces, contact Paul Larsen or George Bush!! Carl Janson, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I am thankful for the anonymous friend who submitted my name to Pietisten awhile back, and gratefully enclose a check that my subscription may continue. I read the issues virtually cover to cover. I am thankful for articles which sensitively open the scriptures, for meaningful reflections on life at North Park, and for a sense of the continuing journey of the Covenant Church as it struggles with its tasks of self-understanding and ministry.

Pietisten returns me to my beloved communities of North Park and the Covenant which I found it necessary to leave twenty years ago, but which I think of often.

To all of my friends in the Pietisten network, I send my warm greetings. I am beginning my fourteenth year of ministry in a congregation of my adopted home, the United Church of Christ, here in St. Louis. I am very well, and faithfully serving with both joy and gladness. James K. Pohl, St. Louis, Missouri.

By the authority vested in me, I hereby author this epistle. By the authority vested in you, you hereby (I trust) authorize this authority to author this epistle. By the authority vested in us, as separate and distinct, yet participating in the One, we all authorize this epistle in the faith that in it and through it we might hope to experience an increase.

I rather enjoyed (experienced an “increase”) reading the recent Pietisten. I suppose I had not previously realized what it was, or was about. I especially liked your bit on “The Gift of Increase.” On first reading, I had quarrels with this, that, and the other, idea, sentence, word, etc., but after finishing, decided I liked the overall “spirit” enough to ignore any differences. Then, later I came across Pietisten Premises. Again, I might have argued with the wording, the completeness, the priorities, etc., but didn’t because they seem to tug at . . . (how to say it) some of the things I hold dear and clear (adding up to what someone recently called “heart knowledge”). If these premises mean what I think-feel they mean (all of which means I have to author all of this), then I will read your Pietisten much more carefully in the future (even though I have a biography of trouble with any writing which refers to, quotes, or, worst of all cites [chap/verse] the bible).

One last thought on “authority = author= to increase.” The final phrase in the first paragraph of your helpful review of Parts I & II reads “. . . and the residence of authority is the human person.” I think that “the” may be an unfortunate choice. It means in this context an ideal, specially exemplary, or generic “individual.” There are two problems with this. First, it creates a remove from ordinary people and their lived experiences, as “a” or “each” would not. In other words, such remove not only distances “us” from authority, but may be read as support for limiting authority, vesting or rooting it in an abstract, idealized, specialized sense of person, i.e., the few. The second part of the problem is that your “human person” appears as if in a void. I would prefer something like “each person, in their circumstance (or network, etc.)” for this points us not only to context, but to the possibilities of interpersonal networks, a social orchestration of authority.

I choose orchestration purposefully. It strikes me that our world is sprung from a metaphor of inanimate elements in a void—e.g., social atoms, tools of production, rugged individualism, etc. The emphasis on individual comes at the expense of connections. But orchestra-music provide a very different metaphoric effect. In music, each tone has an individual identity, for sure, but the real magic arises from their combinations (as melody or harmony). Imagine, then, what would happen to your residence of authority (especially in the context of your premises) if we switched to social orchestration. One could hardly avoid “blessing” all other living forms as the crucible from which springs the tantalizing taste of serpent-wisdom and dove’s love. Tom Condon, Little Current and Guelph, Ontario, Canada.