Volume XX, Number 1
In This Issue
Canine metaphors seem to abound in reference to the new pope, Benedict. A local bishop referred to the newly elected pope as “our German Shepherd.” Benedict XVI has also been called a Rotweillor and a Doberman pinscher. To his credit, the bishop was trying to emphasize the pastoral qualities of the new pope. Others, with a more critical bent, have sought to portray the new pontiff as an attack dog with Nazi tendencies.
I wonder, now, wouldn’t it be more fitting to have these sheer wafers blessed with just a thin coating of fine chocolate? A dark, rich imported chocolate, worthy of such reverential moments.
The Gospel is good news about God’s amazing grace, love, redemption, the kingdom of God, hope, and the life to come. It’s an ancient story about the possibility of new life for the human spirit, eternally appropriate in every time and at every place. Jesus of Nazareth is the way, the truth, and the life.
The Evangelical Covenant Church of America (ECCA) appears to be redefining itself as it solidifies positions taken on controversial issues. This action has costs: moving the ECCA away from its treasured affirmation of freedom in Christ and weakening some of its claimed distinctives.
When you see her face your blood rushes, your smile widens, your heart melts, and you get the chills. Her smile is infectious and attitude so positive despite her severely impoverished situation, health problems, and growing up without her mom and dad.
It was a cold autumn day in 1947. The field was sloppy–a sea of mud from the steady rain and sleet. But for the shivering faithful fans who showed up, it was the scene of a bruising football game between Wright J.C. and North Park, also a junior college at that time. Right in the middle of the pack, Phil Danielson, a tackle and military veteran, was in a bruising struggle with his opponent across the line.
No Cartesian dualism here. When Jesus heals someone, He heals the whole person— mind, body, spirit, whatever!
A critical skill in reading bible is learning to notice the physical setting of the drama, its spatial design and presentation. If we assume that the choice of words and their careful placement in dialogue is a deliberate process in the telling of good stories, then, where staging is deliberately indicated we must also take notice.
The armor was cleaned and polished. The tools of battle were honed with great love and respect until they shone brighter than the mid-day sun. The battlefield was chosen, measuring some 6200 yards in length by 32.6 yards in width. Nerves were taut. Emotions ran high. Last letters to loved ones were penned and signed. Soon it would begin.
Heloise and Abelard is about two great historical persons. Heloise (1095-1163), a person of integrity and intelligence, loved Peter Abelard deeply and was unwavering in her faithfulness as a wife and a lover. She was 20 when she fell in love with the great scholar Peter, the 46-year-old master of the school of Notre Dame in 1115. She loved Abelard both physically and intellectually the rest of her life.
On Sunday June 12, Mel Soderstrom informed me that one of the giants of my life had fallen! Ivar Wistrom a character who seemed to me as old as North Park University and Seminary itself, finally, in the words of my grandfather, “checked out.”
Jim Whitefield, 68 years of age, died on July 6th at the University of Minnesota hospital where he had received a stem cell transplant. It had been hoped that the transplant would counter a rare blood disease. We have lost a good friend and Pietisten has lost a faithful subscriber and admirer.
While serving Bethesda Covenant Church in New York City for two years, my eyes were opened. Our congregation met at the Church Center for the UN on Sunday mornings for worship.
Not long ago I was asked: “Who best represents for you someone who has been able to apply their gifts to address an area of need in the world?”
Through my friendship with Dr. Bernhard Erling, former professor of Gustavus Adolphus in St Peter, Minnesota and the University of Minnesota, I was invited to be a presenter at “Gathering 2004” of the Augustana Heritage Association meeting in St Peter. My subject was the Swedish hymnody shared by the Augustana Lutheran Synod and the Covenant. Dr. Philip Anderson of North Park Seminary presented on our common history as Augustana Lutheran and Covenant at the Association’s meeting in Lindsborg, Kansas two years ago.
The linguistic root of provide and thus of providence is the Latin pro videre—to see ahead. Whatever the divine part of providence may be, basic human pro videre is part of its fabric. We humans know, experience, and contribute this part of providence.
Deadheading means to remove the spent flowers from ornamental plants. Usually there is deadheading to be done from spring to frost. You will enjoy the process more and will be less likely to feel overwhelmed if you keep up with it.
North Park Homecoming October, 2005