Post: Readers Respond

I was pleased to read the positive review of the new Covenant Hymnal [Spring, 1997] by Philip Brunelle. Coming from a musician of Mr. Brunelle's eminence, we members of the Commission receive this affirmation of our work with gratitude and appreciation. One point of clarification, however: in noting several composers "used to excess," Brunelle calls attention to the 47 credits listed for me. Only four of that number are original compositions; the remaining 43 items are harmonization and arrangements done in my capacity as music editor. Pietisten is always delightful reading! Thanks for your good work! Royce Eckhardt, Wilmette, Illinois.

Love your paper! Betsy Evans, Houston, Texas.

Received Pietisten (da Pie), and couldn't unaffix my fatigued eyes from its pages, from "What-Plato Knew about EMail" by Earl Schwartz (who favors vocal communication over the written word, seemingly, but he's such a masterful writer, clear, and easy to read. Me? I can hardly talk anymore.) Then, "On The Aisle" by Max Carlson, always clear and easy to read and interesting; never miss reading him. Read your review of The Momentous Years, by Vernoy Johnson (good), and "China on Their Minds" by Gordon and Molly Nelson (good follow up, so to speak), Tommy Carlson's "Waldenstrom's Commentary" (what a wonderful way to stay studying the Scriptures), then "If You Want to Know: Write" by Robert Elde (good idea), then the sidebar, "Walker Percy Musings" by Bruce Carlson (will be looking forward to pages about him in Pies to come), then "Beyond Conscience" by Elder Lindahl (like reading him). The line he used in formulating his earliest ethic in terms of "Let your conscience be your guide"; that was Jiminy Cricket's advice to Pinocchio, my favorite of Disney's animated features (Snow White a close second). It shows what happens when you don't get an education, or when you pass up an education in favor of going to "Pleasure Island" where you can drink, smoke, and play pool...and cuss; you wind up a working jackass. It was a good lesson-story but apparently wasted on me; yet, I still remember it.

So, anyway, then Elder adopted a better ethic: "Let your Christian conscience be your guide." Christian conscience or Christian oughtness being about the same thing, he ended with the thought Aristotle articulated years ago, that "Ethics is not an exact science," going on to say, "Let your adult emotions, your achieved inner virtues enriched by the Christian virtues and enlightened by Scriptural exhortations, and your deep thinking, guide you as you face difficult and complex moral dilemmas."

God has shown us what is good, but I often fail to do what I should. The rest of my Pie I'll be reading at work; nice to have a job, where one has plenty of spare time for devoting to good things to read. All for now. Ed Mampel, Kingsland, Texas.

As always, thanks. Pietisten is truly "soul food." Jim Erickson, Jamestown, New York.

As usual, we enjoyed the new issue of Pietisten. I was pleased to see the article by Lois Vetvick. Last June at the UCC Annual Meeting I enjoyed visiting with her and was surprised to find she had Covenant roots and was well acquainted with you and other Pietisten folks.

Most of our Covenant relatives seem to be moving toward fundamentalist leanings, unfortunately, so I suspect Pietisten would be too "liberal" for them. Consequently, I hesitate to send gift subscriptions. But I resonate to the new Chris Craft University Fund for "Walker Percy Musings" and would like to make a small contribution toward that. Hadn't read that Shelby Foote was such an influence on Walker Percy. Both are fine writers. Haven' t finished Foote's Civil War Trilogy, but was much impressed by the quality of the prose. How about branching out to include "Musings" on Flannery O'Connor's books, too? Anyway, apply the small check to the CCCU fund.

Keep up the good work! By the way, I'd like to see someone review Loren Mead's books on the crisis of the Church today: The Once and Future Church, Transforming Congregations for the Future, and Five Challenges for the Once and Future Church. From my isolated position, I think he's right on! Marilynn Ford, New Albin, Iowa.

Gladys and I enjoy each lively and varied issue of Pietisten. The Covenant needs your frequent reminders of its fast-fading past.

I must tell you, however, that, as lifelong canoeists (Saskatchewan, Florida Keys, Newfoundland), we have somehow managed not to let your droll nostalgia for ancient power boats lessen our appreciation. Over the years, we were (note past tense, alas) often drenched and nearly capsized by macho speed boats, some of them quite probably your mahogany antique ChrisCrafts.

That editorial lapse aside, thanks for Pietisten. Long may it thrive! Paul J. Larsen, Chicago, Illinois.

Happy to be a booster of Pietisten...keep up the good work! Phil Danielson, Turlock, California.

Some days ago as I was reading the latest of Pietisten, I came across your article on Phoebe Olson. That was a very nice tribute, and the reason I am writing to you is concerning her husband, Alrick.

The article was meaningful to me in that I grew up in Little Falls, and this was Alrick's home. Alrick and Phoebe would come back now and then and visit some of the family. He would also be given time either on a Sunday or Wednesday night to share something about his work with the Indians. He knew my folks very well, and when he would see my dad he would say: "Hello Johnson, how are you?"

His father, John Olson, had a farm west of town. There were two other sons, Elmer and Oscar. Elmer never left the home place. Oscar was very deaf, and eventually he and his wife took over the home place. There was one daughter, Inez, and she was also married and lived outside of Little Falls.

All the oak pews that were in the original church in Little Falls came from oak trees on John Olson's farm. I have two of the pews shortened and refinished here in our home at the lake.

There are several memories from the John Olsons. As a child I remember going to their home for ladies aid meetings. John was always sort of stern and quiet, but Alrick's mother always spoke to me. I still remember the time in communion service when I watched them take the bread and the cup. There were tears streaming down Mrs. Olson's face. It was one of those holy moments for me.

John Olson would come into town on highway 27, sitting in his black buggy with one white horse. Quite often he would stop by our house with a sack of oats for my mother's chickens. They didn't have much to give, but they were generous with what they had.

These are the kind of saints of the past for which I give thanks to God. Thanks again for awakening these memories as I move on in my own journey. Jerry Johnson, South Haven, Minnesota.

I read Pietisten the same way I read the paper. I go to the sections that speak to the heart and move from there. The remembrances of Milt were excellent, Reuben's mom's passing very touching. I didn't know Reuben's mom until your article. You brought her to me in death in a way I would have liked to have known her in life. Great stories. Letters to the editor always stimulating for precisely the reasons they are written. Ralph Sturdy, Livingston, New Jersey.

Read and enjoyed every word of the most recent issue — except the line in Lois Vetvick's "A Fierce Caring" in which God says: "My own loneliness is sometimes overwhelming...." Of course, mine is a NT perspective, and this is the "OT God" (if there is such a thing); but God is a Trinity and that loving fellowship of our Father, his son, and the Holy Spirit does not make for loneliness. Shelly Ritchie, Tokyo, Japan.

Dear Sirs (And I guess there is a token woman, Martha):

I was pleasantly surprised to find in my snail-mail box today, Volume XII, Number I of your publication. I have my suspicions about who sent it.

Of special interest to me was the article from my son, Owen, "From Hong Kong to Hershey." Since first receiving it from the source directly, I have sent it to some of my major friends around the country.

I write this missive to you to ascertain particular information. I read with interest your editorial and publishing staff listed on page 19 and want to know about them. Two names only mean something to me: Peter Sandstrom and David Hawkinson. Would it be possible for you to send me the "obits" for each one so I may know from whence they came and all the "good stuff" about them. I want to try to figure out why they are involved in your project.

By the way, are you trying, just a little bit, to have "ads" ala the old Wittenberg Door? I suspect so, because of the "Covenant Chris Crafts." Ralph Youngman, Wausa, Nebraska.