Post: Readers Respond

I appreciated especially the review of Desire of the Everlasting Hills in the Winter issue. John Nyberg, Shoreview, Minnesota.

Thank you especially for the Doug Cedarleaf, Mel Soneson, and Mel Soderstrom articles. It is so good to read about these special people who I also have had as personal friends.

I read Pietisten from cover-to-cover. Read with interest about Waldenström. He was in seminary with my grandfather and my mother told about him.

Enjoyed reading about Nyvall. As a child, I attended Swedish meetings at which he spoke. My parents would take him to and from the meetings. I was impressed by this gentle soul even as young as I was. Thanks for your good work. Gunnel Brunsell, Wilmette, Illinois.

You guys are great, but, gee! You need some demographic diversity. Joey Ekberg, Chicago, Illinois.

Hey, Phil and friends: Glad to have a moment to greet you and say that it has been a pleasure to look into your periodic issues and see “old” faces and read new articles. It is always a welcome bit of news to find someone I knew and know moving around, retiring, being involved, expressing opinions and sharing knowledge.

I write especially just now because of Professor Paul Sonnack’s article on Religious Liberty. It was one of the most enlightening short articles I’ve read in some time. I learned why I have certain secular ideas imbedded into my pious training. For instance, in spite of Bible quoters, I was always willing to marry divorced people if they had a legal divorce and were willing to make a new legal contract.

You see, I was raised as a thorough-going southern Democrat and American before I became a Christian by choice. It seemed and seems to me that a church member ought to be a cooperative citizen of the U.S.A. Just like Boy Scouts.

I don’t know, considering the modern status of the Congress of the U.S.A., if I would approve their setting up a national religion. But then, I don't know anyone or any group that merits much loyalty any longer. Our world seems to have gone berserk over self-satisfied attitudes gathered around minority caucuses. Oh well, enough...

I renewed my subscription, and that speaks for itself. Oh yes, Ellie told me to send in the check. Well, I’m getting old and stingy. Hey, God is good. Charles J. Duey, Newington, Connecticut.

Regarding The Making of a Reader by David Hawkinson: The Incident by the Pool of Giv’on. I appreciate the insight into scripture, but the implications for politics and war were not insightful for me.

Pearl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin, and the Twin Towers/Pentagon were three different provocations, though war resulted from all three. Pearl Harbor was the act of a desperate Japan to cripple America before it could enter with the allies, but the result was an all out war on the original Axis of evil. Gulf of Tonkin by all accounts had elements that LBJ exaggerated if not made up, and the result was a limited but lengthy action. 9-11’s impact is still unfolding and our response to a great horror has to be seen, most must admit, as measured and just.

Please don’t talk about all response to terror and international aggression as cycles of violence. I’ll admit that the Vietnam experience comes closest to the irony and horror of a Pool of Giv’on where everyone declared victory but nobody won and everybody lost.

Even the current Mideast violence in Israel does not fit this ironic approach though everyone gives moral equivalence and speaks of the cycle of violence. But those giving orders to teenage suicide bombers are evil and relentless, even if offered land for peace.

Yes give peace a chance. But avoid the “pool of Giv’on” by strength, moral clarity, and avoiding the dead-end battles with no exit strategy. Robert Blundell, Rosemead, California.

This letter is prompted by receiving a copy of [Glen Wiberg’s] column “Sightings in Christian Music” in Pietisten in which [he] discussed “poetic license” in translation and dealt with the new translation of “Tryggare kan ingen vara” in the UCC hymnal. First, [I want to] thank [him] for giving Gracia Grindal’s reason for her outlandish distortion in the second verse of “Thy Holy Wings Dear Savior.” Whenever opening a 1989 Methodist Hymnal or With One Voice (a Lutheran supplement song book), I had in the back of my mind an unwritten letter to her asking her “Why?”.

Luther Seminary was just over the hill from my mother’s aunt’s home in Lauderdale, Minnesota and at least once a year we went to visit favorite relatives. After their deaths, regular trips to the Twin Cities became a pleasant memory. A Lutheran, Aunt Emily’s sentiments about church music could be summed up in her reaction to the 1950 Covenant Hymnal appearing in the Carlshend Church: “Now you’re just as bad as the Lutherans.” The spiritual songs of the 1931 “Brown Hymnal” suited her much better.

The New Century Hymnal version of the beloved song by Lina Sandell is more literal, but so cold and almost clinically unfeeling and, of course, had to be done because of all the male pronouns in Ernst W. Olson’s translation. Now I know why my desire to get out the Swedish lexicon and take a turn at creating something better never happened. Olson’s version carries through the feeling of security that the writer experienced in the tree. Ardy Johnson, Carlshend, Michigan.

Seeing Pietisten in my mailbox makes my day. Especially the articles by old North Park friends. I loved hearing that Ralph and Joyce Sturdy are alive and well and I loved Bach’s article, too. Betsy Evans, Houston, Texas.

Dear “Pietists:” I am sending you a book—Pietisten (1848)—which will have a better place with you than in my library. This undoubtedly came from the ancestral home in Lyåsa, Småland. My father, Otto Johnson, from Mount Vernon, Washington, told me as a teenager he would visit his godparents, reading from Pietisten and ending the visit over coffee and vinerbröd.

And here I am—can not believe the years are soon reaching 80 and I am reading Pietisten. What a heritage!

Now, boys, don’t argue over who will read this book first! Good Luck! I am able to read it, slowly, but why should I when Pietisten comes to me in English. Thanks for bringing our heritage to life. Alice Anderson, Kent, Washington.

In his reply to a reader’s letter, Mr Lindahl states: “Muslims in Turkey, even though Shari’a Islamic Law functions there to an extent, have more personal freedom than do Muslims in Iran or Pakistan.” Applying the Shari’a is not only constitutionally prohibited but also unheard of in Turkey. Secularism is one of the basic principles of this democratic state.

The Turkish legal/justice system is mostly an adaptation of the German and Swiss codes and it has never used or made reference to Shari’a in any form. Ahu Latifoglu, Istanbul, Turkey.

Dear Staff & Readers: Being a great admirer of Elder Lindahl's articles in Pietisten, I was prompted to write and request his book, Private Lindahl, Citizen Solder.

Being “somewhat” of his generation, I could identify with his experiences in World War II. My reaction was “What a great guy he was and is.”

Regarding his teaching at North Park, I regret that not all of my descendants have been able ot benefit from his teaching and that I graduated in 1934 long before his time. May his wisdom continue to be dispersed through Pietisten. Jane Bowman Jacobson nee Swanson, Turlock, California.