Post: Readers Respond

Thank you for sending Pietisten—much appreciated and read! Yours sincerely, Bodil Rusen, Sändaren, Stockholm, Sweden.

Dear Penrod: to me, the message in Philip Yancey’s book, What’s So Amazing About Grace?, is the power of grace and forgiveness to change our pride when we would rather play victim, retaliate, or nurse our wounds. Yancey uses biblical references and real-life illustrations to show how, through grace, bitterness and anger can be transformed, bringing healing and reconciliation to persons and nations. He declares that the unique gift of Christianity to the world is this power of forgiveness and grace! Carol McNaughton, Middletown, Connecticut.

Dear Phil and Crew: Please renew my subscription for you great publication. Pietisten is a wonderful link to my past that consistently provides fond memories of the people and places you often write about. Keep up the good work…impatiently waiting for the next issue. John Bergstrom, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Dear Phil: I am assuming that you are the one who receives the emails. Thanks so much for the complimentary copy and word that I will receive future issues.

I remember [my son] Luke having this magazine around and enjoying it. I found myself also absorbing the variety of articles. I appreciated the entry about the Alaska mission, since Phoebe and Mark spent five years in that state, and I got somewhat familiar with life there. Just somewhat familiar, but enough to make your article very interesting to me.

And of course, Pastor Wiberg’s letter was a joy. Dr. Burgess, being a good Lutheran, too.

I have enjoyed life in Louisville a good deal. It certainly has expanded my interests. Just today I was at an advisory committee for the local Spalding University involving their Adult Accelerated Program—appealing to working people and adult learners. I have taken six courses there from anthropology to art history to Catholic faith and social issues.

I do miss the people of Bethlehem and Minneapolis but do not miss the ice and snow. Life forces choices.

Blessings on you and yours and the good people of Bethlehem. Margaret Pederson, Louisville, Kentucky.

Tom Tredway’s article; “Reading Platonic (and other) Text-Maps” (Pietisten, Christmas 2007) stimulated me to recall what text-maps I may have used to guide me. In a graduate-level political science course on “Futures” at the University of Wisconsin, I realized that I was a believer in a linear progression to my personal, societal, and human, history. Text maps, sign posts, mile markers, and guidelines were as important to me as a textual-pilot guide companion to nautical charts is important to a ship’s captain in unfamiliar waters. Somewhat to my surprise, linear thinking seemed a minority view as indicated by the circular views of history expressed in that class. My classmates did not seem interested in maps; literal, or figurative.

My earliest, involuntary text-map was the bible with its terrifying warnings, blessings, and promises. My first voluntary text-map was Jesus’ parable of the vine and the branches, as paraphrased by J.B. Phillips: “the person who shares my life and whose life I share will prove useful, for without me you can do nothing worthwhile.” In quick succession, followed the writings of C.S. Lewis, A.W. Tozer, J. R. R. Tolkien (when his books had to be special ordered directly from England), the early writing of Francis Schaeffer, Jacques Ellul, the biblical prophets…the list could go on. I have not yet given up looking for new text-maps, or re-reading some of the old ones. In spite of all of my map reading, I can’t trace my route to date as a route free of ambiguity, unnecessary detours, and dead-ends. It will be interesting to see what other readers’ experience with text-maps has been. Thanks to Tom Tredway for his story! Philip Keillor, Madison, Wisconsin.

Dear Pietisten, You to not know me. I do not know you. But you have bought me news that I sought.

As a graduate school academic who enjoys teaching, I have had occasion to reflect on those teachers in my own student experience who were most influential. Luckily for me there have been many. But few more influential than Vernoy A. Johnson, who taught me geometry at New Trier East High School in Winnetka, Illinois in 1976.

Vernoy was indeed lively and enriching. Unlike the other 20+ sections of geometry being taught in the High School, Vernoy said we should return the pricey text book to the bookstore and instead buy many pencils, a straight edge, and a piece of string. We learned geometry the same way that Euclid and Pythagorus did—through discovery. Magnificent approach for an audience of 15-year-olds.

Mr. Johnson retired soon after my graduation from New Trier. I often wondered what happened to this magnificent human being. Your tribute page at the below URL explained the circumstances of his passing in 2001. http://www.pietisten.org/summer01/vernoyjohnson.html

Many thanks for eternalizing a remarkable teacher. James Conley, Northwestern University.

My sister [Mary Bevis, author of Wolf Song] loved the review by Jen and Violet E-J in the Christmas issue. She read the review to her publisher. It was their favorite review and the book has had many good ones. Mary was delighted that Violet was inspired to practice a little wolf howling from her bed before falling asleep, and that Hazy clapped and then put the book in her mouth. That kind of total response keeps book writers (and publishers) happy. I know Jen did the wolf’s share of the review. The younger E-J women made the author chortle. Mary has a couple more books in the works. They are waiting for the illustrators to complete their part of the project, so keep tuned for more children’s books with a nature theme. Carol Elde, Plymouth, Minnesota.