Volume XXV, Number 1
In This Issue
An excerpt from Angels, Worms, and Bogeys: The Christian Ethic of Pietism by Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom, used by permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers.
Whether this is the first time you have opened the pages of Pietisten or you have been a faithful reader from the beginning, it is likely you are curious about a number of things regarding our journal. A few of the encouraging comments we have received make it clear that there is a great deal of interest in not only the journal itself, but in the broad tradition that we represent and seek to explore, namely Pietism.
This year is the 150th birthday of the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod and the 125th of the Swedish Evangelical Mission Covenant, two of the Swedish-American denominations begun in North America by immigrants. However, the first religious band of Swedes to make its way into the American Midwest in the 19th century was made up of neither Lutherans nor Mission Friends. That distinction belongs to the followers of Erik Jansson, who with their leader/prophet sailed from Sweden to Denmark to New York, made their way by boat up the Hudson, across the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes to Chicago, and finally by foot to the prairies of Henry County, Illinois. There in 1846 they founded a communal farming colony that they named Bishop Hill, after Biskopskulla, their founder’s home parish in Sweden, near Uppsala.
It was a great miracle that God performed when he created friendship. It became even more wonderful when he said, “I think I will give this to people.”
Why do people say there is no free lunch with such conviction? Perhaps you say it from time-to-time yourself. Of this moral and intellectual failing, I have been free as long as I can remember.
David Hawkinson earns Ph.D.; Waldenström’s grave
Parenting Progress was founded in 2002 following a series of discussions with community leaders to respond to the needs of our community in Ravenswood. Many teens were getting pregnant and keeping their children, but were then faced with dropping out of high school because they did not have adequate child care. Ravenswood Covenant dedicated the Christian Education wing to open Ravenswood Community Child Care Center (RC4). RC4 provides NAEYC accredited child care to 45 children, ages 6 weeks through preschool. One-third of the child care has been dedicated to children of teen parents with subsidies from the government to cover their tuition. Two-thirds of the child care is filled with professionals in the community.
Over the past 17 years, Dale Lusk, Executive Director of Covenant Merge Ministries, has been involved in organizing over 800 mission trips. Merge exists to facilitate meaningful ministries that build long-term, inter-ethnic relationships between Christian groups in North America with partner organizations in Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean and Europe. Pietisten has asked Dale to share some of his reflections on the philosophy of mission trips. This “top 8 list” presents some of the principles he shares with groups as they prepare for their trips.
In the initial year of Pietisten in 1842, Rosenius shared his thoughts on Pietism in a two-part article series, as an explanation for the founding of the newspaper. Part one is translated here from the Swedish.
Two major poets were together one evening, Robert Lowell and John Berryman. Lowell asked Berryman to give him the six best lines in English poetry. At first Berryman resisted and called Lowell’s challenge absurd, insisting such a task was impossible. But as the night deepened Berryman’s resistance wore down.
It was an unforgettable moment sitting in a Christian ethics class taught by Professor H. Richard Niebuhr at Yale Divinity School. At first I wondered if I had heard it correctly But it was a seminal statement that would be unfolding in my subsequent years as a believer and a theologian. His statement was “To be a Christian you must first become a Jew.” Beyond the shock of the moment, it speaks truth every time I open the Sacred Book joining the two testaments, or whenever I pray the Psalms or sing the Gloria Patri or the hymns of Easter.
This somewhat odd title requires explanation. “Bogey,” for example, is one shot over par in golf. Dr. Clifton-Soderstrom points out that through the years, critics have characterized Pietism as below par with respect to sound Christianity on a number of counts. Our author challenges that notion and shows that Pietism’s performance has been miss-scored. Being a person for whom a bogey is my par, a “double bogey” is needed before I think it bad. After reading Clifton-Soderstrom’s book it is clear that Pietism scores a better than par “birdie” as does her book.
Wendell Berry is a Kentucky farmer and a writer of poetry, fiction, and essay whose name seems to be showing up everywhere. He is claimed as a voice in politics, ecology, agriculture, economics, and religion. And what is probably most striking is that he is claimed by those who fall across a wide spectrum in each of those arenas. Berry speaks as an agrarian and that informs his approach to the subjects at hand.
Ian Andrés Mora Lund; Katherine Elisabeth Rork
On Saturday, March 20, friends gathered at the Cromwell Covenant Church to celebrate the life of Carol (Conklin) McNaughton, prophet of grace, straight-talking friend to many.
Covenant minister Richard J. Swanson died February 27, a day after his ninetieth birthday. He was born in Ridgway, Pennsylvania, to Swedish immigrants Victor and Lena Swanson, the youngest of five surviving children. When he was only four, his father was killed in a construction accident, and his oldest brother left high school to support his mother and siblings. At the center of the Swanson family’s life was the Ridgway Covenant Church, and it was there that Dick’s call to ministry was first sensed and affirmed. It was also there that he met Helen Brumberg, who would become his wife of sixty-five years and partner in ministry.
Aaron Burdette Markuson passed away February 11, 2010. He is survived by his wife of nearly 70 years, Margaret Markuson. Friends and family gathered to remember and celebrate Aaron’s life on February 15th at First Covenant Church of Seattle. As Aaron’s son John remarked it was “a good crowd.” The evening service was full of memories, sweet and a little irreverent, too. From tales of a loving, if somewhat teasing father and grandfather, to the steadfastness of a devoted husband, friend and pastor.
The baseball world may quickly forget “HGH,” “Canseco” and “Yankee Stadium” in 2010, when “ballparka” becomes the term du jour across the national pastime. A “ballparka,” of course, is the outer jacket one wears to a chilly outdoor baseball game. And come October, fans will need one when the Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners square off for the American League pennant.