Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of visiting a new member of our church. At one point in the conversation, I looked over and noticed that she had a copy of Pietisten sitting open next to her couch. And that reminded me that I’ve failed to do my bit to publicize the release of that estimable journal’s Spring/Summer 2014 issue!
I’m not sure how I forgot about this — I read it myself on the flight down to Chicago last Friday, then had lunch with Pietisten editor Mark Safstrom and saw some others connected to it at a reception for the Friends of Covenant History… But in any case, I certainly encourage my readers to check it out if they’re not already subscribers.
If, two paragraphs in, you have no idea what I’m talking about…
Pietisten is published twice a year and features writers who
draw heavy inspiration from the collective heritage of Lutheran Pietism, as represented in a congenial flock of historically-related traditions: the Evangelical Covenant Church and the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden (Equmeniakyrkan), the Augustana Lutheran heritage (ELCA), the Evangelical Free Church, and the Baptist General Conference, and epidemics of Pietism within the Congregationalist and Methodist folds.
Taking the name of the newspaper edited between 1842 and 1918 by Swedish Pietists C.O. Rosenius and P.P. Waldenström, Pietisten always includes a diverse array of articles on theology, history, literature, music, and other topics. In his own introduction to this issue, Mark frames the spaciousness of Pietisten as perhaps exemplifying an overlooked dimension of evangelism: that before we seek conversion of others,
Perhaps we should first be praying instead that we might make room for this to happen. Have we made enough space in our lives for authentic community?
…We hope that the community created in this journal is sufficiently spacious for everyone who resonates with our “Premises”…. As we seek to make space, we might start with the realization that it is ultimately God who stretches to make space for us, and to seek us out whenever we are lost or distracted.
As always, there’s lots to chew on in this issue, from Mark’s translation of Waldenström asking what it truly means to “know God” to Jay Phelan putting a biography of Dag Hammarskjöld in conversation with a memoir by poet Christian Wiman. I also enjoyed Lee Staman’s cover article on journeying through the history (or, better, histories) of Turkey, and it was fun to reencounter David Gustafson (like Mark, a contributor to the chapter of our Pietist Impulse book that focused on the Scandinavian-American experience), who shared the story of how his Free Church ancestors served the needy in late 19th century Nebraska. And as my series here on the Evangelical Covenant Church continues, I’m sure I’ll quote from Tom Tredway’s piece on the use (or non-use) of creeds in shaping Lutheran and Covenant identity.
My own column extended some of my J-term observations about encountering “thick darkness” rather than Epiphany’s light in the study of the Holocaust and World War II.
And Pietisten readers, let me encourage you to check out the new online home of a cousin-publication, The Baptist Pietist Clarion.