Hannah's Child, by Stan Hauerwas, reminded me of the strange death of Bill Sampson, who graduated from Augustana about the time we did.
I remember him somewhat. It was an era when a few students suddenly became radical and started ranting at the administration. We had our hippy guy, nicknamed J.C. for his flowing beard and Messianic attitude. Guess who came up with that moniker? Yes, I was verbally active then too. J.C. is on Facebook. He works in a government program and he claims his relationships are "complicated."
Augustana College had experimental worship services in the chapel, so I was tired of clown ministry before clowns began offering as something new in WELS. We used the auditorium. No one thought of building a cathedral so we could worship better.
Bill Sampson went to Harvard Divinity to avoid the war and later graduated from medical school. He got involved with unionizing textile workers, of all things, and died when gunfire erupted during an anti-KKK rally. The entire account is here.
That connected with an interview with LCA historian Nestingen, who said of the current Bishop of ELCA - his father was an activist too.
Pietists think they have to add something to the Gospel, to transform society. Early Pietism often involves banning alcohol and having Sunday laws. Later, when the law-salesmen get tired of Christian doctrine, they switch to a secular agenda.
The Mark Hanson agenda is moving along swiftly, to transform ELCA into a peace-and-justice organization. From his viewpoint, the Gospel demands this. Thus neo-Pietists turn Jesus into Moses, and Moses into the Savior.
Bill Sampson did not deserve to die. The unfortunate string of events now seems inevitable. The fact remains - two trained medical doctors lost their lives in a political confrontation.
An earlier era of the Augustana (Swedish) Synod had a report from the Synod President, where he claimed, "We will fight to the death against the liquor trade."
Hoenecke had a concise description of Pietism, the best I have read - Pietism confuses sanctification with justification and makes the first a requirement of the second.
Kevin Hastings and I were discussing how concise Hoenecke was. For that reason, he is easily memorized and impossible to forget. Those who consider that sentence will soon realize that it explains Pietism and its inevitable downfall.
Demonstrating with Communists and organizing union workers is just a step away from fighting the liquor trade to the death.
Mandating cell groups and controlling them in the parish is another form of adding law to the Gospel.