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More Letters From Readers

The Autumn issue of Response came in today's mail, perfect for a delightful, warm afternoon's reading on our shaded deck.

Your notes, and the interview with Eugene Peterson allowed me to again “pick the brain” of a master in the art of communication. You quoted Dr. Peterson as saying "the arts teach ways of paying attention and new ways of understanding." His interview reinforced that thought.

Recently, the Sunday school class I attend began a study of Revelation. I knew what was coming, a AAA Trip Tik through history. Ugh! So, I looked and found several helpful books including Dr. Peterson's Reversed Thunder. Wow!! He sees the seer as a theologian — to be sure — a pastor and a poet. So, Revelation is given in the language of the imagination in which we can all meaningfully and inspirationally participate.

For the first time in my 71 years, Revelation, through Dr. Peterson especially, became God's Word in such a insightful way. I have been able to pay attention in a new way of understanding.

Response, as usual continues to be a must read.

John F. Sills CC ’62
Minneapolis, Minnesota


I just received my magazine in the mail today and have nearly read it cover to cover. The articles are so well-written, interesting and always serve to remind me what a wonderful institution SPU is and how much I value the years I spent there from 1979-1983.

I would like to request a free copy of Engaging the Culture, Changing the World and a free copy of The Pastor. I had just completed reading the article about President Eaton’s 15 years at SPU when my mom (an SPC alumna) called me to say she had learned that President Eaton will be leaving SPU at the end of this year. He has sure accomplished great things during his presidency. SPU is a better place, I’m sure, given its contact with him, and I’m sure it will advance into the future with grace and strength, poised to continue to do great things in Seattle and the world.

Ellen Johanson ’83
Federal Way, Washington


I saw in the latest issue of Response the article about the Phil Eaton book, Engaging the Culture, Changing the World. I would love a free copy.

As a former SPU staffer, that phrase has been particularly relevant to me as I have found myself in numerous settings, ranging from church work, to community organizing, doing just that — engaging and changing.

My time at SPU was critical for me to understand this idea as my current vocation finds me being both a professor and community leader. It is my belief that equipping people to be transformative agents in society is something worthwhile and needed now more than ever.

Thank you once again.

Joel L. Domingo, Ed.D.


We just received the autumn issue of Response. What a wonderful magazine! With so much news about the SPU family!

Yesterday one of our grandchildren enrolled and moved into the dorm at SPU! We are proud of her and glad she has chosen SPU for her college experience. She will be a valued person in the SPU family, we’re sure.

Thank you for your helpfulness. Keep up the good work.

Robert A. Crandall '50
Newberg, Oregon


Thanks for the recent copy of Response which I have received. I appreciate the type of stories and coverage you offer, even though I’m a PLU grad. …

In the event that you have copies available of Eugene Peterson’s The Pastor: A Memoir, I would appreciate receiving one. I have long been a fan and reader of his material, having heard him many years ago at Lutheran clergy events and having read several of his books. I look forward to attending the Oct 21-22 event at SPU.

Thanks for your response.

Philip Nesvig
First Lutheran Church
Tacoma, Washington


The Lord be with you!

My name is Michael Edwards and I am the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Auburn, Washington. I enjoyed reading the article on Pastor Eugene Peterson's appreciation for art and how it has shaped his ministry.

I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to read Pastor Peterson's latest writing, The Pastor: A Memoir.

Rev. Michael Edwards
Zion Lutheran Church
Auburn, Washington


This copy of Response is the best ever, and you have published some great material! I’m proud of you and what you have accomplished! Your ability to garner participation from the thousands of readers is remarkable. SPU is a creative place with wonderful, talented folks.

Thank you very much.

Dave Jeffery ’64
Newberg, Oregon


We have just received the latest issue of your magazine, and what an incredible issue it is. As a visual artist, reading through this was incredibly inspirational and informative. Our grandson is a sophomore at SPU and an outstanding classical pianist, a gifted musician on several instruments. I know he is struggling through and praying over majoring in music for many of the reasons stated in the magazine.

Ginny Cole
Littleton, Colorado


God bless you and your work.

You all do a great job putting together each issue of Response. I enjoy reading it so much more than my own alumni magazine (shhhh! don't tell.)

Thanks for the love and care that so obviously go into each issue. My son and daughter-in-law are blessed to be SPU alums.

Thank you so much,

Lynn Walker
Los Gatos, California


I highly doubt you will print this letter. I offer it simply out of curiosity and engagement.

Since the ancient history of my years in the Philosophy Department at SPU I have been reading Response with interest, always curious about the "engagement" of my old university in the culture into which I sauntered to follow the "love of wisdom" encouraged by my alma mater. Scanning over the latest Arts issue stirred me again, but probably not as intended by the publication. The great stage for all the writers, painters, sculptors, poets and performance artists to express their art and their faith was framed by the interview with Philip Eaton. Drawing on my 30 years of ministry and chaplaincy I was stunned to hear President Eaton say that the culture, his culture, my culture, "tells us that the pursuit of truth is no longer possible." This is indeed earthshaking news! For all these years I have read and studied, counseled and taught university and seminary students, jail inmates, poor elderly, mentally ill, homeless folk — listening to them and learning from them and their "secular" lives far more than any text ancient or contemporary. I have read and heard the insights of science and literature, philosophy and religion, politics, music, media. I thought I was hearing "truth" but now I hear that that same Culture (place of growth) — the schools and congregations, the courts and jail cells, the homes and campsites, the streets and shops and cafes — all speak no truth; have nothing to offer. I hear that the purpose of SPU is to go out to tell all of these, and me, there is no truth except the gospel; no life worth living apart from the Evangelical God. I sit stunned. I will need to reflect on my years of service. Perhaps my pursuit of the love of wisdom and truth has been all in vain. Perhaps I have not changed my world but it has changed me.

Chris Highland ’78


In the Autumn 2011 Response interview with Eugene Peterson, he mentions being the (1953) Tawashi editor, working with the photographer "who took a lot of pride in his photography.” I was Gene's photo editor that year and it was a real joy working with him. He was indeed an artist, in spite of his denial in the Response article.

Bill Hart ’56
Vashon Island, Washington


We in the Art Department are all very grateful for the exposure you gave us in the last Response magazine. This pays dividends in they eyes of our students and parents and helps propel us internally to greater heights. Thank you for your affirmation and support, we really appreciate it!

Well done.

Roger Feldman
SPU Professor of Art


Thank you for the book, The Pastor.

There are a number of instructive things already in starting the book. One is Peterson’s sense of his own life being a story, but even more so, the recognition of his first congregation being a story of development that God was doing as He did in Acts.

But I was most struck by his treatment of the Bible. The idea of a "biblical imagination" is one I will hang onto — it suggests that you can allow biblical superlatives to be unleashed in your thinking and chance upon the glories they point to (1Co. 2:12-16). Also a take-home gem is his quote of Dr. Buttrick, “...but only when it gets embedded in conversation, in a listening ear and responding tongue, does it become gospel.”

This is the first issue of Response I have read. I can't tell you how impressed I was; the quality was excellent especially in presenting things that matter.

I suppose that a lot of the yearning for the reality of "Christianity" or of "the Church" that's behind the emerging church movement might find a good deal of satisfaction in ancient writers and in the Christian mystics. There are so many gems that would hit the spot for them. So ... a suggestion: Perhaps someone would take the time to put together quotes and short paragraphs by the ancient writers and mystics. Just a thought.

Thanks again,

Barney Armstrong

More Letters From Readers, continued.