Author: Rod Anderson

During a discussion of DEI (Diversity Equity and Inclusion) at a meeting I was attending, God brought to mind a song titled “All God’s Creatures Got a Place in the Choir.” Some characterize it as an old children’s song, and I remember learning it from my mom’s cousin, who taught it in our Wastedo Elementary School music class. The lyrics include a menagerie of creatures — literally a diversity of animals singing in the same choir, but those critters are analogous to all God’s people, for sure! Nothing brings all of us together like music! Every voice in the vocal…

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Thinking back over my lifetime, I’m amazed at how common rhetoric around firearms has devolved from the subject of gun safety to gun control to gun violence. I was sitting by the shore of our favorite lake watching the sunset when the news came to me across the internet. There was an active shooting at our Eden Prairie shopping mall. A young man died. It was the second shooting death in a Twin City shopping mall in just a few days. In a flash, my pastor’s mind rifled through memories of deaths by gunfire way back to my youth. Gun…

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I’m beginning to think the most popular color this summer is orange. It’s not just because my granddaughter, who attends Clemson University, likes to see me wearing orange, which might be a bit confusing if I’m in the stands on Oct. 22 when the Tigers play the Syracuse Orangemen. No, as you’ve probably guessed by now, it’s because of all those orange “cone zones” on the highways I’ve been traveling this summer! The orange is everywhere, whether I’m on Highway 10/371 going north or Highway 55/52 going south, heading east or west. If the color is consistently orange, then the…

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A few days ago, I was pondering my next subject for this article while, at the same time, the parable of the good Samaritan was approaching on the horizon of my preaching calendar.  Just then, much to my surprise, WCCO-AM radio talk show host Chad Hartman came on the air in my mancave announcing, “Today the subject for our consideration is, ‘Not caring is not an option!’”  You can imagine the title referring to any number of social concerns that could have been on the discussion docket for the day, from gun violence to Roe v. Wade or the war…

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It was midsommar in Sweden when the phone rang at 4 a.m. in our Stockholm hotel room.  Because we were just 500 miles from the Arctic Circle on the first day of summer in this land of the “midnight sun,” it was bright as day outside our window when our son Nathan called. “Hi, Dad … I thought you’d want to know Pastor Paul Youngdahl from Mount Olivet Lutheran Church died today.”   I didn’t fall back to sleep after that message but got up early to bring the message to our Gustavus Adolphus College president, who was leading the college board and…

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Eden Prairie Cemetery. Since 1876 the Cannon Falls Beacon has covered almost every happening in town and the surrounding townships, including two counties that border the city limits. After checking the obituaries, I usually turn to the ‘Yesteryear’ full-page recapitulation of area news stories from 15, 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago, where I often find a person, place or event that sparks a special memory. We’ve been able to do some reaching-back stories in this all-new EP Local News, but we don’t have a continuous, uninterrupted archive from which to draw. Memorial Day beckons us to very special…

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As I write today, on April 24, it’s Eastern Orthodox Easter Sunday in Ukraine, one week later than on our Church Calendar; in the east, based on the Julian calendar rather than on the Gregorian calendar in the west. The Easter faith is the same, with just the timing being different. With the smoke and ashes of battle in the air and ruins of bombed-out buildings all around, I’m left wondering how believers can gather for worship in churches and even how delicate Ukrainian Easter eggs survive. Yet pictures we see and stories we read tell of a resilient people…

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Early in the morning before the dawn on the first day of spring, my dad died 25 years ago … and amazingly, my brother Don who lived in Florida, was also there with all six of us boys in the family! On this special anniversary, it’s a Sunday, remembering the Lord’s Resurrection before the dawn on the first day of the week … and this year, brother Don is there with Dad again, in heaven! Praise the Lord! Brother Brad, who still lives with his family in his own house on our farm, remembers getting called in the middle of…

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The case can certainly be made that our society, and even the whole world, has been grieving our way through this global pandemic together. Why wouldn’t we turn to classic and seminal writings on grief by Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross? She delineates five stages we process when we experience loss — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  We can recognize we’re on this grief journey when we hear ourselves saying, “Oh no! Why me! What if? Poor me! and My life will go on!” It’s the “What if” bargaining stage that asks tricky questions like, What if the cancer had been…

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Ask me, “Which is the longest season?” I’d answer liturgically, “Pentecost.” It’s longer than Easter, which is seven weeks; Lent, which is six weeks; Advent, which is four weeks; or Christmas, which is 12 days. You might answer, “spring, summer, fall or winter,” but they’re all the same — each 13-week seasons. Or your answer might even be about the fishing or hunting season, growing season or harvest season, but in this article, I’m focused on the NFL 2021-2022 season. Have you noticed that the regular football season expanded from 16 to 17 games this year? Who cares? Well, players…

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