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Church and Life is a periodical which seeks to be consistent with the philosophy and theology of N.F.S. Grundtvig. While the publication’s roots are Danish and Lutheran, its readers and contributors include many who are neither.
The culture of the “Happy Danes” was experienced in the United States by immigrants committed to the Danish folk tradition of the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church, later named the American Evangelical Lutheran Church.
While the folk church of Church and Life has not existed as an entity for more than 40 years, much of its spirit continues. (A brief history of Church and Life)
Walter Capps, theologian and congressman (1934–1997), characterized the Grundtvigian tradition as:
Church and Life publishes poems, stories, book reviews and editorials which articulate these values.
Grundtvig is known for his famous phrase: “Human first; then Christian.” Our common humanity is the basis for freedom, equality and dignity. Christ is found in the living community rather than in any book. Personal freedom and community are of the highest value. Sermons and articles published in Church and Life reflect this tradition .
Grundtvig wrote many beautiful hymns and songs. The phrase “a simple life, a merry heart” in our tagline comes from Grundtvig’s “Simplicity of Life” as translated by S.D., Rodholm:
Give me a simple life, a merry heart,
And kings may keep their pomp and garments splendid;
Let me in hut or mansion live the part
Of one from worthy ancestors descended.
With eye for things above as God ordained,
Awake to greatness, goodness, truth and beauty,
Yet knowing well the yearnings unattained,
Thro’ knowledge, great achievement, deeds and duty.
But we may not expect the ripened fruit
Except through growth, the law of all creation;
In spring we see the green and tender shoot
In early summer like a revelation;
A burst of glory, flowers bright unfold;
Then through the sunny summer days appearing
The fruit matures for harvest: so the soul
Is only step by step its harvest nearing.
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