Meet Pastor Dan
Pastor Dan Forsgren and his family arrived in North Idaho October, 2014. Dan and Sarah have been married for 18 years, and have three children: Donny (16), Karis (12), and William (10).
Leading this Coeur d'Alene congregation includes Sunday morning messages to our children, and all manner of faith formation, including the occasional stint as a Christmas extra!
"Surely there has never been a generation in the course of human history with so little ground under its feet as our own. Every conceivable alternative seems equally intolerable. We try to escape from the present by looking entirely to the past or to the future for our inspiration, and yet, without indulging in fanciful dreams, we are able to wait for the success of our cause in quietness and confidence. It may be, however, that the responsible, thinking people of earlier generations who stood at a turning-point of history felt just as we do, for the very reason that something new was being born which was not discernible in the alternatives of the present.” - - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
I used this passage to begin my devotion as we started our last Council meeting. I will say to you the same thing I told those members of council who were gathered that evening: That I feel a little silly quoting this particular passage from Bonhoeffer, knowing where he was and what was going on in the world when he wrote it. From within the fences of a Nazi prison camp Bonhoeffer wrote these words, in the midst of a World War. What right do I have to read them, to more than read them to feel them in the midst of our current situation? Perhaps Bonhoeffer had similar feelings writing these words though, in fact I’m sure he did, I am sure he understood that those responsible, thinking people of earlier generations existed in their own circumstances, and dealt with the situations of their day.
Things truly are relative. I have lived a fairly sheltered life when I compare my almost 45 years on this planet to all that Bonhoeffer went through in his short 39 years. That does not mean though, that the hardships I, the
hardships our generations have endured, are enduring, are any less important or impactful than those of the past…
they are just different.
I can say with confidence that I feel woefully unprepared when dealing with life in 2020. The uncertainties, the unrest, the feelings of a divided country, of being polarized by political issues when, it would seem to my simple understanding that our needs are better met being united, not separated. Perhaps that is a too idealistic way of thinking, but that is where I am, where I find myself existing, longing for something to unite us, something bigger than a political party; something not driven by personal gain or interest, but rather, for the common good of humanity.
It cannot be a pie in the sky, it is not; but until we, as a people, can get beyond the selfishness of “me” to see the collectiveness “we” that goal may remain just out of reach.
And yet I have hope. I must have hope. I hope that you have hope as well. Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans that, “hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (5:5) I believe God is constantly at work in the world, through you, through me, through our neighbor whoever that is; at work continuing to reconcile the world to Himself. Perhaps, a part of that work is letting go of the idea that God is on my side in any particular argument, and try to look beyond my limited sight to see the larger picture of this global community God claims as His own.
This month we recognize the 503rd anniversary of the Reformation. Martin Luther had a breakthrough in his own understanding of God’s Grace and lived into the freedom in Christ. Is that freedom for me and me alone? Or is that freedom about the limitless love and life abundant God has for all His creation, for all His children?
I think we know the answer.
Pastor Dan Forsgren