Meet George S . Johnson

George S . Johnson is a retired Lutheran pastor who lives with his wife, Vivian, in Irvine, California. After attending Augustana College, the Lutheran Bible Institute, and Luther Seminary, he was ordained in 1962. He later earned a master of theology from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, where his thesis was on the theology of P. T. Forsyth, a Scottish theologian. He received his doctor of ministry degree from Claremont School of Theology in California. George served parishes in California and Minnesota for more than thirty years.
The Johnsons took their daughters, Sonja and Joy, with them to Sweden for a year in 1979, where George did independent study at the Dag Hammarskjöld Institute. George also traveled to other Scandinavian countries to study hunger and justice issues. When they returned to the States, George became the director of the Hunger Program for the former American Lutheran Church (1980–1987). He lectured on development education and liberation theology in South Africa and India.
George served as advisor to the Committee on Economic Justice at the 1984 Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation in Budapest, Hungary. He also accompanied C. Dean Freudenberger to Africa to study food, farming, and hunger issues. After retirement, he served as an interim pastor and became the director of Third World Opportunities, where he took groups to Mexico for consciousness raising and service. Reading, writing, preaching, lecturing, and travel have kept him connected and current on poverty, hunger, justice, and oppression issues.
George has written and published educational material for church groups and classes. At San Marcos Lutheran he taught “Practicing the Faith,” and at Irvine Congregational Church he taught “Gandhi, Bonhoeffer, and King,” as well as “Good News to the Poor.”
George received distinguished alumni awards from Augustana Academy and Claremont School of Theology. He is an ardent fan of the San Francisco Giants baseball team and an equally ardent fan of maple nut ice cream.
His published works include the following:
  • Courage to Think Differently (Bang Printing, 2013)
  • Beyond Guilt: Christian Response to Suffering, five printings (rev. ed., 2000)
  • How to Start Small Groups and Keep Them Going (Augsburg Fortress, 1995)
  • Following Jesus: Encouragement from the Beatitudes for a Troubled World (Augsburg Fortress, 1995)
  • Critical Decisions in Following Jesus: Sermons for Sundays after Pentecost (CSS, 1992)
  • Evangelism and the Poor: A Biblical Challenge for the Church, with Ana DeGarcia (Augsburg Fortress, 1986)