Author: Jennifer Hockenbery

Jennifer Hockenbery serves as Editor of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics .  She is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Humanities at St Norbert College. She attends Grace Lutheran Church in Green Bay, WI. 

For Congregational Discussion: August/September 2022: Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexuality

[1] This issue of Journal of Lutheran Ethics brings up a number of distinct topics for consideration and discussion all under the theme of Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sexuality and the larger ethical question: How might we help our neighbor flourish as the person God intends them to be?  The following sets of reflection […]

Editor’s Introduction

[1] Gender is at least one of the major theological, philosophical, and ethical issues of our age. On one hand, the issue’s complexity means that conversation and study is often difficult. Some congregations and individuals have simply chosen not to discuss questions that pertain to gender identity, expression, and sexuality out of fear that such […]

For Congregational Discussion April/May 2022: Restorative Justice: Prospects for Transformation & Penitence

Topics of racism and justice are some of the most difficult to discuss for Americans.  One way to start a discussion is to use a dialogic method of discussion.  Such a method asks small groups to agree to speak and to listen on a topic following a certain order that encourages time for silence between […]

Editor’s Introduction April/May 2022: Restorative Justice: Prospects for Transformation & Penitence

[1] On January 6, 2022, the Lutheran Ethicists gathered by Zoom before the virtual annual meeting of the Society for Christian Ethics.  The topic was about the nature and possibility of justice in America after nearly 250 years of slavery and not quite 160 years of post-slavery systemic racism.  This issue of JLE presents the […]

For Congregational Discussion: Pastoral Ethics

[1] Each issue, the editorial staff at JLE create questions to spark conversation for adult education and to inspire thoughtful contemplation and reflection for individual readers.  Because of the topic of this edition, many of these questions might be especially fruitful for conversation in the congregational setting as members consider constructive approaches to challenges in […]

Editor’s Introduction, February/March 2022: Pastoral Ethics

[1] In this season of Epiphany, North Americans experience the continued darkness of winter but can see the faint glimmer of light on the Eastern sky a little earlier each morning.  This winter, we are all trying to mitigate the forces that keep us separated from each other: the highly transmissible Omicron variant of Covid-19 […]

Congregational Discussion Guide: 2020-2021, A Retrospective

For Congregational Dialogue: [1] In this retrospective issue, we are republishing two activities for adult education on these topics.  The first is a group activity from the October 2019 issue on deliberative dialogue. The second is a personal meditative activity from the February 2020 issue on Faith, Reason, and Climate Change.   [2] A Deliberative […]

Editor’s Introduction: December 2021/January 2022, 2020-2021, A Retrospective

[1] As the secular year draws to a close and the new church year opens into the season of Advent it seems a fitting moment to take a pause and to reflect on the turbulent last two years. This issue of JLE, therefore, is not introducing a new topic but is instead drawing together some […]

Call for Papers 2022

Please consider submitting a paper proposal for the Journal of Lutheran Ethics.  For our submission guidelines, click here.  June, 2022 Summer Book Review Issue Please submit the title and a short description of a book you would like to review.  Please send proposals for reviews to Jennifer.Hockenbery@elca.org.  August, 2022  “Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexuality” Please consider […]

For Congregational Discussion: The Ethics of Pan-Lutheran Dialogue and Debate

[1] The Journal of Lutheran Ethics hopes to provide reading material to stimulate thinking and conversation among academics, clergy, and laity.  To this end, this section of JLE is designed to encourage constructive discussion within congregations about the topics discussed in JLE.  Consider using this section in formal adult education classes or in informal small […]

Editor’s Introduction October/November 2021: The Ethics of Pan-Lutheran Dialogue

[1] The news cycle continues to bewilder.  Listening to the news demands we think seriously about the central questions of ethics.  Philosophically and theologically we ask, “What ought we do?” Pragmatically, we ask, “What can we do?” As we think about our call to serve the common good, one important action is to build partnerships […]

Book Review: Stjerna, Kirisi.  Lutheran Theology: A Grammar of Faith. (NY: T&T Clark, 2021)

[1] In this issue of JLE, which is dedicated to the discussion of the vocation of ELCA colleges and seminaries, it is fitting to review Kirsi Stjerna’s new handbook on Lutheran theology, a textbook dedicated to her students. This book is, itself, a connection for the Lutheran college with the church and laity.  It provides […]

Congregational Discussion Guide: Lutheran Higher Education

These questions are written to spark conversation among readers in small groups or to inspire thoughtful contemplation and reflection for individual readers. Consider your own journey academically and spiritually. Whether you went to parochial or public schools and/or college, how did you see the convergence of your faith commitments and the way you used observation […]

Editor’s Introduction August/September 2021: Lutheran Higher Education, Rooted and Open

[1] When my son started thinking earnestly about college, he was pretty sure he wanted to major in biology and environmental science, but his high school studies had also centered around singing and playing the tuba.  I told him, that with a very few exceptions, the best liberal arts schools that, also, offered excellent music […]

Editor’s Introduction May 2021: Lutheran Ethicists’ Gathering Part II

[1] Last May, JLE published a special issue to address the ethical concerns raised due to Covid-19.  A year later, we are still in the pandemic.  Although Americans are being vaccinated quickly, (at the time of this publishing over 50% of adults over 18 have had at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine), cases […]

May 2021 Congregational Discussion Guide

[1] Per Anderson asserts in his essay, “Rejecting complacency, ELCA schools should focus upon responsible citizenship in response to crises of polarization and distrust that threaten U.S. democracy.”  He asks readers to contemplate, “How should ELCA colleges and universities commit to responsible learning form students for a post-COVID-19 world?” Consider a memorable experience you had […]

Editor’s Introduction: April/May 2021

[1] Christ is Risen, Christ is risen indeed.  Hallelujah. [2] Never before in my life have I felt so palpably the national and global need for the good news of Easter.  This is the good news that God has faced all that we face, suffered all that we suffer, died as we will die and […]

Editor’s response to the February 2021 Issue

[1] The February 2021 Issue of JLE was intended to create a place for diverse opinions and deeper deliberations about racism, justice, and equity in the ELCA at a time when the nation is reeling with both systemic racism and racist violence. The issue more than missed this mark.  It created a painful distraction for […]

Racism, Justice, and Mercy: For Congregational Discussion

[1] One of the hardest things for congregations to do is to talk about race.  It is the hope of JLE that the following ideas for discussions or study sessions based on the articles in this issue can provide a helpful direction. [2] Ted Peters and Timothy Hoyer both wrote articles that claim that the […]

Editor’s Introduction

[1] “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) [2] Riots at the Capitol on Epiphany interrupted Congress as it was beginning to certify a democratic election.  The riots […]

Congregational Discussion Questions: Gun Violence and Childhood Trauma

​Because this issue centers around the questions of trauma and childhood, readers might consider engaging high school and middle school youth groups in their study and discussions of these issues.  These conversations might need to be done in virtual formats or on discussion boards during the pandemic. Questions for adults to ask older children: What […]

Editor’s Introduction: Gun Violence and Childhood Trauma

[1] “The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.  They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11: […]

Editor’s Introduction: Women’s Ordination August/September 2020

[1] August 18, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of women’s right to vote in the United States. November 20, 2020 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first woman’s ordination in a Lutheran church in the United States.  Despite Lutheran views about two kingdoms and American views about the separation of church and […]

A Note from the Editor: June/July 2020

[1] Last October when the JLE Advisory Council met to plan the issues for 2020 we decided to put the summer book review issue in June.  We, or at least I, envisioned professors on summer break from classes having time to peruse new books on the beach while pastors and lay leaders had a more relaxed […]

Congregational Discussion Guide: COVID-19

For Congregational Discussion   [1] The Journal of Lutheran Ethics hopes to provide reading material to stimulate thinking and conversation among academics, clergy, and laity. To this end, this section of JLE is provided in order to encourage constructive discussion within congregations about the topics discussed in JLE.  Consider using this section in formal adult […]

Editor’s Introduction: Lutheran Theology and the Relationship between Church and State

[1] If it is true that many people consider it impolite to talk publically about religion or politics, then perhaps no topic is going to be more improper to discuss than the topic of the proper relationship of church and state. Yet, both articles in this issue all call Lutherans to talk publically about their […]

Editor’s Introduction: Faith, Science, and Climate Change

[1] The calendar has rolled over into 2020, starting a new year and a new decade that many had hoped would be marked with clear 20/20 vision. But January 1st did not bring a sudden clearing of our eyes and of the air. Instead there has been marked political turmoil and fiery natural disasters. Our smart […]

Introducing Myself as the New Editor of JLE

​ [1] In June, I was officially hired to begin as the new editor of Journal of Lutheran Ethics.  While, this August issue is designed and edited by our book editor, Nancy Arnison, I was asked to use this opportunity to introduce myself to the regular readers of JLE.  I am privileged and delighted by […]