Author: Larry Rasmussen

Larry Rasmussen is ​Reinhold Niebuhr Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, New York City

Lutheran Sacramental Imagination

After establishing that the Earth is entering a new period, the Anthropocene, Rasmussen uses the legacy of the Reformation, along with the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, to explore how humans need to enter a new Reformation in which we truly recognize the planet as sacred and treat it as such.

Climate Change as a Perfect Moral Storm

​Rasmussen writes that scientists have concluded that we have entered a new geological age due to human activity. We are now having a bigger impact on the natural environment than ever before, changing mountains, oceans, even the atmosphere itself. What should the moral or ethical response be when so-called natural disasters are the result of humans, particularly when the people who create the problems are not the people who suffer the worst effects?

Doing Our First Works Over

[1] James Baldwin wrote about “do[ing] our first works over.” “In the church I come from—which is not at all the same church to which white Americans belong—we were counseled, from time to time, to do our first works over.” “Go back to where you started, or as far back as you can, examine all […]

Yet Another Chance to Be Lutheran

[1] One can only extend a grateful hand and a word of appreciation to the Task Force for Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Studies on Sexuality. Its assignment was daunting, not to say volatile, and its work exacted long hours. Yet despite the most conscientious efforts, the Task Force did not reach consensus on the […]

In the Face of War

This article has been reprinted by permission from Sojourners Magazine. “In the Face of War” first appeared in Sojourners Magazine January 2005. [1] Our time – as every era – is a time of structured enemies. Yes, there are moments of true regard for the other, even moments of sheer poetry. Yet the fabric of […]

Singing “The Hymn of All Creation”

This address was given at Trinity Lutheran Seminary’s Commencement in May of 2003. Used with permission. [1] Exhausted faculty, indebted graduates, anxious development officers and president, relieved partners, children, parents, and friends, I am delighted to be your commencement speaker. [2] Such is the manner of a concocted commencement address by Garrison Keillor, who, after […]

Extinction and Sin

[1] Ambrose, mentor to Augustine, puts the question. His was another audience and time but seventeen centuries later the question still serves us well. Why do the injuries of nature delight you? The world has been created for all, while you rich are trying to keep it for yourselves. Not merely the possession of the […]