Author: Per Anderson

Per Anderson is professor emeritus of religion at Concordia College. He has participated often in institution building and thought formation for the ELCA and Lutheran World Federation, including co-chairing the ELCA social statement task force on genetics. He currently serves on the board of directors for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and is working on a book on Lutheran collegiate education entitled “Learning for the Life of the World.”

From Controlling Guns to Making Peace: An Assessment of ELCA Social Policy and Public Witness

American gun violence today [1] On an average day, gunshots injure more than 300 Americans. 200 survive while more than 100 perish. In 2021, 47,000 Americans died from guns, an increase of 44% over the last decade. This loss exceeds record highs in the 1990s, although death rates today remain slightly lower. Males account for […]

Responsible Lutheran Liberal Education After the COVID-19 Catastrophe: A Short Reflection

[1] How should ELCA colleges and universities committed to responsible learning form students for a post-COVID-19 world?  Pandemics, says Laura Spinney, illuminate and exacerbate social needs.[1]  Citizens respond in panic.  They quickly forget when plague ends and return to complacency.  Still, pandemics change societies.  They can be an inflection point and even a portal from […]

The Courage to Network

Education matters considerably for the Lutheran movement. Consistent with the Reformers, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) teaches a dual calling “to educate people in the Christian faith for their vocation and to strive with others to ensure that all have access to high quality education that develops personal gifts and abilities and serves the common good.” “This calling,” says the ELCA social statement on education, “embraces all people in both Church and society.” Since April 2013, following Church Council action to establish a Theological Education Advisory Council (TEAC), ELCA leaders have undertaken actions that I believe could engender radical change to make education in the Christian faith essential and universal in this church. While yet unknown in the congregations, this work has moved from study and recommendations to early design that seeks a new church for new times. The Lutheran movement should become a network that serves a democratic turn to theological education for the whole people of God.

Congregational Moral Deliberation as Next Public Church

​The concept of a community of moral deliberation is a unique philosophy of the ELCA. Anderson locates how the ELCA at a denomination level lives out this ethic and explores the possibilities of congregations becoming the source of the ELCA’s energy regarding commununal moral deliberation. The need for local communities to explore theology and social issues is increasingly pressing as a new generation is coming of age with more individualistic attitudes.​

Sufficient, Sustainable Lifespan for All: Responsible Biotechnology and ELCA Social Thought

Life-Extension: Past, Present, and Future [1] At the beginning of the 20th century, the average life expectancy in the United States was 48 years. One hundred years later, it is 78. This change came from public health gains: sanitation, diet, immunization, antibiotics. Americans did not decide in 1900 to pursue 30 more years on Earth. […]

Deliberation, Holism, and Responsibility: Moral Life in the ELCA

A Special Calling in History [1] In 1998, in a series essay on the 21st century in Atlantic Monthly, Bill McKibben examines the population question and concludes as follows: The bottom-line argument goes like this: The next fifty years are a special time. They will decide how strong and healthy the planet will be for […]