Author: Ronald W. Duty

Ronald W. Duty is the former Assistant Director for Studies in Church in Society at the ELCA, and is now a private scholar.

The Forgotten Luther: Reclaiming the Social-Economic Dimension of the Reformation (Lutheran University Press, 2016)

[1] In his piece in this book, Carter Lindberg quotes Luther from his commentary on Deuteronomy: “’The poor you always have with you,’” quoting John 12:8, “just as you will have all other evils. But constant care should be taken that, since these evils are always in evidence, they are always opposed.”[1] Thus, for Luther, […]

Testing the National Covenant: A Covenantal Political Ethic for Lutherans?

Introduction [1] “The self and the social are the two great idols,” as Simone Weil’s memorable aphorism about our time puts it.1 In his compelling argument in Testing the National Covenant, William F. May explores how our current fears and appetites feed our collective idolatry of both the individual self and the economy in American […]

Human Genetics: Threads from a Conversation

[1] In 2000, ELCA’s Studies Department in Church in Society held a consultation on human cloning. In the publication of the papers that followed,[1] project director Roger A. Willer created a literary form to summarize the discussions that followed the oral presentation of each of the papers at the consultation. He called it “Threads from […]

Introduction to the August Issue

[1] This issue of JLE focuses on human genetics. The articles were first presented to the 2009 Annual Gathering of Lutheran Ethicists held last January at the Cenacle Retreat and Conference Center in Chicago. [2] The topic was chosen because of the ongoing work of the ELCA Task Force on Genetics which is charged with […]

The Right to Property and Daily Bread: Thinking with Luther about Human Economic Rights

Introduction [1] The right to property stands at the cusp of legal and economic rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[1] It also stands, therefore, at the cusp of personal life and the public dimensions of life lived in the economic and political spheres of society. Enjoying a right to property is not only […]

Human Rights and Family

[1] This double issue of JLE focuses on both human rights and family. The set of articles on human rights was occasioned by observance of the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The set of articles on family is occasioned by the discussion of family in the […]

Discussing Human Sexuality: Issue Editor’s Introduction

[1] This month’s issue focuses on human sexuality. Forty-five Lutheran ethicists, pastors, presenters, and others assembled for the 14th Annual Gathering of Lutheran Ethicists at the Catholic Conference and Formation Center in Dallas on January 3-5 to discuss this topic. They gathered with a self-conscious eye to the ELCA’s process to develop a social statement […]

Lutherans in Public—Threads from a Conversation

[1] “Lutherans in Public” focused on how Lutherans have been, how they are or are not, and how they ought to be participants in the public realm, both as a church and as individual members of it. It was the theme of the 2006 Annual Gathering of Lutheran Ethicists in Scottsdale, Arizona, in January of […]

JLE Portfolio: Just Peace and Just Peacemaking

[1] We have a special focus on just peace and just peacemaking in this issue. Mark Hanson, President of the Lutheran World Federation and Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, called for theological work among the member communions on principles of a just peace in his September 2004 President’s Address to the Lutheran World Federation Council. […]

Vulnerability and Security: Threads from a Conversation

1] Vulnerability and Security-the theme of the 2005 Lutheran Ethicists Gathering in Miami-focused on nation-states and other actors in international affairs. Three major events and probably several minor ones helped frame this discussion. The major events (from an American perspective) were the Al Qaeda terrorist attack on the United States of September 11, 2001, the […]

JLE Portfolio: Reflections on End of Life Decisions

[1] The long tragic case of Terri Shiavo recently produced an outpouring of response throughout the United States. Her death was reported on April 1, 2005, nearly two weeks after life support was removed in accord with a court order. Terri Shiavo suffered severe brain damage in 1990 when she collapsed at home after suffering […]

A Review of Having: Property and Possession in Religious and Social Life by William Schweiker and Charles Matthewes

[1]If property is a relation among persons with respect to things, as Morris Cohen says,[1] possession in the human realm is a relation among persons and things commonly called having. The distinction is as important as their connections. Both notions and their relations are explored in this welcome collection of essays coming out of a […]

Lutheran Contributions to Bioethics: Threads from a Conversation

[1] The 2004 Gathering of Lutheran Ethicists on January 7-8 in Chicago focused on the topic “Lutheran Contributions to Bioethics.” Discussion papers from that gathering are posted elsewhere in this issue of JLE. This report aims to pull together threads from the conversation at the gathering around this topic so that not only the papers […]

Introduction: The Search for Just Peacemaking

[1] My recent research trip to the U. S. Virgin Islands was a window to the complexity of the pervasive violence that marks our lives. In the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center, all passengers were routinely subjected to electronic body scans, and all carry-on luggage was searched by hand not only […]