Book Review: 4D Formation: Exploring Vocation in Community by Andrew Tucker

[1] Quite often church leaders and academics find themselves challenged to interpret the theological dialogue on vocation to their colleagues or students. Some theologians make painstaking attempts to bring abstract theological concepts into modern contexts and everyday parlance.  Andrew Tucker is one of those theologians. When I learned that his book 4D Formation: Exploring Vocation […]

Editor’s Introduction: Protecting Children: What Is the Role of the ELCA?

[1] This issue of JLE, which publishes the papers given at this year’s Gathering of Lutheran Ethicists, is a call to action to the ELCA on behalf of children.  We feature two renowned experts on this topic, Victor Vieth and Marcia Bunge, who were the speakers at the gathering in January. [2] In December, our […]

Providing Pastoral Care to Survivors of Child Abuse

 “Why did God let me suffer the agonies of [child abuse]? Why did God not intervene when I cried out to him night after night for relief? I have imagined at times my guardian angel pulling on God’s sleeve and saying ‘Don’t you hear little Wesley? Don’t you see his pitiful tears? Can’t you do […]

Panel Discussion on Child Welfare: Lutheran Ethicists’ Gathering 2024

[1] The Lutheran Ethicists’ Network invited a panel of three practitioners to share their insights on the issue of children’s welfare at the Lutheran Ethicists Gathering. [2] Cheryl Collins, CEO of Holy Family Ministries, Principal of Holy Family School in Chicago, gave a report titled: “The Maltreatment of Children:  Protecting our Future Leaders Is Everyone’s […]

For Congregational Discussion: Protecting Children: What Is the Role of the ELCA?

FOR CONGREGATIONAL DISCUSSION Please note: Congregations looking to have discussions on child abuse and its prevention might also look to the discussion guide in the December 2023 issue: Each of the essays in this issue might be occasions for a discussion within a congregation that wishes to consider new ways of thinking and new […]

Book Review: The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet by Jeff Goodell

[1] On the jacket, Al Gore calls this book “entertaining”—which stunned me.  Al, didn’t you rattle our cages fifteen years ago—inconveniently!—to the dangers of climate change?  So what are you thinking now?  Should we be seeking to be entertained when reading about extreme heat, which kills almost half a million people a year worldwide—twice as […]

New! Journal of Lutheran Ethics: The Podcast, Episode 1

This issue features a first for the Journal of Lutheran Ethics – a new podcast to accompany this month’s articles! Host Rev. Matthew Best talks with Rev. Dr. Craig L. Nessan of Wartburg Theological Seminary about the prevalence of child abuse and the need for the ELCA to become a trauma-informed church. “I want our […]

Editor’s Introduction: Grief, Mourning, and Distress and the Search for Spiritual Care

[1] The Latin word salus, which means salvation, also means health, safety, and security. It is the word from which the English word salve comes. And it is a salve that so many seek. A salve for the souls that are in such dis-ease. Yes, we know that we are saved eschatologically, but right now, […]


The Need for Mourning [1] Recently my aunt died, and I traveled to attend her viewing and funeral. Funeral related travel offers a mix of emotions – sadness over the loss of a loved one, fond memories of my aunt from my youth, and genuine gladness over being able to see family that I don’t […]

The Gift of Spiritual Guidance

 What is a Spiritual Guide?: [1] Spiritual Guides are sometimes called Spiritual Directors, sometimes Spiritual Companions, even the term Spiritual Life Coach is being tried by some of my peers in search for ways to share this gift of holy listening in a culture that does not widely recognize Spiritual Guidance as a modality for […]