Articles

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 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 […]

We Want Justice: Retributive, Distributive, and Restorative Justice

[1] I want to begin with a difficult and inexplicable truth: white racism is alive and well in the institutional and cultural life of the United States of America. Since the death of George Floyd, there have been multiple calls for racial reckoning in the United States and around the globe. [1] These calls reveal […]

On Pardon, Reparations, and a Politics of Penitence

[1] In this essay I want to ask how a person who identifies as white and Christian might live in the United States amidst the ongoing legacies of slavery.[i] There are countless other questions before us—questions about the shape of Black lives, not least!—and I do not want to pretend that the questions of this […]

Book Review: Christianity, Social Justice, and the Japanese American Incarceration during World War II by Anne M. Blankenship

[1] Our personal security is more of a fantasy than we can comfortably admit, and appeals to national security can conceal the darkest chambers of social bigotry. Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt eighty years ago on February 19, 1942, devastated the lives of more than 100,000 Americans of Japanese descent (Nikkei) […]

How Do We Start Again?:  Reconsidering Pastoral Ethics in the ELCA from the Vantage Point of Interim Ministry

[1] As a pastor in the LCA ordained in 1981 now serving in the ELCA, I experienced the embodied pastoral ethics of Vison and Expectations as being too weighted in scope and emphasis on sexual ethics so that all other ethical considerations were overwhelmed.  Today, with the demise of Vision and Expectations, there remains a […]

Sacrilege: Side-Hustles and Non-Living-Wage Work

[1] When I was growing up, I remember hearing the theme song to the popular American television show Cheers proclaim: “Making your way in the world today takes everything you got.” For many people across the world, in wildly different contexts, that sentence rings profoundly, and sadly, true. Humans endure unsustainably long workdays at a […]

Agapic Love, Social Media, and Clergy Ethics

[1] Social media platforms have fast become essential, embedded institutions. By the term “social media” I’m referring to web-based platforms that host individuals and communities, these include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, WeChat, WhatsApp, MeWe, Tumblr, Reddit, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, Meetup, Medium, Quora, and Twitch. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2005, 5% of […]

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 […]

Book Review: Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents by Rod Dreher

[1] In 1989, Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon published Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony, arguing that the end of Christendom in the West arrived in Greenville, South Carolina, the night the Fox Theatre opened on a Sunday evening. “The Fox Theatre went head to head with the church over who would provide the […]