Articles

Call for Papers 2022


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Please consider submitting a paper proposal for the Journal of Lutheran Ethics.  For our submission guidelines, click here.  June, 2022 Summer Book Review Issue Please submit the title and a short description of a book you would like to review.  Please send proposals for reviews to Jennifer.Hockenbery@elca.org.  August, 2022  “Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexuality” Please consider […]

Review of Hans Joas, The Sacredness of the Person: A New Genealogy of Human Rights. Translated by Alex Skinner. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2013. 193pp.


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[1] The Sacredness of the Person: A New Genealogy of Human Rights, a monumental study of human rights as a value commitment, serves as the testing ground of Hans Joas’ theory of the “genesis of value commitments” developed in his earlier works The Genesis of Values and War and Modernity (originally published in German in […]

Anxiety, Atonement, and Vocation


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In the midst of those threats of life in this not-yet world that give rise to anxiety, even debilitating or all-consuming anxiety, Jesus calls for his followers to make the promise of God’s kingdom their ultimate concern. We experience the threats of life as real and anxiety producing; they are often essentials that need to be tended to. Yet we are still called to make trust in God’s promises the paramount force in our lives. Wolfhart Pannenberg in his early and still very useful lectures on anthropology, contrasts security and trust. The drive for security is the drive to control one’s life and one’s world. When this striving for control becomes an end in itself then security and one’s own efforts becomes the ultimate concern, perversely, the object of trust. The opposite is the trust of faith in the promises of God, an openness to God’s future kingdom made present in the Christ.

Narcissism Gone Wild or Religion 2.0?


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[1] A mere decade ago the quickest form of online communication was an AOL Messenger or email. Chat rooms were generally for those who were more tech savvy, while emails were growing in popularity in the business world and in higher education. Now if personal news has not been communicated via Facebook, Twitter, other social […]

The Question Concerning Metriopathic Technophilia


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When assessing technology with a view to religion, one ought not simply adopt the claims of gadget lovers or dystopians, but should attend thoughtfully to the broader system of affordances, perils, advantages, and costs (and to the probability that we will not identify those considerations correctly when we first deploy a particular technology) (para. 39). […]

Consumer Families, Virtue and the Common Good


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[1]The debate over what constitutes and how to live “family values” continues and revolves primarily around the meanings and practices of marriage. Receiving less attention is how Christian families, in whatever form, strive to live with justice and compassion in a culture that is increasingly characterized by individualism, unsustainable patterns of consumption, and competition.1 Rather […]

The New Freedom of Public Religion


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[1] The subtitle to Professor Benne’s perceptive article poses the question whether America’s civil religion is “destructive, useless, or beneficial.” It can be all three. Civil religion is “destructive” when it becomes monolithic and intolerant of denominational and religious diversity. Civil religion is “useless” when it is reduced to a “ceremonial deism” that is bleached […]

What is on the Horizon? What is Science Likely to be Doing in the Upcoming Years?


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[1] The goal of this paper is to provide information on some ways in which technology is impacting fundamental questions that affect how we view nature and humanity. Science impacts humanity in many broad ways, providing a greater understanding of the world around us. Each person is impacted by changes in medical practice regarding new […]

Review: A Church Undone: Documents from the German Christian Faith Movement, 1932-1940 (Fortress Press, 2015)


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[1] Mary Solberg, associate professor of religion at Gustavus Adolphus College, has done historians, theologians, and ethicists a great favor by selecting, editing, and translating more than twenty documents relating to the “German Christian” movement in Nazi Germany. The documents cover the period from 1932 to 1940, but are primarily from the early to mid-1930s. […]

Paul’s Mission to Rome’s Enemies the Gauls: Faith Welcoming Foreigners


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Introduction [2] Galatians teaches us about justification by faith, but also—and this is my thesis—more about God’s calling Paul on mission to ethnic others than we have perceived. Precisely in Galatians, Paul also teaches us about God’s ethnic inclusion of emigrants,[1] about valuing all ethnicities.[2] [3] First, I give a contemporary context to this reading […]