African American/African Diaspora

Review: Womanist Sass and Talk Back: Social (In)justice, Intersectionality, and Biblical Interpretation. By Mitzi J. Smith

​ [1] Scriptures and their interpretations are highly influential in forming the norms of a culture. The act of scriptural interpretation has long fallen into the hands of those who hold positions of privilege and power, yielding readings that either affirm the status quo or further benefit the privileged sectors of society. Those who are […]

Resolution in loving memory of the Rev. Dr. James Kenneth Echols

May 26, 1951 – December 22, 2018 No matter what your trials are, or how big your mountain seems; The Lord is there to see you through; To go to all extremes. So if your cross seems hard to bear, and you know not what to do; The One who loves you most of all will […]

Review: Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance (Baylor University Press, 2014)

[1] This book reestablishes Williams’s doctoral dissertation work at Fuller Theological Seminary, entitled: “Christ-Centered Empathic Resistance: The Influence of Harlem Renaissance Theology on the Incarnational Ethic of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.” Williams’ exploration is a welcome journey into a domain of praxiological substance in a contemporary age where vain ideologies, boisterous pathologies, and impotent philosophies have become […]

Review: A Child Shall Lead Them: Martin Luther King, Jr., Young People, and The Movement (Fortress Press, 2014)

[1] Rufus Burrow Jr.’s A Child Shall Lead Them is about the courage and contributions made by black children and youth, and some whites (282), in the struggle for civil and human rights in the United States. We see in this narrative how black children, youth and others aided the efforts of Martin Luther King […]

Editor’s Introduction: #BlackLivesMatter

That black lives matter should be obvious but unfortunately it is not. Black Lives Matter is not simply a rhetorical expression coined by a few. It is in fact an existential cry with deeply spiritual roots. Born from the depths of centuries of collective oppression (remember slavery, indentured servitude, Jim Crow,) it is an expression of the groans of the Spirit of which Paul spoke, the collective prayer of a people demanding their right to exist, their inalienable right to be.

black ruminations

Less can be more. Newman’s poetry speaks from the heart of the pain of oppression in a way that an academic article could not reach, not matter the world count. ​​We know that the personal is policitcal, but Newman’s work brings home the fact that the polictical is also intensely personal for so many voices not lifted up by mainstream media.​

A City Unraveled: The Baltimore Riots and the Response of the Faith Community

Though we hear about events like the riots in Baltimore on the news, opportunities to hear from those on the ground are more difficult to find. The Journal of Lutheran Ethics has the honor of welcoming Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane to write about his experience as a member of the faith community responding to the injustice and protests in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. What should the role of the church be in a society broken by racism?

The Role of Church for Such a Time as This

We live in a society whose prosperity stems from an economy infused with money from the slave trade and the labor of enslaved peoples. The effects of that on people today have not disappeared, but have gone underground where they are harder to name. White eloquently lays out how racism is a sin that we need to name and work against today along with a strategy for people of faith to work together to create a world of healing and justice.

A Black Lutheran Perspective on Poverty and Plenty


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Excerpted from the official statement of the Conference of International Black Lutherans’ second meeting, “A Message from Bulawayo,” this piece discusses the complex social, economic, and political forces that create the crisis of poverty worldwide. Though the message was published in 1997, its contents are still frighteningly relevant today. ​

Derek R. Nelson’s What’s Wrong with Sin? Sin in Individual and Social Perspective from Schleiermacher to Theologies of Liberation

[1] Anyone privy to undergraduates working their way toward understanding social or structural sin is familiar with the questions that give rise to Derek R. Nelson’s What’s Wrong with Sin? How can a system/structure/society sin? How do we talk about sin if everyone/no one is guilty of sin? Who is sinning in a sinful structure? […]