Editor’s Introduction: Surrogacy

Work on this issue of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics began while I was an intern at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America last summer for the Theological Discernment Team. I was given the task of beginning the editorial process for a future issue. As someone with a strong interest in feminist theology and issues pertaining to women, surrogacy (particularly commercial surrogacy) was a captivating topic. It raised a number of thought-provoking questions…

Surrogate Mothers in India — Are they empowered or exploited? A discussion from a feminist perspective

In her article, Surekha Nelavala compares surrogacy practices in India to those in North America. Writing from a feminist perspective, she contrasts surrogate mothers in North America who give “a priceless gift to the intended parents,” with the Indian fertility clinics, often dubbed “baby factories.” The thrust of the article deals with the dilemma that, while providing much needed income to many Indian families and thereby temporarily empowering surrogate mothers, the practices of the Indian surrogacy industry exploit and objectify surrogate mothers, often having disastrous and life-threatening effects on their lives and their families.

Editor’s Introduction – Wise as Serpents, Innocent as Doves: Forming Counter-Cultural Christians in an Age of Consumer Media / Advertising

[1] Viral marketing, product placement, and extensive consumer data gathering enable consumer advertising to reach its tentacles of influence deep into our lives. Disposable income and malleable social identity make youth a desirable demographic for commercial advertising. Unless they have the power to question and resist, youth can be formed into ultimate consumers. [2] Aware […]

Commodifying the Child: a historical look at the idolatry of the market and the Truth we have to tell

[1] This edition of JLE is devoted to an ethical consideration of the relationship between consumerism, advertising and young people in the first third of life. Consumer advertising can be viewed from many different ethical angles. Perhaps the most obvious ethical questions relate to areas such as the social, political and environmental limits of consumerism, […]

Contesting the Formative Power of Consumer Culture: Problems, Resources, Possibilities

[1] One of the most insidious aspects of the omnipresent advertising and branding that rule the lives of children and youth is the way it perpetuates a vastly diminished understanding of life in human society. Advertising portrays a world in which there is no poverty, there are no workers (and if there are workers, they […]

Behind the Online Curtain: Online Advertising, Teens and the Christian Form

[1] The advertising world has always been a bit of a mystery to me. I understand the concept of telling others about your product or service so that they might buy it. But the industry has exploded over the last several decades as I’ve crossed from my young adulthood of the 80’s and 90’s and […]

Shop the Fear Away, Girls! Man Up, Boys!

[1] Their sheer pervasiveness makes it hard to believe that Disney Princesses, reality television, toy commercials demanding that boys are “just different,” and the pinking of all things “girly” only took a commanding hold of our consumer culture after those jets brought down the World Trade Center towers live on morning television ten years ago. […]

Adolescent Identity in the midst of Malls and — living in an alternative economy

Today’s young people are being socialized in a culture that projects a distorted sense of identity and agency. [1] Let me explain. Joyce Mercer, a practical theologian and professor of Christian education, makes the bold and startling assertion that American capitalism has remade and restructured childhood.1 Branded at an early age, young people are socialized […]

Identity in Youth — Answers from a Therapist

What goes into a young person’s sense of identity? [1] Far and away the most pivotal influence on a young person’s identity is their family. As kids mature they are influenced by how their parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, cousins define them. Kids are like sponges. They soak up how we describe them and live in […]

Reality Bites Back: We Can Fight Back

[1] If, as I did, you used to have a subscription to People magazine (before I had children and lost all access to leisure time), and watched Real Housewives of Orange County before it became a franchise, this is the book for you. If, on the other hand, you’ve been living under a rock, don’t […]