Book Review Introduction

This month our three book reviews address guns and political beliefs.  The first two books offer insights directly relevant to gun violence and gun control debates.  These books are reviewed by two ELCA pastors living in Montana.  Rev. Jean Larson, who also served as Faith Outreach Leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in […]

Review: The Marvelous Mustard Seed

The Marvelous Mustard Seed by Amy-Jill Levine, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, and Margauz Meganck || As a parish pastor I am constantly on the lookout for resources to support faith formation for the children in my congregation. Among my favorite resources is children’s literature. Children’s literature, good children’s literature, is a powerful way to engage children. Through literature, children are able to enter into realities far different from their own, contemplate ideas they have never before considered, or sometimes see their own lives from a different point of view. Just as Jesus’ parables lingered in the ears of his listeners, children can take ideas from books and live with them for a time. The challenge is finding the right books; books that demonstrate theological integrity and biblical accuracy with a developmental sensitivity. This is a tall order so I was delighted to discover The Marvelous Mustard Seed.

Review: Picture the Bible Curricula (First Congregational United Church of Christ, River Falls, WI)

[1] Several years ago three beautifully illustrated children’s books about baptism and the story of the Bible landed on my desk. As I read the accompanying letter I was introduced to the progenitor of the books, Rev. Dr. Stacy Johnson Myers, an ELCA and United Church of Christ pastor from Wisconsin. And she told me […]

Living in the Shadow of Empire: A Theological Reflection in Conversation with Indigenous Experience

Indian Residential Schools are a sinful part of Canada’s history that were facilitated and hidden by Empire. Bishop MacDonald explores the history of the schools as well as the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Reflecting on the context of Scripture, he uses the concepts of idolatry, systemic evil, and Empire to explore the role of Christians during the schools’ existence while calling on Christians today to examine their roles in relation to Empire. ​

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: 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 […]