Christian Living, Discipleship, and/or Spirituality

Evil, Christianity, and Public Discourse

[1] It is one of the oldest conundrums of human thought: What is evil? What are the origins of evil-human, natural, supernatural? What is the character of evil-sin, suffering, catastrophe, death, oppression, war? How do we think about and experience evil and how does the Christian tradition shape the way we view evil and respond […]

Crafting an Ethic of Place: The Columbia River Pastoral Letter Project

1. Conflict [1] Throughout its history, conflict and contentiousness have characterized efforts to make public policy in the American West. Ours is a “legacy of conquest” as Patricia Nelson Limerick writes, in which Westerners with diverse interests and backgrounds engage in an “ongoing competition for legitimacy – for the right to claim for oneself and […]

Mickey Love at the Magic Kingdom

[1] At the close of the 2003 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, a video introducing the site of the 2005 Assembly in Orlando invited Lutherans to attend by using images drawn from Walt Disney World. This may have been an innocuous enough bit of marketing. In American popular culture Walt Disney is practically synonymous with “innocence,” and […]

Extinction and Sin

[1] Ambrose, mentor to Augustine, puts the question. His was another audience and time but seventeen centuries later the question still serves us well. Why do the injuries of nature delight you? The world has been created for all, while you rich are trying to keep it for yourselves. Not merely the possession of the […]

In, With, and Under: The Lutheran Tradition and the Teaching of Christian Ethics

[1] The study of Christian ethics can be a contentious undertaking at church-related colleges, particularly if students come from diverse religious backgrounds. Does the professor instill students with the doctrines of the specific Christian tradition of the college, expose them to a variety of Christian traditions, include other religious and philosophical perspectives? What about those […]

A Review of Law, Life, and the Living God: The Third Use of the Law in Modern American Lutheranism by Scott R. Murray

[1] Scott R. Murray, currently a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod pastor in Houston, Texas, began this book as a dissertation at New Orleans Baptist Seminary. His work was motivated initially by what he perceived as an ethical libertinism in the ELCA’s human sexuality studies of the early 1990s. The goal of this book is to […]

Christ and the World on the Sources of Social Ethics

[1] During the last three decades the discussion on the role of religion in politics has attracted increasing attention. Due to both theoretical and political causes this question has become increasingly pressing – and difficult. The question is a demanding one, due not only to the implications it raises for social ethics but also for […]

An Interview with Robert Holland

JLE: You have been involved in the ethics around business and corporations for a long time…. how do you see the field changing? Have the issues changed, have approaches changed, have priorities changed? BH: I see this question as a call for the history of the development of business ethics. The field of business ethics […]

Doing Business Ethics in the Congregation

[1] For most congregations, the business world is unfamiliar terrain, and the very idea of any particular business-oriented ministry may seem foreign. But since the moral turbulence in the business world shows no signs of ebbing, congregations may want to develop some form of ministry focused upon the world of business. This ministry will look […]

What does it mean to be “Church?” The mission of the Church in Light of Three Biblical Images

[1] When theologians speak of the “mission of the Church” they usually try to describe what the Church is to do in the particular environment in which it is found. Of course, there are many biblical texts that provide direction for this: the Church is to make disciples by baptizing people from all nations and […]