Christian Living, Discipleship, and/or Spirituality

Family First?

[1] We had finally gotten her off to college, we being the village that it took, pastor, social workers, vaguely present but unhelpful grandmother, and various church friends who responded to confidential appeals. We had deposited Keyshante 300 miles away, on the other side of the Mason-Dixon line from New Haven, CT. After years of […]

Luther on the Family

[1] It is fitting, if frustrating, to find myself working on this article while my pre-adolescent child is throwing a prolonged fit over her mother’s inability to accommodate one more companion animal in the household. I am a divorced single parent, currently getting a snootful about my maternal shortcomings. It comes with the territory of […]

Restoring Joy When Gladness of Marriage Becomes Overcast

[1] As a divorced and remarried clergy person, I appreciate yet sometimes recoil when, officiating at a wedding, I proclaim: “Because of sin, our age-old rebellion, the gladness of marriage can be overcast and the gift of the family can become a burden” (Lutheran Book of Worship, p. 203). [2] I appreciate that our marriage […]

How Does a Congregation Pray in a Time of War?

This essay results from a war-long discussion by an ethics class that met during winter and spring 2003, sponsored by the Alaska Lay School of Theology and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, and under the direction of Larry Jorgenson. A Nation Still at War [1] Our Vice President predicted that the Iraq war’s duration would be […]

I Want to Stay with my Baby

[1] I got a beep. My beeper was running. I found out a doctor wanted me to talk with a patient in the Labor and Delivery Unit. [2] I walked into the unit, read the chart, talk with the in- charge nurse. Then I entered the room, accompanied by a Spanish translator. [3] A woman […]

Prison Ministry

[1] Again this year, in our Lutheran congregations and in varied and diverse pastoral settings we will proclaim and announce the central message of Easter – the Lord Is Risen Indeed. Some will hear this message and intellectually conceptualize it as an abstract given in their faith. Others have come to know the reality of […]

Resurrection and Addiction: A New Paradigm

[1] In 1973 I began a year of Clinical Pastoral Education at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois. The director of the program, Rev. Ronald Leslie, told our group of CPE residents that if we spent a quarter of the year at the Alcoholism Rehabilitation Center (as it was called at the time), it […]

A Preface to Pastoral Care after Easter

What does this mean? Luther asks this of each of the Ten Commandments, each petition of the Lord’s Prayer, and the Creed in order to reveal the implications of our articles of faith. We ask this question of Easter Sunday in the context of pastoral care. What does it mean to us that our Lord […]

Foster Care and Adoption

[1] The miracle of Easter can only be known from the vantage point of Good Friday. Christ died for us. To experience the reality of death creates the potential to understand the incredible power of new life. Mary Magdalene’s view of Easter is born of that reality. So is the experience of Chau, a young […]

Loving my Neighbor in the Whole of God’s Creation

[1] We Christians claim that our Christ is cosmic. We use the word to indicate “the entire universe, this earth and all else.” Likewise, the word can be our shorthand for “all of creation, both humankind and other-kind.” If we have a cosmic Christ, what does that mean for our calling to love our neighbor? […]