Christian Living, Discipleship, and/or Spirituality

Luther and Christian Liberty

Copyright © 1994, Word & World, Luther Seminary. Word & World, Supplement Series 2, pp. 48-56. First published in the Lutheran Theological Seminary Bulletin 68/1 (Winter 1988), pp. 3-11. Dr. Forell delivered it in lecture form at the October, 1987, “Luther Symposium” at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Used with permission. A Focus of Controversy [1] While Luther […]

Luther and Conscience

Copyright © 1994, Word & World, Luther Seminary.Word & World, Supplement Series 2, pp. 57-65. First published in The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg Bulletin 55/1 (1975) pp. 3-11, and delivered first at the 1974 Martin Luther Colloquium. Used with permission. [1] It is part of the conventional wisdom that the reformation was based upon […]

Getting Back to Normal

Preached in Christ Chapel, Gustavus Adolphus College on November 9, 2001 Exodus 3:13-20 [1] Well, the Federal Reserve has cut the prime rate by another half-percent. . . . Things are looking up for the New York Stock Exchange; a few days ago, I heard, it closed at its highest level since September 11. Inflation […]

The Christian Moral Life: Roman Catholic and Lutheran Perspectives

Copyright © LET’S TALK. Used with permission. From Let’s Talk, Volume 6, Issue 2 [1] Comparing our two moral traditions is probably a dangerous undertaking for a Roman Catholic (or for a Lutheran, for that matter). I shall therefore begin with words from a mentor, James Gustafson. In his important work, Protestant and Roman Catholic […]

A Christian Realist Approach to the Events of September 11

[1] “I’m a loving person, but I have a job to do,” said the President. His statement reminds one of the famous distinction Luther made when he wrote about the Christian’s calling. He said that if an individual Christian went into the forest and was beset by robbers, he might well not resist and even […]

Can we put the flag back in the Sanctuary?

Church Council Meeting: Wednesday Sept. 19th, 2001 An item not on the agenda: “Can we put the flag back in the Sanctuary?” Pastor (17 months in ministry): “I would counsel against that, but I don’t think we should discuss it now.” [1] In my now-29 months in ministry I have been surprised at the power […]

Deliberation, Holism, and Responsibility: Moral Life in the ELCA

A Special Calling in History [1] In 1998, in a series essay on the 21st century in Atlantic Monthly, Bill McKibben examines the population question and concludes as follows: The bottom-line argument goes like this: The next fifty years are a special time. They will decide how strong and healthy the planet will be for […]

The Human Question

[1] It was a year ago September during U.S. Senate hearings on embryonic stem cell research. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) took out a blank piece of paper, placed a pencil dot in the center of it, and held it up to Mary Tyler Moore. “This,” he declared, “is the size of the thing we’re talking […]

Three Questions about President Bush’s Embryonic Stem Cell Policy

[1] Tiefel asks three questions of us: What sort of language we should use when speaking of stem cells outside of science, what place does the religious voice have in the public arena in this matter, and how can we speak of the moral ambiguity which has been called to our attention. Three questions about […]

A Millennial’s Perspective on Millennials

Cain, a millennial in seminary, writes about how news coverage of millennials seems to be entirely negative. However, Cain challenges non-millennials to examine why millennials might be jumping ship and eschewing things like mortgages and church membership. The amount of young people who say they believe in God has not dropped significantly when compared to other generations, but rather their participation in organized religion has decreased significantly. Cain notes we our focus should be spreading the gospel, not creating gimmicks to increase young adult numbers. We don’t need the “next big thing,” the gospel is the Big Thing. Sharing the gospel with sincerity is the way to connect with young people, as it has been for centuries.