To be Online or Not To Be Online: Uncovering the Roots of the Debates Concerning Online Worship  

[1] “The right understanding of any matter and a misunderstanding of the same matter do not wholly exclude each other.”[1] Like the novel as a whole, this statement from Franz Kafka’s The Trial is a portal into opacity. Joseph K., the novel’s protagonist, finds himself lost in an endless debate governed by nontransparent logic. He […]

Editor’s Introduction: December 2021/January 2022, 2020-2021, A Retrospective

[1] As the secular year draws to a close and the new church year opens into the season of Advent it seems a fitting moment to take a pause and to reflect on the turbulent last two years. This issue of JLE, therefore, is not introducing a new topic but is instead drawing together some […]

Bouquet of Humanity: Vocation, Deep Sadness, and Hope in a Virtual Real World

Bouquet of Humanity [1] Just minutes after Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd, I logged on to Zoom with a small group of St. Olaf staff and faculty convened by Dr. María Pabón, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion. The purpose of the meeting—scheduled before anyone knew when the verdict would be announced—was […]

Review: Dancing in God’s Earthquake: The Coming Transformation of Religion by Arthur Ocean Waskow and Ladder to the Light: An Indigenous Elder’s Meditations on Hope and Courage by Steven Charleston

[1] In March of 2020 the United States government responded to the existence of the coronavirus in our midst with a call to shut everything down for two weeks.  The worst of it would then pass over us, and we could resume our normal lives once more. [2] It didn’t work out that way. [3] […]

Presence, Piety, and Belonging: Intentional Digital Experiences during and after COVID-19

 [1] Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, it quickly became cliché to refer to “these uncertain times,” or “these unprecedented times.” It seems like every single email started out that way. But we belong to a tradition that allows us to think beyond these limited views. All times are uncertain, but we know that God cares […]

Editor’s Introduction May 2021: Lutheran Ethicists’ Gathering Part II

[1] Last May, JLE published a special issue to address the ethical concerns raised due to Covid-19.  A year later, we are still in the pandemic.  Although Americans are being vaccinated quickly, (at the time of this publishing over 50% of adults over 18 have had at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine), cases […]

Responsible Lutheran Liberal Education After the COVID-19 Catastrophe: A Short Reflection

[1] How should ELCA colleges and universities committed to responsible learning form students for a post-COVID-19 world?  Pandemics, says Laura Spinney, illuminate and exacerbate social needs.[1]  Citizens respond in panic.  They quickly forget when plague ends and return to complacency.  Still, pandemics change societies.  They can be an inflection point and even a portal from […]

Covid-19 and Conspiracy Theories: Thou Shall Not Bear False Witness

Introduction [1] Given the present situation, where a novel virus is causing untold pain and suffering in our country, it is necessary to promote accurate medical and scientific information due to the high stakes of life and death. Unfortunately, scholars, doctors and public health officials have been combating a plethora of misinformation. Dangerous ideas have […]

May 2021 Congregational Discussion Guide

[1] Per Anderson asserts in his essay, “Rejecting complacency, ELCA schools should focus upon responsible citizenship in response to crises of polarization and distrust that threaten U.S. democracy.”  He asks readers to contemplate, “How should ELCA colleges and universities commit to responsible learning form students for a post-COVID-19 world?” Consider a memorable experience you had […]

Editor’s Introduction: April/May 2021

[1] Christ is Risen, Christ is risen indeed.  Hallelujah. [2] Never before in my life have I felt so palpably the national and global need for the good news of Easter.  This is the good news that God has faced all that we face, suffered all that we suffer, died as we will die and […]