Economics

On Emphasizing the Communal Dimension of an Economic Ethic of Neighbor Love

“Thank you to Cynthia Moe-Lobeda for this thoughtful reflection on Luther and neighbor love within the context of our current economic systems. I agree wholeheartedly with most of her emphases in this essay, and so my brief response here will highlight a couple of aspects of the essay that I think are particularly salient for this conversation and reflect on ways these foci may be expanded further. Most crucially, I want to draw attention to Moe-Lobeda’s focus on collective responses to systemic problems. For instance, she mentions several times the importance of the church’s response, and not merely individual Christians’ responses, to economic ills. Similarly, at the end of the essay she notes the need for a new economy, a transfigured system as a whole, rather than focusing solely on Christians’ role within that system.”

Luther’s Economic Ethic of Neighbor-love and Its Implications for Economic Life Today – A Gift to the World

[1] Dear colleagues and friends, the focus for this gathering is vitally important. Addressing harsh economic inequity and seeking to identify and undo the factors that cause it is – I will argue – critical to Christian witness, and therefore is at the heart of what it means to be church in the heritage of […]

On Emphasizing the Communal Dimension of an Economic Ethic of Neighbor Love

  [1] Thank you to Cynthia Moe-Lobeda for this thoughtful reflection on Luther and neighbor love within the context of our current economic systems. I agree wholeheartedly with most of her emphases in this essay, and so my brief response here will highlight a couple of aspects of the essay that I think are particularly […]

Editor’s Introduction: Income Inequality Part II and Remembering Jim Echols

This June/July issue of the Journal ties up several threads. One of those is marked by the Resolution in loving memory of the Rev. Dr. James Kenneth Echols, who served for several years as JLE’s editor. As JLE’s “publisher” I claim a moment of privilege as part of that recognition to write a bit more than editors usually do in JLE. I also tie up a thread here as I finish my stint as guest editor. The traditional book review issue of August/September also will introduce our new editor.

Luther’s Economic Ethic of Neighbor-love and Its Implications for Economic Life Today – A Gift to the World

“Dear colleagues and friends, the focus for this gathering is vitally important. Addressing harsh economic inequity and seeking to identify and undo the factors that cause it is – I will argue – critical to Christian witness, and therefore is at the heart of what it means to be church in the heritage of Martin Luther. Since this group spent yesterday evening examining realities of economic inequity, I will not begin there except to emphasize that for many people, extreme poverty – especially in the midst of wealth – is brutal, often deadly. ‘Poverty,’ declared Gandhi ‘is the worst form of violence.’ The data about the expanding wealth gap in the United States and around the globe is soul-searing.”

An Economic Reading of Luther on the Eucharist, or How a Sacramental Economics Made Matter Matter in New Ways

“Our words and practices, including the ways we celebrate Eucharist and the public policies we support and advocate for, have consequences for our broader relationships with matter. If the finite bears the infinite (finitum capax infiniti), then attention to the finite cannot be fleeting or unjust: matter matters. To state my claim even more strongly: violence against the finite is to build the cross anew. Following Schweitzer, there may be tragic choices we must make where “life-willing-life” cannot simply be left to be. Nonviolence is norm but not absolute. But the violence of economic inequality of the scope evident in contemporary U.S. society is contrary to the spirit of the Eucharist. U.S. inequality does real harm to the real presence of Christ. Indeed, global economic inequality, paired with climate change denial, may–if the Earth’s climate changes as rapidly as some scientists now predict, lead to a world with no bread, no wine, no body, no blood.”

Response to “An Economic Reading of Luther on the Eucharist, or How a ‘Sacramental Economics’ Made Matter Matter in New Ways”

“Two brief words regarding the format of this response: given the nature of the gathering, I thought it best to respond to John Pahl’s paper with questions to prompt further discussion. That format is preserved below. Think of this response as a way to probe Pahl’s claims and their implications. Also, my questions and critique assume the Lutheran confessional writings as authoritative, hence my implicit appeal to them in the final paragraph.”

Response to “An Economy of Grace: From the Margins of the Margins”

“There is much to agree with in Dr. Cumming’s presentation. Among other things, his economy of grace rejects the notion that poverty is a sign of a character defect. His proposed economy rejects profiting at the expense of another and calls us not to be complacent in the face of inequality. He argues for a structural analysis of poverty, an acknowledgement that we live in a society of centers and margins, and that we consider the most vulnerable among us. I must admit, however, that with a focus on our most vulnerable neighbor, I kept waiting for a discussion of race to be raised, as people of color, especially women of color, and American Indians are the most economically vulnerable in the US, when it comes to income inequality.”

Review: Christian Economic Ethics: History and Implications (Fortress Press, 2013)

[Originally included in JLE July/August 2014] [1] Daniel Finn is the William and Virginia Clemens Professor of Economics and the Liberal Arts and professor of theology at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict in Collegeville, Minnesota. He has published extensively in the area of Christian ethics and economics and enjoys the genuine […]

Editor’s Introduction: Economism and Sanctification

The two articles in this issue of JLE are very different from each other. The first article comes from the pen of Ted Peters, distinguished Research Professor of Systematic Theology (and Religion and Science) at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union. Different from his past contributions to the Journal in this article, he engages the question of economism. He follows closely the work of his colleague, Richard Norgaard, who has articulated an alternative economic proposal that puts ecological concerns over market economic interest. With the help of Langdon Gilkey’s hermeneutics Peters reads economism as the structuring myth of contemporary society and calls for (and models) a thorough criticism of its crypto-theological underpinning.