Alms and Advocacy: Lutheran Ministry with the Poor

[1] It is a pleasure to be a part of this convocation dealing with “The Church and Public Witness.” This has long been an issue for Lutherans, stemming from its history in Europe and, to a lesser degree, in the United States. [2] Today I want to tell part of that history in the hope […]


In relation to responsibility [1] Accountability is grounded in the relationality of communion and empowered by the mutuality of responsibility. Accountability complements or flows from responsibility, by moving from the explicitly Christian grounding and non-coerced nature of responsibility to a more public, enforceable accountability. Theologically, accountability is necessary because of the all-pervasive presence of sin, […]

Social Security: Some Ethical Issues

[1] As the debate about privatization Social Security takes center stage, there are all sorts of political analyses and economic analysis to be found in newspapers, journals and elsewhere. There is a glaring shortage of ethical analyses, however. Perhaps this is an area where those laboring in our corner of the vineyard can help out […]

Commercial Science and World Hunger: Issues of Social Justice Concerning Genetically Modified Organisms

[1] The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s social statement on economic life, “Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All,” cites Martin Luther’s assertion that Christians violate God’s commandment, “you shall not kill,” when people lack the ability to meet their basic needs of life.[1] Since nearly one-sixth of the world’s population lacks access to the food necessary […]

Lutheran Contributions to Bioethics: Threads from a Conversation

[1] The 2004 Gathering of Lutheran Ethicists on January 7-8 in Chicago focused on the topic “Lutheran Contributions to Bioethics.” Discussion papers from that gathering are posted elsewhere in this issue of JLE. This report aims to pull together threads from the conversation at the gathering around this topic so that not only the papers […]

God “Flowing and Pouring into…All Things”

[1] I have been asked to discuss resources in the Lutheran tradition that might undergird resistance to neo-liberal globalization.1 This paper explores four interrelated theological streams running through the work of Martin Luther.2 They are his eucharistic economic ethics, his theology of Christ indwelling creation, his refusal to minimize the pervasiveness of sin in human […]

Report from the WCC/WB/IMF Encounters

[1] The point of departure in these external encounters should be “the loving message of Jesus: that all should have life in all its fullness, here and now, and in the future.” -Giving Witness [2] Two encounters between mid-level staff of the World Council of Churches (WCC), the World Bank (WB), and the International Monetary […]

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 […]

What Do Religious Institutions Have to Say About Corporate Governance?

©2002 Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. (This article originally appeared in the September issue (Vol. 30, No. 7) of the Corporate Examiner, a publication of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.) For more information, please visit, or call 212-870-2295. [1] To say that 2001 and 2002 have been watershed years for corporate governance would […]

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 […]