Ecumenical and/or Inter-religious

Part I: Are We Really a Public Church? Ministry in a Multi-Faith North America

In Part I of his look at ministry in multi-faith contexts, Grafton lays out the religious context of the United States as it was perceived in the 20th century and how it is lived in actuality today. What does it mean to be a public church, as the ELCA is called to be, when the public is not a community that is predominately Lutheran, or even Christian? For Grafton, the answer lies not in forsaking Lutheran principles, but in living them out in relationship.

Part II: Public Ministry in Multi-Faith Contexts: What It Is Not, What It Is and What It Requires of Religious Leaders

Part II serves as a helpful guide as to how public multi-faith ministry should and should not function. Drawing upon resources from the World Council of Churches and his experience with Lutheran-Muslim relations, Grafton dispels assumptions about how inter-religious work need be formal and focused on finding agreement. Instead, he points to intentionality, maturity, patience, and being guest-oriented as keys to fruitful mutuality.

Review: Changing World, Changeless Christ: The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, 1914–2014

The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau (“ALPB” or “the Bureau”) is one of those rare institutions that spans major North American Lutheran denominations, (or at least some camps thereof). Hoping to make the Lutheran church better known in America, its early founders (then, primarily from the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod) set in motion a publishing body whose publications have provided a forum for ethical reflection, social engagement and denominational dispute across the decades. Although not a church body, the ALPB has focused on issues facing American Lutherans — from its outspoken voice against racism in the 1940s, to war and peace, abortion, sexuality and other social concerns.

Sanctification and Lutheran Ethics

Writing from a Danish perspective, Andersen explores the role of sanctification in Lutheranism, in part by comparing it to the Methodist tradition. Focusing on the role of the Holy Spirit in sanctification, Andersen analyzes the origin of caring for the neighbor, as emphasized in Luther. If Lutheran ethics is not about following moral rules, what is our guide and how is the Holy Spirit involved?

Of Fruit Trees and Newborn Babes: Luther and Wesley on Moral Transformation

Taken from a lecture delivered to a meeting of Lutheran and Wesleyan ethicists, Burroughs’ article explores how and why Lutheran and Methodist understandings of moral transformation differ. Burroughs skillfully analyzes Luther and Wesley’s writings, along with theologians of their traditions who have been influenced from both. With this laid out, he then addresses the question, “What do these differences mean for us today?

The Other Jonathan Edwards: Selected Writings on Society, Love, and Justice (University of Massachusetts Press, 2015)

[1] Much attention globally is being given to the life and thought of Jonathan Edwards. The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale is an excellent gateway to much of this activity. Yale University is to be commended for making available his works, with accompanying scholarly introductions, in twenty-six printed volumes as well as in digital format. […]

Editor’s Comments – Washing Your Ears: On Inter-Religious Friendships

[1] Shortly after getting to know some young Muslim men from Malindi while traveling in Kenya in 2009, they invited me to join them for prayer — to observe and participate as I wished. Outside of the mosque, after removing my shoes, they welcomed me to wash my hands, feet, face, ears, and mouth — […]

Dwelling in God’s Household: A Lutheran Perspective on Interfaith Relations

A Household Divided? [1] In a single generation, the religious landscape of the United States has changed dramatically. America can no longer be described as “Judeo-Christian,” if ever it could. Today the religious demography of the United States reflects the spectrum of the world’s religions and the diversity of global Christianity.1 Certain forms of Christianity, […]

German Lutherans and Assimilation: Lessons in the Current Atmosphere of Islamophobia

[1] One of our great American patriots and public servants has always been a staunch advocate of the need for immigrant communities to assimilate into traditional American culture, adopting the English language and the values of its national heritage. So, it is not a surprise that he has also been critical of immigrants coming to […]

Forming Religious Identity in the Context of Religious Pluralism

[1] The topic of religious formation resonates for anyone with a vocational commitment to ecumenical and multi-religious realities today. The topic is: Forming Religious Identity in the Context of Religious Pluralism, and in this paper I will measure the height and depth of this sentence together, within four thematic buckets, reading this topic (like Hebrew) […]