Ecumenical and/or Inter-religious

The Lutheran Commitment to Conversation with Other Christians

[1] Lutherans are reborn talkers.  The children of God are chips off the old block, and like our Creator, who started everything by speaking in Genesis 1: they cannot stop talking.  Aristotle thought of the human being as an animal rationale.   Luther thought of the human creature as an animal dicens (speaking animal) and the […]

Conversation at the Crossroads: On the Editorial Vision of Lutheran Forum

[1] Toward the end of my first editorial at the helm of Lutheran Forum,[1] I tried my hand at casting a vision for our quarterly journal in these politically fraught times. I found encouragement in the fact that Glenn Stone, the first editor of the Forum, launched the journal, then a monthly, in the turbulent […]

Transcending Differences to Fulfill God’s Calling

[1] Imagine if Martin Luther had never shared his very distinct perspective in 1521. And imagine if no one had listened to him or was willing to engage in conversations about his ideas and viewpoint. Daily, we are faced with opinions, values, beliefs, and ideas that are different from our own. These interactions go a […]

Interfaith Engagement: Because We’re Lutheran

With temperature and humidity pushing into the nineties, the football team broke early for lunch. As players headed over to the cafeteria for lunch, a few hung back. The coach approached, offering to walk with them. “Thanks,” one replied.” “But it’s Ramadan, and we’re fasting.”  When the non-Muslim teammates heard the reason for their absence […]

Review: Why Buddhism Is True: the Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment, by Robert Wright

[1] Religious traditions build on an assessment of the human condition.  Each tradition takes a deep sense of ‘how we are’ as humans and outlines a path to something better, something that takes us beyond – that transcends – the condition that we find ourselves in. [2] What is easy to overlook is the extent […]

Editor’s Introduction: Spotlighting Inter-religious Dialogue & Action

In his study on faith and culture, German-American theologian, Paul Tillich, claimed that religion is the substance of culture and that culture is the concrete form in which the religious dimension of the human spirit is expressed. But what happens when different religions and cultures coexist in the same society, in close proximity to each other? That is the case in many places across the world today. At an intellectual level, the challenge for people who take their faith seriously is how to balance the absolute claims of their faith tradition (they are after all claims about God or ultimacy, with universal scope) with the also absolute claims of the neighbors’ faith. The peaceful coexistence of our communities depends on the success of that balancing act.

The Church Engaging Our Multi-Religious World: Ever-Serving, Ever-Reforming, Ever-Reconciling

Upon the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, many reflected that we had entered an ecumenical and inter-religious age of the Lutheran movement. Schersten LaHurd and Trumm impressively detail what that looks like on the ground, as well as at a national level. What does working for justice with and for our neighbors look like, and how does our theology feed this work?

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.