Ecumenical and/or Inter-religious

A Globally Inclusive Ecumenical Model for the 21st Century

[1] One of the central debates facing Christianity from its onset surrounded essential requirements for acceptance into the community of believers. More specifically, some wondered whether or not particular ethnic heritage or cultural traditions were mandatory, whereas others considered various beliefs and behaviors surrounding food and other existing customs. As the small number of Jesus’ […]

Recognizing the Other in Liturgical Acts: Religious Pluralism and Eucharist

[1] A major difficulty facing contemporary life is the misrecognition of persons. This is the social pathology whereby we can improperly recognize the religious other and thereby do violence to another.1 Misrecognition denotes a variety of processes. In general, it marks the way that a person can ignore another, treat a person as a thing […]

The Jebeliya: Reflections on Development

1] This past May, six students and I experienced some Middle Eastern “development” in the raw.1 Under a vividly blue, sheltering, desert sky, we worked with local residents to build a small dam not far from Mt. Sinai. All was done by camel and by hand — carrying boulders, scooping sand, mixing mortar, and carrying […]

Welcoming the Stranger Can Revive Tired Denominations

A review of They Are Us: Lutherans and Immigration by Stephen Paul Bouman and Ralston Deffenbaugh, Augsburg Fortress, 2009. 144 pages. [1] A book this good is worth its weight in gold. Actually, the book weighs about nine ounces, which would make it worth over $9,000. However, although it’s worth its weight in gold, it […]

Joint Declaration on Justification: History Making or Precious Memory?

[1] On October 31, 1999, an historic moment of ecumenical reception for Lutherans and Roman Catholics took place at Augsburg, Germany. The Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification was signed that day by representatives of the Lutheran World Federation and the Vatican. A decade later, on October 1, 2009, a service will be held […]

New Wine, Old Wineskins: The Emerging Church, Ethics, and the ELCA

[1] Religious groups perpetually dialogue with their sociocultural contexts as they seek to define and maintain their identities as communities of faith. In other words, religious communities are constantly balancing continuity and change.[1] Recent decades have brought a series of rapid political, economic, philosophical, social, and spiritual shifts, and there is a growing movement of […]

Joint Declaration on Justification: History Making or Precious Memory?

[1] On October 31, 1999, an historic moment of ecumenical reception for Lutherans and Roman Catholics took place at Augsburg, Germany. The Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification was signed that day by representatives of the Lutheran World Federation and the Vatican. A decade later, on October 1, 2009, a service will be held […]

What Happens Now? Ecumenical Agreements, Ecumenical Challenges

1] In less than two decades, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America made significant ecumenical advances and agreements with other Christian churches. Ranging from full communion agreements to bilateral dialogue statements, including the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ), we have seen and celebrated some of the fulfillment envisioned by our Vision for […]

An Ethical Critique of Christian Zionism

An Ethical Critique of Christian Zionism [1] As an Arab Palestinian Evangelical Lutheran Christian who grew up as a refugee, questions about the land and theology of Palestine/Israel are not just theological or philosophical exercises to me. They involve all that I am and all that I hold sacred in my life as a Palestinian […]

Christian Zionism

[1] What is Zionism? What is Christian Zionism? Let’s try to develop some working definitions before we visit the pros and cons of a movement that seems to be attracting a fair amount of attention today. [2] A simple definition could be, “Zionism supports the return, or the various returns, of the Jewish people to […]