Poverty/Income Inequality

Luther and the Hungry Poor

[1] It was at the 11 o’clock Eucharist on a recent Sunday. The presiding minister was in the middle of the Great Thanksgiving. “In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread and gave thanks,” he read taking the host in his hand for us all to see. “This is my […]

Luther and the Hungry Poor

[1] Luther has always been a difficult read, as Martin Marty has informed us.[1] His worldview changed repeatedly. It follows that his writings are filled with contradictions and paradoxes.[2] Samuel Torvend appears to have missed the counsel of Benne, Marty and Edwards for he sees Luther as a whole intellect from the pounding on the […]

Lutheran Ethics in a Troubled Global Economy

Samuel Torvend. Luther and the Hungry Poor: Gathered Fragments (Fortress Press, 2008). 978-0-8006-6238-7. [1] With the negative externalities of globalization ever more present in the United States due to the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and its effects on the United States banking and finance infrastructure and individual lives affected, social ministry is more relevant than ever. […]

The Right to Property and Daily Bread: Thinking with Luther about Human Economic Rights

Introduction [1] The right to property stands at the cusp of legal and economic rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[1] It also stands, therefore, at the cusp of personal life and the public dimensions of life lived in the economic and political spheres of society. Enjoying a right to property is not only […]

A Lutheran Approach to the Family Values: Focus on Fiducia

[1] “Sex, Marriage and Family:” that’s the title of the LCA social statement from 1970.[1] I always wondered if this was the table of contents for the document – or a description of the way life really works. The ambiguity was delicious. In either case, “family” came last. It was almost an afterthought. That is […]

Implementing the ELCA Social Statement on Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All

[1] Many taxpayers have grudgingly acquiesced to paying federal, state and local taxes because of Jesus’ counsel to “render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”[1] In a representative democracy like the United States, however, this direction becomes much more complex because the taxpayer bears some responsibility for the form and degree of taxation […]

To whom does wealth belong? An Economic Perspective

[1] The question of to whom does wealth belong is not one that most economists would be comfortable answering except in the most trivial sense. Trivially we would answer that wealth belongs – well – to those who own it. Aside from being rather circular in its logic, this reply does not get at the […]

Do Not Steal: A Lutheran Vision of Practice of Economic Justice

“For to steal is nothing else than to get possession of another’s property wrongfully, which briefly comprehends all kinds of advantage in all sorts of trade to the disadvantage of our neighbor. To steal is to signify not only to empty our neighbor’s coffer and pockets, but to be grasping in the market…, wherever there […]

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 […]

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 […]