I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Courageously Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times by Mónica Guzmán

“To listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.” Mark Nepo [1] We humans are on an unprecedented hinge of history. It’s hard to imagine a more apocalyptic accretion of worldwide catastrophes: among them the most lethal pandemic in a century; the dismantling of formerly stalwart democracies; […]

Review: We Carry the Fire: Family and Citizenship as Spiritual Calling by Richard A. Hoehn 

[1] Richard Hoehn, in his book We Carry the Fire, is arguing for a transformative spirituality in which people are called to go beyond themselves – to carry the “breath of fire” – to be in solidarity with the poor (and the earth) in their struggle for freedom from unjust systems and structures. He is […]

Editor’s Introduction

[1] “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) [2] Riots at the Capitol on Epiphany interrupted Congress as it was beginning to certify a democratic election.  The riots […]

For Congregational Discussion: The Ethics of Dialogue and Debate

[1] The Journal of Lutheran Ethics hopes to provide reading material to stimulate thinking and conversation among academics, clergy, and laity. To this end, this new section will be included in each issue of JLE in order to encourage constructive discussion within congregations about the topics discussed in JLE.  Consider using this section in formal […]

Justification and Justice: Luther on the Love of the Enemy as Criterion of Justice

“The relationship between justification and justice in Luther´s theology pertains to his distinction of régimes, the so-called “two kingdoms doctrine.” The amount of literature on this “doctrine” produced between the 1930s and the 1970s is immense.[1] However, at the theological core of this distinction lies Luther´s reading of the scriptures’ framing of the peculiarities of two central notions, faith and love. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) exemplifies the crux of this distinction offering two sets of injunctions, which we find throughout the bible, but in the Sermon are presented in a succinct form parallel to each other…”

Review: Love in a Time of Climate Change: Honoring Creation, Establishing Justice (Fortress Press, 2017)

Asked to review Sharon Delgado’s Love in a Time of Climate Change, I was not impressed when flipping through it for the first time. The usual politically progressive boxes seem to have been checked off: Biblical interpretation centering on creation themes, catalogues of the scary impacts of climate change, an indictment of the fossil-fuel industry and western economic development generally, a sacramental view of nature, a celebration of indigenous wisdom, and of course, copious suggestions for action, both personal and political. Delgado appears to be ringing the expected changes for an audience she knows well from her decades of activism. But I wondered if there is anything to set her book apart as a noteworthy contribution to the budding ethics literature on climate change?

Review: A Christian Justice for the Common Good (Abingdon Press, 2016)

[1] Tex Sample, emeritus professor at Saint Paul School of Theology, Leawood, Kansas, has been thinking creatively and helpfully about the church’s role in society for a very long time. His previous books include U.S. Lifestyles and Mainline Churches, Hard Living People and Mainstream Christians and the delightfully titled Ministry in an Oral Culture: Living […]

Editor’s Introduction: Living in the Shadow of Empire

Once a year members of the Lutheran Ethicist Network convene around a program relevant to the intersections of church and society. This year they met in Toronto, Canada exploring the meaning today of vulnerability and security. More specifically, the title of the event was: “The Meaning of Vulnerability and Security Today in the Light of Global Realities: Living in the Shadow of Empire.” The present issue of JLE makes available to readers a partial but probing sample from the substance of the Gathering.

Vulnerability, Security, Empire, and Confronting Racism: Inspirations from the 2016 Lutheran Ethicists Gathering

Raye helpfully recaps the Lutheran Ethicists’ Gathering presentations–including Bishop MacDonald’s call to name and resist corporate evil through repentance and the establishing of right relationships. Raye also summarizes Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat’s analysis on Paul’s letters to the Romans as a useful model of how Empire is named and resisted in Scripture. The article asks its readers, “What is God calling those Christians benefiting from the empire of the United States to do? How can truth and reconciliation be reached?”​

Loving Mercy – Doing Justice

When churches love and serve people through works of mercy, they are often treating a symptom of the disease of injustice. Salvatierra argues that in addition to loving mercy, Christians must do justice. She lifts up Faith-Rooted Organizing model as a way to engage Christians with a theology of justice that is engages a compassionate attitude with a systemic understanding of injustice. Salvatierra ends by calling on readers to become prophets proclaiming a common vision for our world, working against the cause of the illness, not just the symptoms.