Politics

Review: The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again by Robert D. Putnam, with Shaylyn Romney Garrett. 

[1] Where do you pin your hope for the future of democratic self-governance in the US, particularly in the wake of the January 6 attack on the Capitol?  Hope is indispensable to faithful living and enjoys a primary role in Lutheran theology.  Yet in these broken times, any hope about the future of American democracy […]

Review: Red State Christians: Understanding the Voters Who Elected Donald Trump, by Angela Denker

[1] In November 1966 Ronald Reagan shocked the Democratic party in California by decisively defeating Governor Pat Brown in his bid for a third term in the statehouse. In response to this shocking victory, the social scientist James Q. Wilson wrote “A Guide to Reagan Country” to help the Democratic establishment understand the thinking of […]

Review: The Company of Strangers: Christians and the Renewal of America’s Public Life, by Parker J. Palmer

[1] Parker Palmer is familiar to educators as a beacon of hope and courage.  His 1998 Courage to Teach articulated the dignity and even nobility of the profession to young instructors like me.  His 2000 Let Your Life Speak fearlessly recounted his own struggles to sustain a sense of meaning in his life.  Yet his 1981 The Company of Strangers might be […]

Editor’s Introduction: Lutheran Theology and the Relationship between Church and State

[1] If it is true that many people consider it impolite to talk publically about religion or politics, then perhaps no topic is going to be more improper to discuss than the topic of the proper relationship of church and state. Yet, both articles in this issue all call Lutherans to talk publically about their […]

For Congregational Discussion: Lutheran Theology and the Relationship between Church and State

[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 section of JLE encourages constructive discussion within congregations about the topics discussed in JLE.  Consider using this section in formal adult education classes or in informal small group discussions.  The […]

A Sketch of Luther’s Political Theology on the Question of Church and State with Reflections concerning the Current Responsibility of the Church in Society

[1] Luther strengthened drastically the role of the individual over the institutions of church and state. This was because Luther located the kingdom of God in each individual’s inner soul, so that the authority of Catholic Church might rapidly decline and that state power could be desacralized. Securing independent interiority, individuals were given opportunity to […]

Faith-based Advocacy with Today’s United States Government: Summary at Lutheran Ethicists Gathering 2020

[1] Lutherans can participate in the governing structures as naturally and faithfully as they make use of God’s other good gifts. This summation of Article XVI of the Augsburg Confession (AC) stands in contrast to the views of other protestant groups of the time, some who condemned civic participation as incompatible with the Christian life while […]

Review: Martin Luther’s Theology of Beauty: A Reappraisal, by Mark C. Mattes

[1] The “reappraisal” promised in the subtitle of this book is most obviously a reappraisal of Luther’s views concerning beauty.  Mark Mattes intends to establish that Luther is neither a “great foe of beauty” (1) nor the architect of the “disenchantment” of material reality (13).  The author’s larger objective, however, is to deploy Luther’s theology […]

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 […]

Theological Touchstones for Disagreeing in the Body of Christ

[1] Martin Luther wrote his Small Catechism after traveling and observing how little of Christian teaching most people knew. Four hundred years later, one of us (Amy) had a Missouri Synod Lutheran grandmother who was not permitted to move from lower to upper Michigan with the rest of her family until she had finished memorizing the Small […]