Race, Ethnicity, Racism

Editor’s response to the February 2021 Issue

[1] The February 2021 Issue of JLE was intended to create a place for diverse opinions and deeper deliberations about racism, justice, and equity in the ELCA at a time when the nation is reeling with both systemic racism and racist violence. The issue more than missed this mark.  It created a painful distraction for […]

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 […]

Luther, Bonhoeffer, Black Lives Matter, and the Role of the Church1

In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, many churches condemned White supremacy and racist violence. Racism is not limited to White supremacy and may be categorized as either motivational, arising from racial animus, or situational, arising from the conditions in which a racial minority finds itself, with a feedback loop whereby one type of racism encourages the other. These two types of racism both require both pastoral and prophetic responses from the church. An appropriate prophetic response can be modeled in the Lutheran tradition

Overcoming ELCA Racism with Authentic Diversity

Our nation and perhaps the wider world have arrived at a Kairos moment. The groundswell of support for “Black Lives Matter” may propel our society across the threshold to a new era of equality, justice, and multi-racial community. ELCA leadership has begun to take its own action. However, our strategy must include reversing the center of focus from the white axis.

Pursuing a More Diverse Church: A report and two reflections

This article explains the process one ELCA congregation is pursuing in order to become more welcoming to all the neighbors in their community. Reflections by the leaders of the process follow.

Church as Counter-Image to Brutality

Stunning images and stories of police brutality have rocked the United States in recent months. These images and stories—of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others—have moved the American people profoundly, but in different directions. What can the church do or say that might be meaningful in this moment? This essay argues that the church must realize its call to be a counter-image to human brutality. This essay draws especially upon Martin Luther, but with the intention of connecting Luther to a broader ecumenical tradition.

Racism, Justice, and Mercy: For Congregational Discussion

[1] One of the hardest things for congregations to do is to talk about race.  It is the hope of JLE that the following ideas for discussions or study sessions based on the articles in this issue can provide a helpful direction. [2] Ted Peters and Timothy Hoyer both wrote articles that claim that the […]

Racial Mercy

A different way of thinking about racial justice is to work toward racial mercy. Before the difference between justice and mercy is explained, there must be an agreed upon standard that is used to discern the worth of what will be suggested. This is, after all, a theological discussion, for it is about the difference between God’s Law and God’s Promise in Jesus.

Review: The Hebrew Bible: Feminist and Intersectional Perspectives, edited by Gale A. Yee

[1] The Hebrew Bible: Feminist and Intersectional Perspectives offers a feminist introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. The book consists of an introduction (written by editor Gale A. Yee) followed by four chapters, each addressing a different section of the biblical text and written by a different contributor or contributors. Thus Carolyn J. Sharp covers the Torah/Pentateuch, […]

Review: Passionate for Justice: Ida B. Wells as Prophet for Our Time, by Catherine Meeks and Nib Stroupe

[1] I would love to start my review by talking about the importance of Passionate for Justice at “a time like this,” but that qualification immediately rings hollow for me. [2] Threat of danger is the traumatic, collective history and memory (and, too often, direct experience) that Black [1] and Brown people just know. To wit, Passionate for Justice co-author […]