The Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality: How Not to Derive “ought” from “Is”

Introduction [1] Since the time of David Hume (1711-76), philosophers have been struggling with the question of whether “ought” can be inferred from “is.” Famously, Hume held that it “seems altogether inconceivable how this new relation [ought] can be a deduction of others [is] which are entirely different from it.[1] For Hume, propositions of how […]

Comments on Human Sexuality Proposals Coming before the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly

[1] A few months ago, I taught a class on sexuality for our 9th grade confirmation students. As the class began, I asked them to write on an index card what they believed the bible said about sex. To a student, all 22 responses were the same: “if you have sex before marriage, you’ll go […]

Thank You, but No Thank You

[1] Thank you to the Journal of Lutheran Ethics for this invitation to reflect on the proposed social statement. Thank you also to the ELCA Task Force on Human Sexuality for their work. I imagine it has been a long and difficult journey. It is my prayer that their journey together has built them up […]

Luther’s Christocentric and Biblical Theology of Marriage

What follows is an excerpt from my forthcoming Luther and the Beloved Community: A Path for Christian Theology after Christendom (Eerdmans, Spring, 2010). Since I have elsewhere made my sharp and fundamental critique of the draft Social Statement and its accompanying Recommendations on Rostered Ministry. I am thankful to Kaari Reierson for the invitation to […]

Response to the Work of the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality in 2009

The release of the Report and Recommendation on Ministry Policies and the proposed social statement Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust by the Task Force for the ELCA Studies on Sexuality has naturally occasioned public comment and public interest. Journal of Lutheran Ethics offers, as its contribution to the public debate, both original essays by Lutheran […]

“Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust”-Ramifications of a Relational Anthropology

[1] In March 2008, the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality, Church in Society, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America published a “Draft Statement on Human Sexuality.” The information provided at the opening of the draft explained that the ELCA was preparing a social statement on human sexuality to be considered by the […]

Response: Proposed Statement on Human Sexuality

[1] Of the many provocative and interesting aspects of the ELCA proposed social statement on sexuality—“Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust”—I want to focus my analysis on one particular theological assertion; and then elaborate on five key ethical and theological ramifications of that assertion. A Relational Anthropology [2] Repeatedly, in a variety of places, this social […]

A Matter of Trust

[1] I couldn’t stop myself even though I knew the interest was purely prurient–I was continually tuning in to awaiting the final blow to Eliot Spitzer’s political career. It’s not just because I’m from NY. I think it’s more knowing of Spitzer’s reputation as a moral crusader, thinking that surely he would run for […]

A Preliminary, Quick Review of the ELCA’s Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality

[1] March 13, 2008, the public release date of the ELCA’s Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality, was not a date I had noted on my calendar. I confess that I was not paying much attention to the release of this draft, at least until two weeks ago when I was asked to be one […]

Be Careful What You Ask for

[1] I was called to serve Grace Lutheran Church in Evanston one year ago this April. Grace is my First Call, and I am blessed to be doing ministry with such an assembly. [2] Grace participated in at least two of the three sexuality studies. We’ve been a Reconciling in Christ congregation for some time. […]