The Authority of the Bible and Churchly Debates Regarding Sexuality

[This article is reprinted from Word & World 26/4 [2006] 365-374. Copyright © Word & World, 2006. Used with permission. The issue of Word & World from which this article is reprinted is devoted to the theme “Biblical Authority Today.”] [1] I offer some reflections on the authority of the Bible, especially in view of […]

Discussing Human Sexuality: Issue Editor’s Introduction

[1] This month’s issue focuses on human sexuality. Forty-five Lutheran ethicists, pastors, presenters, and others assembled for the 14th Annual Gathering of Lutheran Ethicists at the Catholic Conference and Formation Center in Dallas on January 3-5 to discuss this topic. They gathered with a self-conscious eye to the ELCA’s process to develop a social statement […]

A “New” Vision of Marriage as Vocation for the Lutheran Tradition

[1] In the Lutheran tradition, the concept of vocation has been an important one in defining and understanding marriage. Marriage is one primary place in society where persons are called to serve the neighbor. This connection between marriage and vocation has been historically both helpful and harmful to persons living in and outside of the […]

For God is also the God of Bodies: Embodiment and Sexuality in Martin Luther’s Theology

[1] Philip Mellor and Chris Shilling, in the book Re-forming the Body, state that the human body, in medieval times, was marked by volatility. The struggles for survival, the threat of violence and disease, and the scarcity of goods (food, clothing, or shelter) could lead to death. Magic and superstition were aids to knowledge. Body […]

Re-Thinking Adolescent Sexual Ethics: A Social Justice Obligation to Adolescent Sexual Health

[1] The dominant sexual ethic communicated to adolescents in the United States reflects an act-centered prescription: abstinence-only-until-marriage. Youth are being told “just don’t do it” without being given the opportunity to discuss the positive meanings of sexuality, the characteristics of healthy relationships, or the pleasure derived from sexual behaviors. An inadequate sexual ethic for adolescents, […]

The Top Five Things I Miss When Lutherans Talk about Sex

[1] In the cult classic “High Fidelity” (Stephen Frears, 2000), John Cusack plays the beleaguered Rob, a record store owner who trades equally in classic tunes and romantic fantasy. He and his loser employees spend a great deal of time coming up with soundtracks for all the important events in their lives – “Top Five […]

Linda McClain’s The Place of Families and Contemporary Family Law: A Critique from Critical Familism

The following is a version of an article that Don Browning has published in the Spring, 2007, issue of the Emory Law Journal. Reprinted by permission. [1] In this essay, I will review and critique Linda McClain’s important new contribution to family law in her The Place of Families (2006).[1] In the process, I also […]

Knowing What Cosmos You’re In

[1] . . . love between man and woman, where body and soul are inseparably joined and human beings glimpse an apparently irresistible promise of happiness . . . would seem to be the very epitome of love; all other kinds of love immediately seem to fade in comparison (Deus Caritas Est, Part I.2). [2] […]

Scarred Epistemologies: What a Theology of the Cross Has to Say about the Gay Marriage Ban

[1] I live and teach religion and ethics in Ohio, one of the eleven states in the 2004 election that passed constitutional amendments effectively precluding any legal and civil recognition or institution of gay marriage. The passage of this state amendment dubbed colloquially as the ‘ban on gay marriage’ generated much local controversy within my […]

JLE Portfolio: Sexuality: Law and Gospel

[1] I take some comfort in knowing that the ELCA is by no means unique in its struggle to hear God’s call and find its way when it comes to same-gender committed relationships and ordination, consecration, and commissioning of people in committed same-sex unions. We keep company with many other denominations, not to mention our […]