ELCA Social Teachings

Meaningful Conversation

[1] A few years ago, I walked into confirmation class and asked with great enthusiasm, “Guess what we’re going to talk about tonight, kids?” “What?” they replied, in their normal eye-rolling manner. “SEX!” I proclaimed. One boy looked at me in horror as the rest of the class tried to look anyplace else but in […]

Please Don’t Omit

[1] After spending the better part of two days reading and re-reading the new Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality, I would like to first thank the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality for their careful and thoughtful consideration of the topic. Chapters 1 and 2 are rich theological texts that provide an excellent […]

Implementing the ELCA Social Statement on Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All

[1] Many taxpayers have grudgingly acquiesced to paying federal, state and local taxes because of Jesus’ counsel to “render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”[1] In a representative democracy like the United States, however, this direction becomes much more complex because the taxpayer bears some responsibility for the form and degree of taxation […]

Lutheran Perspectives on the “Wealth Gap” and American Tax Policy

[1] During the past several decades, the economic disparity between the poorest and the richest Americans has widened. This is partly the result of enormous increases in the salaries of many upper echelon executives and professionals, and the stagnation of wages among many working class employees. The growing “wealth gap” also is related to tax […]

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 […]

Brief Comments on “Our Calling in Education: A First Draft of a Social Statement “

[1] First of all, I give thanks to all who have served to draft this social statement. This work is both important and urgent. I won’t comment at length about its importance. That should be obvious to all who take the time to read it. Its urgency is apparent to me because I have, in […]

“Our Calling in Education” as a Teaching Document for the Church

[1] One of the stated purposes for this draft social statement of the ELCA, “Our Calling in Education,” is as a teaching document for the church. This evaluation attempts to examine that purpose, but it does so from the background of the Lutheran Church of Australia and hence from a context somewhat different from that […]

Review of “Our Calling in Education”

[1] In February, President Bush announced the “American Competitiveness Initiative.” The Initiative includes efforts to “strengthen education” so that American students and workers can “compete with the best and brightest around the world.” Our President is not alone in casting education as the handmaiden of competition. Competitiveness permeates education. It starts early and continues throughout […]

A Review of the Draft Social Statement on Education

[1] Our Calling in Education (the Draft Social Statement) has many excellent points and is on the way to being a valuable statement for use in the ELCA. I make a few suggestions below that I believe could strengthen the statement, but basically applaud the work of those who have produced the document. The church […]

Recognition, Not Blessing

[1] How far can confessional Lutherans bend to accommodate an urgently felt pastoral need and, if possible, to preserve the unity of the ELCA (such as it is)? Direction from the Confession of Faith [2] It is a sign of the theological weakness of this troubled denomination that it has yet to see the question […]