ELCA Social Teachings

Shelf-Life of a Vision: The 1993 Social Statement on Caring for Creation

[1] During the last decade, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, its theologians, its pastors, and many of its lay leaders have been preoccupied with a number of critically important issues: the calling and status of bishops and, behind that, the relevance of the historic catholic tradition; the interpretation of sexual identity and, behind that, […]

A Review “from the Field”

[1] I serve the church as President and CEO of Immanuel Health Systems (IHS), Omaha, Nebraska. IHS, which began its ministry in 1887 under the leadership of Rev. E.A. Fogelstrom, is affiliated with the Nebraska Synod, ELCA. Over the years, Immanuel became of a pillar of the Augustana Synod with its Deaconess Institute and “works […]

Comments on “Caring for Health”

[1] In a meeting I was recently asked what I thought about Wittenberg’s statement of institutional values. All I could think to say was “Values are good. These seem fine.” (It had been a long meeting.) I suspect that some readers may have a similar reaction to the proposed social statement “Caring for Health: Our […]

How Does a Congregation Pray in a Time of War?

This essay results from a war-long discussion by an ethics class that met during winter and spring 2003, sponsored by the Alaska Lay School of Theology and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, and under the direction of Larry Jorgenson. A Nation Still at War [1] Our Vice President predicted that the Iraq war’s duration would be […]

Inhabiting the Christian Narrative: An Example of the Relationship Between Religion and the Moral Life

The following paper was presented at an International Symposium on “Religions, Morality and Social Concerns” at Fudan University, Shanghai, China in April 2003. The university’s newly established Institute of Religious Studies brought together Christians (Protestant and Catholic), Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Marxists and others from China, other Asian countries, Europe and the United States. According to […]

Peace-Making as One Response to Terrorist Violence

[1] The three Abrahamic religions all share hope for God’s peace on earth. For Jews, Muslims, and Middle Eastern Christians the word for peace is shared as well: the Hebrew shalom is, in Arabic, salaam. Arabic speakers often greet others with salaam aleik, “peace be with you,” followed by the typical reply, Allah i salmik, […]

War and Peace: A Review of Relevant Statements by Church Bodies Which Preceded the Founding of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

[1] In the wake of the September 11, 2001 tragedies in New York City and Washington, D.C., and the subsequent “new kind of war” being waged by the United States and its coalition partners, it may be useful to review the statements relating to war and peace from the antecedent Lutheran church bodies of the […]

Beginning in a Time of Anguish and Crisis

[1] We begin Journal of Lutheran Ethics (JLE) in the shadow of the horrendous and shattering events of September 11, 2001. As we planned and prepared for this journal, little did we anticipate the critical historical moment that is now upon us all. Little did we imagine that people everywhere would be struggling through the […]

Deliberation, Holism, and Responsibility: Moral Life in the ELCA

A Special Calling in History [1] In 1998, in a series essay on the 21st century in Atlantic Monthly, Bill McKibben examines the population question and concludes as follows: The bottom-line argument goes like this: The next fifty years are a special time. They will decide how strong and healthy the planet will be for […]

Reflections on September 11

[1] Six years ago our church adopted a social statement, “For Peace in God’s World,” intended to reflect the consensus view of how we as a Community for Peace should pursue that goal. As we reflect upon the horrible disaster of September 11, 2001, I believe it would do us all good to re-read that […]