Editor’s Introduction: October/November 2022 What Does It Mean To Be Church Now?

[1] I remember sitting with tens of thousands of Luther Leaguers in San Antonio in 1988 at the National Lutheran Youth Gathering as we all sang together “The church is not a building where people come to pray, it’s not made out of sticks and stones, it’s not made out of clay.  We are the […]

Transformative Theologizing

Theologizing is an ongoing, transforming process in the world.. [1] In the 1970s, I decided to work on a Ph.D. in Theology, even though my interests were pulling me into Ethics. Back then, Lutheran Ethics was seen by many as an oxymoron; Lutherans believe “God does it all; we don’t.” Because I wanted to be […]

The Church’s Faithful Responses to Conspiracy Theories – The Modern Gnosticism

[1] Over 20 years ago I worked on Capitol Hill for a Member of Congress.  We would receive letters, phone calls, and emails about an assortment of issues.  And we were required to send a response to every correspondence we received.  Most of the time, those responses contained information or a constituent’s opinions about up-coming […]

To be Online or Not To Be Online: Uncovering the Roots of the Debates Concerning Online Worship  

[1] “The right understanding of any matter and a misunderstanding of the same matter do not wholly exclude each other.”[1] Like the novel as a whole, this statement from Franz Kafka’s The Trial is a portal into opacity. Joseph K., the novel’s protagonist, finds himself lost in an endless debate governed by nontransparent logic. He […]

Church Growth and Construction Rebound

[1] During the pandemic, there was a predictable slowdown in church construction. Many churches that had scheduled renovation or new building projects put them on hold. Others that had begun to consider launching such projects decided to put the subject on the back burner for a year or two, until they could be certain the […]

For Congregational Discussion: October/November 2022

[1] This issue of Journal of Lutheran Ethics focuses on the question of What the Church is, can be, and ought to be.   The following activities can be done in small groups in church communities and are meant to foster both discussion and action on the topics at hand.   Activity 1: The Church as […]

The Humanity of Transgender and Nonbinary People

[1] I remember speaking at the microphone in a convention center in downtown Minneapolis on August 18, 2009. More than 1,200 people sat in the ballroom as the ELCA Churchwide Assembly debated the Human Sexuality Social Statement.[1] I felt nervous as I told my story of finding myself in Scripture. As a person of color […]

Editor’s Introduction: Book Review Issue 2022

[1] Our first review asks the timely question: How do we “bring Americans together to bridge the partisan divide and strengthen our democratic republic?”  In I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Courageously Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times, journalist Mónica Guzmán urges us to “harness our innate curiosity to break down […]

Congregational Discussion Guide: 2020-2021, A Retrospective

For Congregational Dialogue: [1] In this retrospective issue, we are republishing two activities for adult education on these topics.  The first is a group activity from the October 2019 issue on deliberative dialogue. The second is a personal meditative activity from the February 2020 issue on Faith, Reason, and Climate Change.   [2] A Deliberative […]

Editor’s Introduction June/July 2021: Book Review Issue

[1] In a year seized by multiple pandemics, we seek wisdom and courage for the road ahead.  In the words of Rabbi Arthur Waskow, [2] “It is uncanny that the human race as a whole is at the moment struck with a viral disease that attacks most powerfully our ability to breathe.  And uncanny again […]