Editor’s Introduction: April/May 2021

[1] Christ is Risen, Christ is risen indeed.  Hallelujah.

[2] Never before in my life have I felt so palpably the national and global need for the good news of Easter.  This is the good news that God has faced all that we face, suffered all that we suffer, died as we will die and visited Hell itself.  This is the good news that God has infused suffering, death, and even Hell with the light of love, grace, and divine presence.  There is no place we can go that God is not.  God’s presence is here in every corner of our world, in every moment of our lives, and every moment of our deaths.  And most importantly, God does not just suffer beside us, but raises us up with Christ, flinging open heaven’s gates.  Christ is risen. Christ is risen, indeed. Hallelujah.

[3] In this issue of JLE and in a special May issue, we are publishing many of the pieces that were presented in January at the Lutheran Ethicists’ Gathering which was part of the Society for Christian Ethics.  LEG gathered virtually this year, and participants shared “thought pieces” about the pandemic, the effects that rippled through our society, and the moral imperatives that emerged.  Six of those presenting crafted their spoken thought pieces into essays of varied lengths to share with JLE readers.  This issue contains three essays, and the May issue will contain three more.

[4] Michael Kuchinsky’s piece serves as an introduction to the topic.  Kuchinsky presents a narrative of the virus in the U.S., what fissures and rifts the pandemic has exposed,  what questions have risen to the forefront of our national debates, and what responses we must now consider.

[5] One of the issues that has risen to the fore is the inequity of the impact of the virus.  Trish Beckman discusses this in terms of gender in American society.  Her essay presents several issues taken from the news as well as from experience.  Importantly her piece concludes with questions that will help readers consider the gendered impact of the virus in their own lives and in the lives of those in their communities.

[6] Finally, Richard Perry discusses the inequity of the impact of the virus in terms of racial inequality and announces broadly his exhaustion with the “okey-doke.”  After explaining many of the issues at play, Perry helps readers think about how we might create a better future rather than simply returning “to normal.”  His questions at the end of his essay guide leaders to think about their formation as people and thinkers and to consider new ways to move and grow towards a society that transforms structure of white supremacy into systems of racial justice.

[7] In May, readers of JLE will have the opportunity to read three more essays that have grown from thought pieces presented at LEG. Until then, may these essays help us all think more deeply about the past year and how we might move forward into a better future.

Jennifer Hockenbery

Jennifer Hockenbery serves as Editor of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics .  She is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Humanities at St Norbert College. She attends Grace Lutheran Church in Green Bay, WI.