Editor’s Introduction – The Challenges of Asymmetrical War to Just War Theory: Conversations between Ethicists and Military Chaplains

[1] The preponderance of the papers in this month comes from the 2012 Lutheran Ethicists Gathering. This year’s gathering was an extremely fruitful conversation between military chaplains and ethicists, focused on the question of “The Challenges of Asymmetrical War to Just War Theory: Conversations between Ethicists and Military Chaplains.” Gilbert Meilaender gave the keynote presentation on facing ambiguity in warfare, David Baer spoke on developments in international law and combatant distinction, Wollom Jensen sought new language for just war, and Stewart Herman spoke to vulnerability in their supporting panel presentations. The report from the conference shows the breadth and depth of the conversation.

[2] This month also brings us a wealth of other writing. Paul Jersild, whose work has often graced these pages, brings us an essay on spirit ethics which concludes “A spirit ethic is confident that the believing community can bring the needed resources to bear in arriving at an informed, compassionate, and wise assessment of each challenging social issue it faces.” Kirsi Stjerna surveys the theological writing of Reformation women and finds them parlaying their domestic authority into a compassionate, scripture-based theology. John Stumme plumbs more recent depths in Lutheran history to shed light on the definition of religious organizations included in the Affordable Care Act.

[3] We close with two of our regular features. Christine Muir Shahan reviews Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy by Eric Metaxas and finds a rousing, inspiring account of the Lutheran saint. Clint Schnekloth offers excellent advice for those preaching in Lent, in his essay entitled “Getting beyond Guilt.”

Kaari Reierson

Kaari Reierson is the founding editor of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics and is the Chair of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics Advisory Council.