For Congregational Discussion: August/September 2022: Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexuality

[1] This issue of Journal of Lutheran Ethics brings up a number of distinct topics for consideration and discussion all under the theme of Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sexuality and the larger ethical question: How might we help our neighbor flourish as the person God intends them to be?  The following sets of reflection and discussion questions might be used to explore more deeply the questions and ideas that arise in these articles.


For Private Reflection: Identity, Gendered Expectations, Vocation:


[2] Consider your sense of identity and sense of call by thinking through or journaling about the following questions.  There are not right or wrong answers to these questions; the goal is simply to be honest to your own sense of self. In sharing with others afterwards you may be surprised by how differently others answer these same questions.

  1. In what ways have you considered your gender as an essential part of your identity? When you explain yourself to yourself or to others, do you consider your gender as an essential part of the way you move and act in the world or as something more peripheral or even accidental to the core of who you are, what you value, and how you feel called to be?
  2. No matter how you answered part A, consider in what ways your gender identity has been a source of comfort and even call for you?
  3. No matter how you answered parts A and B, consider in what ways has your gender identity has been a source of stricture for you?
  4. In what ways do you feel that your answers for A-C, have changed throughout your life as you consider how your gender has affected the way you move, act, and react in the world?

If you have a group in which you feel drawn to share these reflections, consider doing so with others.  Consider what parts of the answers other give resonate with your own and which challenge you.


For Group Discussion: Hospitality and Affirmation of the Neighbor


[3] In a group think about the ways the articles in this issue of JLE have sparked questions or moved you to action.  Allow each member of the group to speak (or pass) before moving on to the next question.

  1. In reading about the lived experiences shared by some of the authors in this issue, what pieces of their stories especially moved you, sparked a question, or invited you to action?
  2. We are living in the midst of a revolution in regard to the concepts of sex, gender, and sexuality. What particular ideas that are emerging are most challenging to you intellectually, culturally, or religiously?  What resources or conversations would you like to have to help you tangle constructively with these challenges?
  3. What do you think your community could do/ should do to be more welcoming to those who feel marginalized by their gender identity or sexuality in society and in the church?


Additional Resources:


[4] If you or your group are interested in thinking about these issues more deeply consider the following online resources as a source for study groups or private research.


On the Topic of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression


On the Topic of Patriarchy and Sexism:


On the Topic of Gender Based Violence:



On the Topic of Abortion and Reproductive Rights for Women:



On the Topic of Discussion Difficult Issues Together in Church:






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.