Issue: July 2012: Book Review Issue

Volume 12 Number 4

Editor’s Introduction – Annual Book Review Issue

[1] Summer is here, that wonderful season for working through the stack of books that has piled up over the year or for browsing the catalogs and shelves in search of new titles. It is also time for Journal of Lutheran Ethics’ annual book review issue, and this election year we have several titles pertaining […]

Review of William F. May’s, Testing the National Covenant: Fears and Appetites in American Politics

[1] William F. May has already gifted us with an elucidation of how code, contract, and covenant serve as important lenses in understanding the different relationships within the realm of health care. In this book he extends and expands these critical distinctions in his treatment of American politics. At the heart of the book is […]

Review of Burkee’s Power, Politics, and the Missouri Synod: A Conflict that Changed American Christianity.

[1] The story of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod begins in reaction to encroaching theological liberalism. In 1839, Martin Stephan brought about 700 Saxons to Missouri to flee the liberal and rationalist developments in Saxony and nearby Prussia. One hundred and thirty years later, these Lutherans were up against the same enemy—this time from within, and […]

Review of Taylor’s, Religion, Politics, and the Christian Right: Post-9/11 Powers and American Empire

[1] There are few authors as adept as Mark Lewis Taylor at navigating the fine line between incisive, biting commentary and partisan polemics. Whether he is writing about the criminal justice system (in The Executed God) or the cooptation of religion by repressive political regimes (in the present book), his agenda is clear: the deconstruction […]

Testing the National Covenant: A Covenantal Political Ethic for Lutherans?

Introduction [1] “The self and the social are the two great idols,” as Simone Weil’s memorable aphorism about our time puts it.1 In his compelling argument in Testing the National Covenant, William F. May explores how our current fears and appetites feed our collective idolatry of both the individual self and the economy in American […]

A Lutheran Covenantal Political Ethic?

[1] Any author hopes for an expository and critical reading of his work of the kind and quality that Ronald Duty has offered of Testing the National Covenant. I have benefitted hugely from reading his review. In developing his argument, this very learned man always stays on the subject. He doesn’t simply jangle the verger’s […]

Resources for the struggle against fear and appetite

[1] Ron Duty begins his review essay with a fine exposition of major portions of William May’s argument in Testing the National Covenant, so I will not cover that ground. Nor will I engage Duty’s (mild) critique of May’s analysis. Since Duty is a political scientist by training, it is not surprising that he focuses […]

Review of Cavanaugh’s, Migrations of the Holy: God, State and the Political Meaning of the Church

[1] It is widely remarked that postmodernity is characterized by a certain “return to religion.” Bill Cavanaugh’s Migrations of the Holy might aptly be described as a work that simultaneously reflects and interrogates religion’s political resurgence in this postmodern era. It is a potent work of political theology by one of the leading voices articulating […]

The Ethics of Missional Church

[1] I have two aims in this essay. First, I would like to respond to the self-confidence of the missional movement with a set of questions that raises the level of self-awareness and self-critique. [2] Second, I would like to bring to awareness in the professional ethicist community that there is a wide-open field of […]