Issue: March 2010

Volume 10 Number 3

Human Trafficking: Flourishing in the Shadows, Demanding Our Attention

[1] As part of its exhibit to raise awareness about human trafficking at the 2009 Youth Gathering in New Orleans, the ELCA’s program unit for Church and Society rented a U-Haul Van and opened its back doors. Youth groups were invited to jump in and read the stories of people affected such as Miya, a […]

The Book of Ruth: A Voice That Calls Out from Ancient Days

The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the selfsame song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn… Excerpt from the poem “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats (1795-1821) [1] […]

Your Body, Myself: Combating Human Trafficking with Theology of the Body

[1] We often take our bodies for granted. [2] As essential to our lives as air itself, it might seem that one of the few universal truths in this world that humans tend not to notice our bodies. The particular way in which an elbow bends is unappreciated until it adopts a creak in its […]

The Lutheran Church in Latvia Wants to Ban the Ordination of Women

[1] On November 11, 2009 there was an atmosphere of anxiety in the Youth Center of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church (LELC) in Riga’s Old City as LELC pastors and evangelists met. The agenda of the LELC Pastors’ Conference had as a point of debate the question of women’s ordination — should the new Constitution […]

What Has Paris to Do with Augsburg?: Natural Law and Lutheran Ethics

[1] As Thomas Pearson’s essay so succinctly illustrates, questions about the usefulness of Roman Catholic versions of natural law theory to Lutheran ethics — or even to ecumenical conversation about ethics in which both traditions participate — have many layers. Does natural law exist? If it exists, in what exactly does it consist, and what […]

Protestant Bias against the Natural Law: A Critique

Introduction [1] However deeply ensconced the suspicion of natural law might seem among 20th-century Protestant thinkers, it cannot be attributed to the 16th-century Reformers themselves. Both Lutheran and Reformed streams of the magisterial tradition readily affirmed the doctrine of lex naturalis and cognito Dei naturalis. While it is decidedly true that they championed a particular […]

Some Reflections on the Problem of Natural Law: Comments on the Papers

I’d like to begin by thanking all contributors to this symposium on natural law for their thoughtful papers. One thing those papers illustrate quite nicely, I think, is that “natural law” is not so much a position, but a group of positions. The term “natural law theory” designates a set of intellectual commitments together with […]

John Calvin on the Christian Life

[1] Calvin dedicated a great deal of attention to the nature and scope of the Christian life, and even wrote a section of the Institutes dedicated to this theme (Inst., which was often published on its own. However, rather than summarize the teaching of that section, I would like to raise up five themes […]

Victor Thasiah

Contemplating the Trinity for Lent

[1] The chocolate shop nearby is encouraging people not to give up chocolate for Lent. “Just give up something like red meat,” they say, “or your negative attitudes.” Over the years, I’ve been using Lent as a time to get my life back on track. I’ve given up things like desserts, drinking, and dining out […]