Issue: March 2011: Christ Made Sin and Criminal Justice

Volume 11 Number 2

Response to Hearing the Cries: Faith and Criminal Justice

[1] It is no secret that some members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) question the value of the social statements of this church. A proposed resolution from a congregation in our synod declares that “social statements have limited value to the ministry and mission of the ELCA, have been divisive, and are […]

Response to Hearing the Cries: Faith and Criminal Justice

[1] Given the extensive biblical references to seeking justice, lifting the afflicted, and Jesus’ announcement of his ministry as “freeing the captive, and bringing good news to the poor,” we should all applaud Hearing the Cries, the thorough study developed by the ELCA Criminal Justice Task Force, chaired by the capable Cynthia Osborne. The diversity […]

Response to Hearing the Cries: Faith and Criminal Justice

[1] Hearing the Cries:Faith and Criminal Justice opens the door to a long overdue conversation about beliefs, values, experiences, practices, and policies that profoundly affect all of us. I approached my reading of Hearing the Cries with a deep sense of gratitude for the work of the task force and staff, and a feeling of […]

Response to Hearing the Cries: Faith and Criminal Justice

[1] Years ago when I was a graduate student at Union Theological Seminary in New York, my wife Ellen appeared breathlessly in our apartment doorway at noon; she regularly would walk home from work at the “Godbox” (the National Council of Churches headquarters) to join me for lunch. She had just been robbed at knife […]

Response to Hearing the Cries: Faith and Criminal Justice

[1] “I don’t understand why you care about those people. They’re just trash, and we should throw them away. I don’t want anything to do with them.” I have become accustomed to hearing statements like these from people whom I love, who are Christian, but who do not see my work critiquing criminal justice systems […]

The Youth Revolution in Egypt and the Church’s Response?

Where Did this Come From? [1] Anyone familiar with the United Nations Arab Human Development Reports published between 2002 and 2010 watched the events unfolding at Tahrir Square in the center of Cairo on January 25, 2011, and wondered, “What took them so long?” The AHDRs were major research projects undertaken by Arab social scientists […]

Hearing the Cries: Conversations with Luther and the USCCB

[1] Hearing the Cries: Faith and Criminal Justice (hereafter HtC) provides an important contribution to theological reflection on the current penal crisis. The ELCA Criminal Justice Task Force deserves considerable praise because their document is theologically robust, pastorally-driven, and instructive for Lutheran congregations as well as all persons concerned about the state of criminal justice […]

Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell’s American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us and Adam Taylor’s Mobilizing Hope: Faith-Inspired Activism for a Post-Civil Rights Generation

[1] In his 1990 classic, The Restructuring of American Religion, sociologist of religion Robert Wuthnow observed that a seismic restructuring occurred in American religion during the decades following World War II. In his estimation, denominational identities during that time were diminishing in salience, giving way to a realignment of American religion into conservative and liberal […]

Harriet Beecher Stowe on the Christian Life

[1] June 14, 2011, marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Her first novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, (henceforth UTC) converted thousands of readers to the anti-slavery cause. Stowe’s story ran as a serial in the anti-slavery paper National Era and then appeared as a book in 1852. It became the bestseller […]

Victor Thasiah

Editor’s Comments – Christ Made Sin and Criminal Justice

[1] Bodies are eloquent.1 They do, of course, literally speak out, communicating a range of experiences and perspectives; but they also “act out,” with seemingly infinite communicative potential. Much body “talk,” however, is unintentional, consisting of non-verbal action, expressed in one’s overall manner or way of doing things. Reading such body language, whether dealing with […]