Issue: March 2012: The Challenges of Asymmetrical War to Just War Theory: Conversations between Ethicists and Military Chaplains

Volume 12 Number 2

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

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.

Biblical / Ethical Reflections on the Enspirited Life

[1] I begin these reflections by turning to selected passages in the Gospels, the book of Acts, and the Pauline letters, arguing the centrality of the Spirit to any consideration of Christian faith and life, or to biblical and Christian ethics. Then I address several hermeneutical issues in relating what I call “spirit ethics” to […]

The Silence of Easter

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein [1] During the Easter season, I wander the halls of church and mutter on the bike trail, “He is risen!” I’m perennially hoping someone will overhear and respond. Often someone does. Even if I speak into silence, in the absence of others, I […]

Facing Ambiguity in Warfare

This paper was first given as a talk at the Lutheran Ethicists’ Gathering in January, 2012. I have, therefore, left it in the somewhat more casual form of a talk, unencumbered also by footnotes. — GM [1] My assignment, as I understand it, is to try to say something helpful about the fact that soldiers […]

The Rule of Distinction and the Military Response to Global Terrorism

[1] A military response to global terrorism raises challenges to the existing moral and legal framework for conduct of war. Indeed, some might argue that the so-called war on terror requires adopting an altogether new framework for thinking about the conduct of war. The older framework, anchored in the 1949 Geneva Conventions, presupposes an antiquated […]

A New Language for Just War

[1] General Carl von Clausewitz said, “War therefore is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will” (Clausewitz, 1976). Stated a little differently, the intention of war is the destruction, in the most literal meaning of the word, of the enemy. The issues facing combat soldiers, military commanders, and chaplains […]

Notes from the Front Lines: Reporting on the 2012 Lutheran Ethicists Gathering

[1] Major David Buffaloe spoke about ethical challenges to soldiers. Much of his training focused on high intensity conflict, but there are many other areas in which a soldier encounters ethical challenges. In his own training at West Point, Buffalo spent a fair amount of time on Michael Walzer’s book Just and Unjust Wars, and […]

Women and Theological Writing During the Reformation

From Study of Lives to Study of Theologies [1] In comparison to the volumes of religious writing by medieval (often visionary) women and the booming scholarly work around them in the last three or so decades, the sixteenth century Protestant women have generated significantly less interest. There are reasons for that: First of all, so […]

When Government Defines “Religious” (Church): An Historical Example

[1] An agency of the federal government issues new regulations that include a definition of a “religious” organization, and critics charge that the definition restricts religious freedom. Sounds like a reference to recent events, and so it is. Yet it is also a summary of events in the late 1970s. The particulars differ but the […]

A review of Bonhoeffer Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy by Eric Metaxas

[1] Once in a while a nonfiction book comes along that captivates the attention of the reader on multiple levels. The book is vivid, moving, drawing in the reader in the fashion of a good drama, all the while based on profound historical details. In such rare occasions, emotion becomes integrated with fact. And if […]