Issue: May 2016: Living in the Shadow of Empire

Volume 16 Number 5

Editor’s Introduction: Living in the Shadow of Empire

Once a year members of the Lutheran Ethicist Network convene around a program relevant to the intersections of church and society. This year they met in Toronto, Canada exploring the meaning today of vulnerability and security. More specifically, the title of the event was: “The Meaning of Vulnerability and Security Today in the Light of Global Realities: Living in the Shadow of Empire.” The present issue of JLE makes available to readers a partial but probing sample from the substance of the Gathering.

Living in the Shadow of Empire: A Theological Reflection in Conversation with Indigenous Experience

Indian Residential Schools are a sinful part of Canada’s history that were facilitated and hidden by Empire. Bishop MacDonald explores the history of the schools as well as the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Reflecting on the context of Scripture, he uses the concepts of idolatry, systemic evil, and Empire to explore the role of Christians during the schools’ existence while calling on Christians today to examine their roles in relation to Empire. ​

Vulnerability, Security, Empire, and Confronting Racism: Inspirations from the 2016 Lutheran Ethicists Gathering

Raye helpfully recaps the Lutheran Ethicists’ Gathering presentations–including Bishop MacDonald’s call to name and resist corporate evil through repentance and the establishing of right relationships. Raye also summarizes Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat’s analysis on Paul’s letters to the Romans as a useful model of how Empire is named and resisted in Scripture. The article asks its readers, “What is God calling those Christians benefiting from the empire of the United States to do? How can truth and reconciliation be reached?”​

Reading Scripture as a Political Act: Essays on the Theopolitical Interpretation of the Bible (Fortress, 2015)

[1] It is a challenging task to provide a clear and fair evaluation of a volume of collected essays. This is doubly true when the volume includes contributions from more than a dozen different authors whose diverse interests coalesce around an emerging ​theme still being defined. In this instance, a reviewer more closely resembles a […]

The Hidden God: Luther, Philosophy and Political Theology (Indiana University Press, 2015)

[1] Marius Timmann Mjaaland, professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Oslo, provides a dazzlingly, provocative exploration of the political implications of Luther’s theological method and scriptural exegesis. He argues that Luther’s own texts laid the groundwork for radical political interpretations of his thought, even as Luther would claim such applications were outside […]