The two articles in this issue of JLE are very different from each other. The first article comes from the pen of Ted Peters, distinguished Research Professor of Systematic Theology (and Religion and Science) at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union. Different from his past contributions to the Journal in this article, he engages the question of economism. He follows closely the work of his colleague, Richard Norgaard, who has articulated an alternative economic proposal that puts ecological concerns over market economic interest. With the help of Langdon Gilkey’s hermeneutics Peters reads economism as the structuring myth of contemporary society and calls for (and models) a thorough criticism of its crypto-theological underpinning.
Taken from a lecture delivered to a meeting of Lutheran and Wesleyan ethicists, Burroughs’ article explores how and why Lutheran and Methodist understandings of moral transformation differ. Burroughs skillfully analyzes Luther and Wesley’s writings, along with theologians of their traditions who have been influenced from both. With this laid out, he then addresses the question, “What do these differences mean for us today?
Economism is a myth that requires demythologizing. Economist and ecologist Richard Norgaard insightfully describes economism as a secular religion at whose altar American society and many other societies worship. Economism is the free-market ideology that has so imprisoned the American mind that it can no longer address the urgent matter of climate change. Economism is an idolatrous religion that is leading the planet to destruction. This article augments Norgaard’s treatment of economism by calling it a myth and then offering a prophetic critique in the form of demythologizing, or better, demythicizing. Only by demythologizing the myth of economism can the church speak to the larger society’s responsibility to care for the poor and the planet in light of a vision of the common good.
Review: Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter (Princeton University Press, 2016)
 Utilitarianism, the pragmatic philosophy developed by Jeremy Bentham (d. 1832) and John Stuart Mill (d. 1873) views actions as good or moral that conduce to human happiness and as bad or immoral those that do not. Its critics sometimes argue that justice is more important than individual freedom to pursue one’s bliss. Peter Singer […]
“What if long-term PTSD is less about what happened out there (in combat), and more about the society they come back to?”  This past November, I heard author and journalist Sebastian Junger speak at a Navy SEAL Foundation conference on mental health issues in persons serving in the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community. Junger, […]