Publisher’s Commentary – JLE Publishes On

[1] Whether or not it’s true that change is the only constant in the universe, change has been the constant theme behind the scenes for the Journal of Lutheran Ethics in the past 10 months. As most JLE reader’s now know, editor Victor Thasiah has resigned his position with the ELCA’s churchwide office to teach Christian ethics in the department of religion at California Lutheran University (CLU). CLU’s great gain is JLE’s sizeable loss.

[2] Unanticipated changes for JLE began last October, occasioned by staff reductions in the churchwide office. Through that critical transition Victor provided a steady hand while JLE morphed from a publication guided by two editors within the Church in Society program unit into one staffed by a solo editor located within the Office of the Bishop. JLE’s schedule was reduced to bi-monthly, but otherwise the transition has been seamless while the depth and quality of reflections published remained constant.

[3] With a commitment to continuity and excellence and yet with a vision for upgrade and enhancement, Victor has advanced the work of JLE in the last ten months. Each bi-monthly issue contained more essays than in the recent past, a testimony to his cheerful tenacity in tracking down writers. The breadth of comment and variety of perspective for which JLE is known has, if anything, grown. He oversaw the development of a thorough survey of readership, a tribute to Victor’s commitment that this tool of the church’s theological discernment be focused on what readers will find useful. A new essay contest for students is in place, to be announced late in the year, a signature of Victor’s concern to provide a forum for fresh perspective.

[4] And now change — Victor is gone, too soon. Some readers have asked whether JLE will continue. Yes! Last year’s change that linked JLE to the Theological Discernment Team in the Office of the Bishop only highlights the value of JLE as a bridge between scholarship, resources, and dialogue in the service of discernment toward peace, justice and the care of God’s creation. The often-heard call for deep and sustained conversation among people of faith, both within the ELCA and outside, accentuates the need for a free, online meeting place for scholars and students, pastors and bishops, theologically informed layperson, advocates and activists. The ELCA believes there is room in our world for voices that represent faith without rushing to judgment and closing off discussion and deliberation. JLE embodies that commitment.

[5] After a careful search a new editor will be found for JLE. In the meantime JLE is blessed to greet Kaari Reierson as interim editor. Readers can count on her experience as JLE’s founding editor and her insights as a sharp-minded pastor to provide continuity and excellence despite the ongoing change behind the scenes at JLE. Welcome back, Kaari.

Roger Willer

Rev. Dr. Roger Willer serves as Director for Theological Ethics on the Theological Discernment Team in the Office of the Presiding Bishop. He also serves as Publisher for the Journal of Lutheran Ethics.