Journal of Lutheran Ethics October 2015: #BlackLivesMatter

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Editor's Introduction

Carmelo Santos

Carmelo Santos,  Interim Editor

That black lives matter should be obvious but unfortunately it is not. Black Lives Matter is not simply a rhetorical expression coined by a few. It is in fact an existential cry with deeply spiritual roots. Born from the depths of centuries of collective oppression (remember slavery, indentured servitude, Jim Crow,) it is an expression of the groans of the Spirit of which Paul spoke, the collective prayer of a people demanding their right to exist, their inalienable right to be. ​ ​ Read More​.


Dan Lee

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black ruminations
   by Nicole Newman                                         
Less can be more. Newman's poetry speaks from the heart of the pain of oppression in a way that an academic article could not reach, not matter the world count. ​​We know that the personal is policitcal, but Newman's work brings home the fact that the polictical is also intensely personal for so many voices not lifted up by mainstream media.

A City Unraveled: The Baltimore Riots and the Response of the Faith Community​ 

 by Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane

Though we hear about events like the riots in Baltimore on the news, opportunities to hear from those on the ground are more difficult to find.  The Journal of Lutheran Ethics has the honor of welcoming Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane to write about his experience as a member of the faith community responding to the injustice and protests in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.  What should the role of the church be in a society broken by racism?

 Kirsi Stjerna

The Role of Church for Such a Time as This
    by Rozella White
We live in a society whose prosperity stems from an economy infused with money from the slave trade and the labor of enslaved peoples. The effects of that on people today have not disappeared, but have gone underground where they are harder to name.  White eloquently lays out how racism is a sin that we need to name and work against today along with a strategy for people of faith to work together to create a world of healing and justice.



Book Reviews

From Jeremiad to Jihad

Changing the Questions: Explorations in Christian Ethics​ by Margaret A Farley​
   Review by Elyssa Salinas
The title Farley gives this work professes a methodology that is prevalent throughout the book. Farley dives into each essay by first acknowledging the questions or assumptions that have bubbled up from a theological or ethical exploration. She spends time acknowledging long-standing traditions or conundrums in areas of morality, death, hope, and various others.  Farley then proceeds to question the questions that were asked—questions that highlight her wo​rk as an ethicist, a postmodern scholar, and a sexual ethicist with significant gender critique

Laura Hartman  

Hidden Inheritance: Family Secrets, Memory, and Faith by Heidi Neumark
   Review by Ryan Cumming​

Readers familiar with ELCA pastor Heidi Neumark’s previous memoir, Breathing Space, know that her ministry has carried her into the heart of the paradox of Lutheran faith, to the extremes of profound, abiding grace and heart-wrenching sin.  It is here at the intersection that questions of identity and faith are brought into sharp relief, and Neumark’s talent at investigating their contours is evident in her latest endeavor, Hidden Inheritance. The book begins (as books often do now) with a Google search.  One night, while researching online, Neumark’s daughter uncovered startling news.  Contrary to all the elder Neumark knew about her father’s family, Rev. Neumark did not descend from a long line of German Lutherans but rather from a long line of German Jews.  Neumark invites readers to accompany her on the journey and to ponder her reflections on identity, faith and history.  The book is part-travelogue, part-history, part-spiritual memoir, and in all senses showcases Neumark’s deft ability to articulate a contextual Lutheran theology that is equal parts empowering and challenging.​
Articles published in the journal reflect the perspectives and thoughts of their authors and not necessarily the theological, ethical, or social stances of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.​

© October 2015
Journal of Lutheran Ethics
Volume 15, Issue 9