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Journal of Lutheran Ethics Issue Index Special May 2020 Issue: COVID-19

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Editor's Introduction


Jennifer Hockenbery Dragseth, Editor
The Journal of Lutheran Ethics aims at connecting academics, clergy, and congregations in thoughtful dialogue on contemporary ethical issues.  One goal of the journal is to present and encourage constructive theological thinking at the moment in which it is most needed.  To that end, we have put together a special issue of JLE for May, 2020 in response to the current pandemic and quarantine. This issue includes an essay by Rev. Aaron Klink that responds to this current pandemic, as well as links to articles from past JLE issues that provide thoughtful insights on topics relevant to the crisisRead more.

For Congregational Discussion

The Journal of Lutheran Ethics hopes to provide reading material to stimulate thinking and conversation among academics, clergy, and laity. To this end, this section of JLE is provided in order to encourage constructive discussion within congregations about the topics discussed in JLE.  Consider using this section in formal adult education classes or in informal small group discussions. Given the current situation this might mean that this portion can be used in Zoom meetings, among household units, or in online discussion forums hosted by a church. 

The Special May Issue on COVID-19 is dedicated to looking at faithful responses to the current pandemic. The essay by Aaron Klink provides insight from Luther’s own reflections on a plague in his time while giving readers ideas to consider as they contemplate their ethical obligations in our time. The links to previously published essays include an article about the H1N1 pandemic in 2012 as well as contemplative articles on issues that are now at the forefront: racism, anxiety, and the use of technology. The quotes to Consider and Discuss come from all of those articles.  Read More. 



On What We Might Learn from Luther About Ministry in A Pandemic  by Aaron Klink

Many Christians are wondering what faithfulness requires during the pandemic. Luther’s reflections on a similar situation are contained in “Whether One May Flee a Deadly Plague,” a treatise written in response to a request for advice from Johann Hess, leader of the Reformation in Silesa. However, Luther’s views about the use of reason means his advice cannot simply be repristinated. Klink’s article explains Luther’s text in its historical context and gleans insights for our own to help readers think faithfully and rationally about their obligations during the time of COVID-19.

Anxiety, Atonement, and Vocation by James Childs

Childs discusses how to deal with anxiety when the world is ‘out of whack,’ providing a message of hope that  while “[causes for anxiety will not go away and the experience of anxiety will not go away, . . . neither will the grace of God.” 

Cyberspace offers a space to build cultures of trust in times of isolation and despair.  Faithful Christians can use these spaces to offer care and comfort and to be cared for and comforted.

Technology, Lutheranism, and the Proclamation by Eric Berg

Promoting faith through face to face interaction is no longer possible.  Technology can both help and hinder proclaiming the Gospel and the Lutheran understanding of faith. 

When Did We See You, Lord? by Cheryl Stewart Pero

Pero reminds readers that we find and serve Christ in “the least of these.” Pero invites readers to consider how racism makes certain individuals less visible in times of great need.  

The H1N1 Pandemic: Ethics and the Common Good by Donald Stiger

A look at the pandemic from the last decade provides us with plans to help us in future health crises.  The essay provides a solid foundation for thinking about the common good in times of epidemic. 

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.​

© Special May Issue 2020
​Journal of Lutheran Ethics
Volume 20, Issue 3



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