Journal of Lutheran Ethics Issue Index November/December: Immigration



Editor's Introduction

Carmelo Santos

Carmelo Santos,  Interim Editor

How shall we respond to the stranger knocking at our door? What should our answer be to the plight of the refugee desperate for a safe haven or to the immigrant seeking refuge among us, fleeing violence and poverty in their home country. How shall we respond when we know that we are not totally innocent from the causes that have created the humanitarian crises consuming the Middle East, Central America, and so many African countries. And what shall we do when the stranger knocking at the door is viewed with suspicion and fear by many among our own? ​ ​ ​ Read More​.

Lutheran Ethicists' Gathering

Register now for 'Security and Vulnerability in the Light of Global Realities:​ Living in the Shadow of Empire," this year's Lutheran Ethicists' Gathering.  (Registration ends December 30, 2014.) This event of the ELCA's Theological Discernment Team (January 6 & 7, 2015 at the Fairmont Royal York, Toronto, Canada) annually brings together ethically attentive Christians whether ethicists, pastors, chaplains, teachers, or lay people.  This year's program features Canadian perspectives on security and vulnerability. Read More​.


Dan Lee


WDHL pic 100.jpg

Paul's Mission to Rome's Enemies the Gauls: Faith Welcoming Foreigners  by David L. Balch

In a time of debates about immigrants and refugrees, how can Scripture guide us? Balch looks to Paul's welcoming and accepting attitude toward the Galatians compared to the hostility of greater Roman culture.  If Paul can proclaim that there is no longer Greek or Jew, can we not live that same unity?

Children Immigration and Semantics Migration by Eliseo Pérez-Álvarez

How does the language we use to describe immigrants and migrants reflect the way in which they have been dehumanized in our society, and in fact contribute to that dehumanization?  As Christians, we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, and looking at Scripture, there are many stories of migrants who we lift up as prophets. Pérez-Álvarez also examines the history of Mesoamerica and the fact that history has been obfuscated in favor of political gain. Invoking Galatians, he calls on Christians to put aside semantics in order to see reality and seek justice. 

Loving Mercy--Doing Justice​ by Alexia Salvatierra

When churches love and serve people through works of mercy, they are often treating a symptom of the disease of injustice.  Salvatierra argues that in addition to loving mercy, Christians must do justice.  She lifts up Faith-Rooted Organizing model as a way to engage Christians with a theology of justice that is engages a compassionate attitude with a systemic understanding of injustice. Salvatierra ends by calling on readers to become prophets proclaiming a common vision for our world, working against the cause of the illness, not just the symptoms.

Amando la Misericordia -- Practicando la Justicia de Alexia Salvatierra

En este articulo la Revda. Alexia Salvatierra nos advierte que cuando las iglesias solamente se enfocan en obras de caridad sólo están atendiendo los síntomas de nuestros problemas sociales pero no sus causas. Como pastora y activista, Salvatierra nos llama la atención a la necesidad de ir más allá de las obras de misericordia, también hay que luchar por la justicia social. Ella nos presenta el modelo de "Faith Rooted Organizing" (activismo centrado en la fe) como una alternativa cristiana a los modelos seculares de activismo. Este modelo nos permite ser inocentes como palomes y a la vez astutos como serpientes para el bienhestar de los más necesitados. Es bueno darle pescado a los hambrientos, y mucho más enseñarles a pescar, dice Salvatierra, pero también hay que quitar los muros que han construido alrededor del lago donde estan los peces. Este articulo presenta un modelo para una pastoral de activismo social evangé​lico. 




Book Reviews

From Jeremiad to Jihad

The Other Jonathan Edwards: Selected Writings on Society, Love, and Justice ​edited by Gerald McDermott and Ronald Story
   Review by E. Wray Bryant
Much attention globally is being given to the life and thought of Jonathan Edwards. Gerald McDermott and Ronald Story have provided an introduction to the theological core and passion of Jonathan Edwards. Their book consists of twenty edited selections from the works of Edwards arranged in chronological order. The subtitle of the book clearly states the three themes which these selections highlight:  society, love and justice. McDermott and Story have shown that Edwards’ thought has at its core the commandments of Jesus to love God and to love neighbor. The gracious God through love brings about a change in a person’s character and being, which then manifests itself in the Christian through acts of love and virtue. If Edwards’ argument would have stopped there, he would be counted among the revivalist and pietists whose descendants are still with us in American Evangelicals. However, over and over again, one is struck with Edwards’ stress upon the public and social consequences of faith.e

Laura Hartman  

Jesus and Jihad: Reclaiming the Prophetic Heart of Christianity and Islam by Robert F. Shedinger
   Review by Michael Trice

Robert F. Shedinger’s recent book, Jesus and Jihad: Reclaiming the Prophetic Heart of Christianity and Islam, argues for a constructive re-imagination (in fact, reclamation) of a pre-religious prophetic spirit, which was exemplified in the leadership of Jesus and Muhammad.  Drawing from the insightful work of Fred Donner (Muhammad and the Believers, Belknap, 2010), Shedinger suggests that prior to the dawn of modern religious identity, as an identity framed by confessional pietism, there existed an unalloyed prophetic heart evident in both Jesus and Muhammad, and a prophetic heart that took aim at the political injustices of their respective time.  The daily struggle of this prophetic activity is what Shedinger has in mind in his use of the term jihad, taken to mean the greater jihad (chapter three) as a spiritual, internal struggle to surrender one’s ego in favor of spiritual maturation in accordance with God’s will.   To achieve this level of jihad, Christians and Muslims alike must liberate themselves from the “narrowly drawn religious-identity labels” (i.e., being exclusively Christian or Muslim) which prohibit human beings from being advocates for all of humanity, everywhere (160).​
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.​

© November/December 2015
Journal of Lutheran Ethics
Volume 15, Issue 10