Journal of Lutheran Ethics Issue Index March 2016: Women's Ordination

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Editor's Introduction

Carmelo Santos


Carmelo Santos,  Editor
Forty five years ago the ELCA’s predecessor church bodies took the courageous and wise decision to no longer keep women away from the ministry of Word and Sacrament. We want to commemorate such an important occasion in the life of the church by looking back to previous articles in the Journal of Lutheran Ethics dealing with the issue of women’s ordination, especially in light of March being Women’s History Month. We have invited the founding editor, the Rev. Kaari Reierson, to reflect on the significance of the event 45 years later, from the perspective of the Journal. I hope the articles will help us remember how far we have come. I hope it also reminds us how much farther we still have to go. ​

Guest Editorial

Kaari M. Reierson,  Former Editor
When, during my tenure with JLE, some internet blogger referred to me as the “editrix” of JLE, I was baffled and uneasy. Given the context I was pretty sure it was not intended to be a compliment, and I found the vaguely sexual overtones kind of creepy. A few years Nadia Bolz-Weber named her first book “Pastrix,” and from the definition given on the book jacket I concluded that my intuition was correct. I stand in awe of Pastor Bolz-Weber’s literary acuity, calling women-despisers (misogynists) out and owning their puerile insult all in one bold stroke. ​ ​ Read More​.​

45th Anniversary of Women's Ordination

Dan Lee

Women and Theological Writing During the Reformation
   by Kirsi Stjerna
In the past few decades, many more texts about women in the Reformation have been unearthed, giving us a much fuller view of who these women were and how they impacted the Lutheran movement.  Stjerna commends social historians and translators for working with these texts and urges theologians to explore these texts as well. She then explores how women's public roles were inscribed into the household as convents ceased being an option for women. Finally, Stjerna examines the primary examples of women who did write their theology during this time, particularly in letters. ​

 Kirsi Stjerna

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Historical Document: Some Thoughts on the Ordination of Women and the Lutheran Confessions
    by  John Stumme
In 1981, the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Argentina was debating women's ordination and Stumme wrote this paper arguing in favor.  He argued that the Confessions are not the law when it comes to women's ordination. Instead we should look to the Gospel, lifting up Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” 

Ordaining Women Goes to the Heart of the Gospel
    by  Karen L. Bloomquist
Addressing a group from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cameroon, Bloomquist outlines the reasons why Lutheran church bodies often choose not to ordain women. Looking at Christian history and scripture, she explicates how women's ordination is grounded in the heart of the gospel, while also utilizing real life examples of the value of women's ordained ministry and the ability of people to grow in their understanding of culture and taboos when it comes to spiritual life. 



Book Reviews

From Jeremiad to Jihad

A Church Undone: Documents from the German Christian Faith Movement  translated and edited by Mary M. Solberg.
   Review by Donald L. Huber
Mary Solberg, associate professor of religion at Gustavus Adolphus College, has done historians, theologians, and ethicists a great favor by selecting, editing, and translating more than twenty documents relating to the “German Christian” movement in Nazi Germany.  The documents cover the period from 1932 to 1940, but are primarily from the early to mid-1930s.  Previously, English-speakers have had to depend on shorter excerpts and secondary accounts.  Although also excerpted here in most cases, the translated texts are long enough to give the reader a good feel for the way in which these speeches, sermons, pamphlets, books, and other materials were presented to the Protestant churches and to the wider German public.  Most of the documents are from the pens of the German Christians themselves, although a few are from their critics (a Gutachten from the theological faculty at Marburg; pointed critiques from Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth).

Laura Hartman  

The Living God and the Fullness of Life by Jürgen Moltmann, translated by Margaret Kohl.
   Review by James M. Brandt​

In all this work Moltmann never strays from theology’s purpose: to lift up for consideration the reality of the living God and illumine what human life is like when shaped by encounter with the God of Israel and Jesus Christ. The title of this new book signifies how Moltmann continues this trajectory. He means, once again, to reflect on God made known in Christ and how this knowledge grounds an earthy and sensual life marked by joy and feasting, open friendship, attentiveness to what is before us, and solidarity with those on the margins.
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.​

© March 2016
Journal of Lutheran Ethics
Volume 16, Issue 3