Journal of Lutheran Ethics Issue Index November: Puerto Rico

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Editor's Introduction

Carmelo Santos

Roger Willer,  Guest Editor

This month the Journal of Lutheran Ethics features two editorials by ELCA leaders who live personally and professionally with the myriad issues facing Puerto Rico.  These concerns also lie close to the heart and mind of JLE’s editor Carmelo Santos who first suggested this topic, sought out the appropriate writers, and translated one of the essay’s into English.  I am stepping in as Guest Editor only to assist in finalizing publication due to family circumstances that prevent Dr.  Santos from overseeing the last few steps to publication.   (We look forward to his return next month!) 

In this issue Bishop Felipe Lozada-Montañez of the ELCA’s Caribbean Synod lays out for readers the current economic and political situation in the commonwealth.  Likewise, Dr. Jose David Rodriguez of the Lutheran School of Theology Chicago reflects out of his experience and thought about a Christian response to the question of autonomy.  Taken together, the two writers demonstrate how difficult the issues of decolonization can be when local corruption, economic interests and international indifference tangle together.  At the same time, they project hope and a way forward, with a role for Christians who hear the call to tend to neighbor justice.  As an Anglo with my limited knowledge of the difficulties and turmoil eddying  through Puerto Rico, these reflections have challenged my illiteracy and stirred  my heart with both sorrow and hope.  I can only urge all readers to accept the same challenge offered by these editorials.


Dan Lee

Crisis in Puerto Rico and the Lutheran Voice  by Bishop Felipe Lozada-Montañez​. En españ​ol​.​

Bishop Felipe Lozada-Montañez​ writes from his personal experience living and working on the ground in Puerto Rico to speak out against the corruption both in and inherent in the governmental structure of the island commonwealth. Calling on Martin Luther’s pillar of serving the neighbor, Lozada-Mo​ntañez identifies this injustice as an opportunity for the church to live into its call to serve all people. 



Decolonizing Theology: The Case of Puerto Rico​ by José D. Rodríguez.

​Dr. Rodríguez​, a professor at the Lutheran School of Theology Chicago, calls on the United States to recognize its relationship to Puerto Rico as one of colonialism and to "let my people go." ​Unpacking scriptural, theological, and ecclesiological foundations, Rodríguez​ makes a strong case for ​Puerto Rican autonomy while calling for a full-fledged theological tradition written by and for people in this oppressed state.


Book Reviews

From Jeremiad to Jihad

Mo​ral Warriors, Moral Wounds  by James M. Childs Jr. and Wollom A. Jensen.

Since the book by Jensen and Childs is a collaboration between a veteran of the military chaplaincy and a veteran of theological education, it seemed appropriate to have the book reviewed by both a veteran of the military chaplaincy and a veteran of theological education. In this way the book's concern for communication between the chaplaincy and the broader church is further emphasized.    

Retired Army Chaplain Kenneth L. Sampson writes, "The text is a broad, enriching inquiry into the calling and tensions experienced within the chaplain’s vocation.  It offers a joint focus across Navy, Air Force, and Army Chaplaincy lines.  Fresh resources in references and footnotes invite further study.  While helpful for the entire Armed Forces and civilian pastoral care communities, this work is especially beneficial to initial entry and career-level chaplains. The example of dialogue and camaraderie demonstrated by the authors--one an endorsing agent staff member, the other an ethics professor--is particularly valuable.  Here is a faith community uniting as one to address complex issues of morality within warfare.​"  

President of Gettysburg Seminary, Michael Cooper-White writes, "Given the reality that more than 1.6 million Americans have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, every congregation finds itself presented with the opportunity to welcome home those whose vocations include military service in war zones almost guaranteed to inflict varying degrees of moral injury.  For military chaplains and for us all, such ministry poses unique and daunting challenges.  Childs and Jensen offer a resource that can help immensely in rising to such challenges.  An added bonus is an extensive bibliography that offers even more rich resources.​" 


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 2016
​Journal of Lutheran Ethics
Volume 16, Issue 9


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