Journal of Lutheran Ethics Issue Index For Peace in God’s World: 25 Year Anniversary Celebration and Discussion

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Editor's Introduction


Jennifer Hockenbery, Editor

For Peace in God’s World begins “We of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America share with the Church of Jesus Christ in all times and places the calling to be peacemakers.”  This December issue of JLE, the last issue in the tumultuous year of 2020, reflects on our duty as individuals and as a church body to make peace. Read More

The Journal of Lutheran Ethics will be featuring a memorial for Rev. Dr. Cheryl Stewart Pero in our February issue. 

If you would like to participate, please send a 500 word tribute to by January 1, 2021.

Looking to 2021: Call for Papers

Please consider submitting papers on the following topics for 2021. To learn more about submission guidelines, click here

Issues with an open call for papers are in BOLD

February: Peace, Racism, and Friendship.  How do we think and work differently toward a constructive future, embracing the diversity we have and working toward racial justice?  Proposals encouraged by December 15.  Papers due by January 1, 2021 to  Please see Guide to Submitting papers.

April: Conference Papers from Lutheran Ethicist Gathering:  Topic: Responding to COVID

June: Summer Book Release Issues.  If you have a book to nominate for review this issue or if you are interested in being assigned a book to review, please send suggestions to who will pass them on to the book review editor.

August: Lutheran Higher Education: What is unique to the mission of the Lutheran institution of higher learning? How ought/can the church support Lutheran colleges and seminaries?  How ought/can Lutheran institutions of higher learning serve the church and society? Proposals due by June 15. Papers due by July 1, 2021 to  Please see Guide to Submitting papers.

October: Pan-Lutheran Dialogue:  What is our ethical commitment to  debate and discussion with other types of Lutherans in the 500th anniversary year of the Diet of Worms.  Proposals due by August 15.  Papers due by September 1, 2021 to  Please see Guide to Submitting papers.

December: Guidelines for Pastoral Ethics for the era after Vision and Expectations. 

Congregational Discussion Guide:

This section is meant to encourage readers to think deeper about the points raised in the issue and to inspire conversation among congregants.  

This December, many of us feel worn out by 2020.  We are worn out by the social isolation caused by COVID and the fear caused by a global pandemic. We are worn out by racial injustice.  We are worn out by the election cycle and the continued anxiety concerning how the transition of power will proceed.  This issue asks the reader, worn out as he or she may be, to consider how to foster peace at a time when we all so desperately yearn for peace. We may feel that trying to work for peace right now will be at odds with our own need to find inner peace.  Read More.


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Give Peace a Chance

 by Kaari Reierson

One of the earlier social statements of a youthful ELCA, the peace statement represents a hopeful church in a shifting time. The peace statement is a rich and fruitful example of the benefits of the moral deliberation model and retains vitality twenty-five years and countless geopolitical changes later.

For Peace in God's World: Today, More Than Ever

 by Dan Stoll

When the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) adopted For Peace in God’s World in 1995, world peace seemed elusive at best. In such an environment, the statement was a clarion call for the ELCA – and the church worldwide – to take action.  Today, 25 years later, this call for action is all the more urgent and compelling. 

International cooperation is stressed in the social statement because it contributes to peace and even keeps the peace. International cooperation is a way through which God intends this world to work. Sometimes it is easy to overlook, but all day, every day, nations do cooperate with one another. They deliver humanitarian aid, provide health and educational services, agree to treaties on a wide range of topics, and preserve and protect human rights. They also do perhaps less obvious things like share weather reports, provide postal services, and regulate the use of the broadcast airwaves.  But sometimes the path toward new forms of cooperation is unclear or nations have disputes with one another. 

Book Reviews

Nancy Arnison, Book Review Editor

As we conclude a year upended by a pandemic, disinformation, and increased attention to inequity, racial injustice, and violence against women, we offer an in-depth treatment of the Book of Job.  Dr. Barbara Crosby asks what the Book of Job might say to our attempts to develop effective and ethical forms of leadership for our times — leadership that goes beyond those with power and position. You will see that this month the Book Section continues our occasional forays into new forms.  As part of our commitment to providing readers with innovative and interdisciplinary resources, we depart from the usual structure of multiple short book reviews.  Instead we present one highly developed article in which the Book of Job is read not by a biblical scholar or theologian, but rather by a scholar focused on ethical leadership development. Her lively and accessible writing transforms solid academic scholarship into compelling and practical reading for people of faith grappling with these issues. Striking photographs and a video link add a new and welcome dimension to our Books Section.  Congregational study groups and seminary classes will welcome this piece to launch their conversations and stimulate effective action.

Leadership Lessons from Job in the Time of Pandemic by Barbara Crosby

The compound tragedies resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic bring to mind the story of Job in the Hebrew Bible. Job, who would have been considered a wildly successful business and civic leader in his own day, is brought low by a series of horrific setbacks. He is perplexed by having fallen so far from God’s favor; covered with running sores, he rises from the ashes to vehemently defend himself and demand an explanation. Eventually, God relents and speaks from the whirlwind to offer Job a vivid tour of the Earth and its teeming wildlife and mighty natural forces. Job comes to understand his own relative insignificance and lack of control; one assumes he also recognizes the need to get right with Mother Nature.

The story of Job points toward fertile fields that leadership scholars have been plowing for some time now: complex adaptive leadership, collective leadership, sustainability leadership, systemic leadership, collaborative leadership, leadership for the common good, integrative leadership, place-based leadership, and more. This essay draws on the story of Job and those fields to describe personal qualities and collective skills that can foster the leadership and engaged followership needed to ensure that the opportunities offered by the COVID-19 pandemic are not wasted.

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.​

© December/January 2020
​Journal of Lutheran Ethics
Volume 20, Issue 7



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