In this book, leading American Lutheran theologians, inspired by the Scandinavian emphasis on theology as embodied practice, ask how Christian communities might be mobilized for resistance against systemic injustices. They argue that the challenges we confront today as citizens of the United States, as a species in relation to all the other species on the planet, and as members of the body of Christ require an imaginative reconceptualization of the inherited tradition. The driving force of each chapter is the commitment to truth-telling in naming the church’s complicity with social and political evils, and to reorienting the church to the truth of grace that Christianity was created to communicate. Contributors ask how ecclesial resources may be generatively repurposed for the church in the world today, for church-building grounded in Christ and for empowering the church’s witness for justice. The authors take up the theme of resistance in both theoretical and pragmatic terms, on the one hand, rethinking doctrine, on the other, reconceiving lived religion and pastoral care, in light of the necessary urgencies of the time, and bearing witness to the God whose truth includes both justice and hope.
Christine Helmer is professor of German and religious studies at Northwestern University.
Chapter 1. Ecclesial Practices of Resistance
Chapter 2. Taking Responsibility for Truth: Ecclesial Practices in an Age of Hypocrisy
Chapter 3. Embodying Truth in Ecclesial Practices
Allen G. Jorgenson
Chapter 4. Telling the Truth about Doctrine: Justification and Justice
Chapter 5. Complicity and the Christological Path of Ecclesial Resistance: Summons to a New Catechesis for a Time of Despair
Paul R. Hinlicky
Chapter 6. Lutheran Ecclesiologies of Resistance: Starting with the Spirit
Cheryl M. Peterson
Chapter 7. Resisting Tyranny and Polarization: An Ecclesiology of Word and Sacrament from the Midwestern Heartland
Chapter 8.Creation Piety and Spiritual Formation
Gordon J. Straw
Chapter 9. Remembering the Immigrant Experience: The Body of Christ as a Borderless Space to Embrace Our Shared Humanity in the Face of Rising Xenophobia
Man Hei Yip
Chapter 10. Practicing Jesus Christ in Public, Embodying Resistance
Craig L. Nessan
Chapter 11. Seelsorge for Those Who Resist
Timothy L. Seals
In a culture of increasing violence and disregard for God's creatures, the church plays a prophetic role that is critical and constructive. She exposes and stands firm against the lure of accommodation to the ways of the world, but more importantly, she speaks and lives out a hopeful faith and love that opens our eyes to the beauty of God in his lavish care for a suffering creation. The church shares by grace in this divine work of healing. But how? The contributors propose an ecclesiology grounded in the Lutheran tradition that does not only talk about but invites us to be formed in habits of truth-telling and other practices of resistance and hope. What we have here, with this collection of essays, is nothing less than the makings of a rich spirituality of resilience and restoration to guide and sustain us in our journey with hurting neighbors amidst the wilderness of our times.
In this compelling volume, a diverse group of theologians draw from often-overlooked resources in Lutheran traditions of Reform and Resistance and call the church to more boldly take up its distinctive role as witness to Jesus’ living embodiment of truth in a society that continually resists it. Clear-eyed and up front about the church’s historical and contemporary failures to live up to its calling as being the body of Christ in a suffering world, the authors chart a path toward embodying justice in the face of the many falsehoods currently perpetuated around issues of immigration, race, gender, and the state of God’s good creation. At once attentive to care for the spirits and bodies of those who practice resistance and committed to far-reaching structural analysis of the injustices that need resisting, this book will help communities of faith deepen their spiritual practices that extend neighbor love to those both near and far.
This book offers a refreshing look at the Lutheran intellectual tradition and its potential for addressing contemporary societal issues. Critical and constructive and aiming at reform and resistance, the book offers new insights on a variety of themes such as immigration, xenophobia and racism, women, sexism, indigenous spiritualities, and embodiment. This book provides a new perspective on the legacy and possibilities of Lutheran theology in response to urgent social issues. Highly recommended to scholars and students of religion as well as practitioners.