At the end of July last year the Editorial Council of Let’s Talk agreed that an issue on “peace with justice” would be timely and fruitful. We asked: How is the church involved in peace/justice issues at various levels? Has there been a “sea change” in the Lutheran approach to social ministry? We recognized the need to define “justice” from biblical and theological perspectives so as to distinguish the church’s ministry from a political party’s social program. Possible authors were suggested. Susanne Havlic and Brian Halverson agreed to serve as issue editors and to begin contacting authors and gathering material.
It was evident from the beginning that we were not of the same mind regarding the implications of the new “do justice” language being used by Lutherans. In her introduction Susanne Havlic mentions our struggle to say what justice means in our world. The observant reader will see this reflected in the issue if she or he reads Satterlee/Madden, Schwick, and Senn, preferably in that order. There is a theological divide, with implications for how we act, between Senn’s column and the first two articles. We are always pleased when such differences are expressed so well on our pages because the same differences surely exist among the people of the synod. Our job is to raise them up in a responsible way. In our search for unity as the people of God in this place we must have dialogue, together with prayer, leading to discernment.
As the issue evolved, the terrible events of September 11 demanded a place at our discussion table. In the outpouring of words that followed those events, the issue editors located two articles—one by Gilbert Meilaender, the other by Leon Spencer—which spoke especially well to the concerns for justice that we wanted to express. The respective publishers generously allowed us to reprint them. Meilaender reminds us of the need for coherent language in our talk of justice, a need the Editorial Council had already felt. He says, “…unless and until Christians can bring their talk of ‘reconciliation’ and ‘forgiveness’ into some coherent relation with the equally theological language of ‘justice,’ that theological talk will be largely idle.” Spencer speaks of evil, of doing justice and preserving unity in the face of evil, and of the context in which both good and evil happen.
Brian Halverson and Nicholas Zook review two important and timely books to round out the issue.
Every issue of Let’s Talk has a story of point and counterpoint. Now in the planning stage is an issue on liturgical norms and another on the CWA-mandated studies of ELCA policy and practice related to human sexuality. We give you this peek into our meeting room to remind you that you have a standing invitation to join our discussions (which are really your discussions) with your letters and other written responses for our pages. Our addresses, postal and electronic, are in every issue.
Tell your lay leaders about Let’s Talk—we’re on the web. Many of our articles are good grist for adult forums.
Oh, yes, another thing. You will find a return envelope for your financial support in every issue. Your gifts are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.