The Rev. Thomas C. Knutson, pastor of First Ev. Lutheran Church, Harvey, a founder of Let’s Talk, died on September 18, 2013 of pancreatic cancer. Pr. Knutson served as Chairman of the Editorial Council for a decade and a half from the first issue at Epiphany 1996, through the years when the journal was a […]
Beginning in February a new reality began to dawn on the world, a novel Coronavirus outbreak that quickly became a global pandemic named COVID-19. Suddenly we are told to maintain social distance and stay at home and events and group gatherings are canceled, including public worship. Churches are closed. We are connecting through online technology like Zoom and social media like Face Book. How do we maintain worship and pastoral care in a situation in which we can only communicate virtually?
We invite pastors and theologians to submit sermons and articles that address the COVID-19 pandemic from theological, liturgical, spiritual, and pastoral perspectives. It is precisely in crisis situations that we must draw deeply from the well of the theological tradition. Share how you are doing this.
We invite submission of papers and talks from members of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the ELCA OR talks given to members of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod. Send submissions in Word docx. to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This issue of Let’s Talk is devoted to leadership in the Church. There is a natural temptation to look to models of leadership from social institutions because the Church is a society in the world that operates according to social, political, and economic “laws.” Pastoral leaders can be taught leadership skills that come out of […]
It is a little after 2 p.m. on a Wednesday during Lent as I write. Since arriving in the office at 9 a.m., I have: prayed the office of readings from the iBreviary app on my phone, revised the prayers of the people for this weekend’s services, tried to help arrange for a car payment […]
It is a truism that we teach all of our kids in this popular Church nursery rhyme, Here is the Church and Here is the steeple. Open it up, and Here are all the… People. Churches have people in them. Second only to steeples, churches are identified by the people inside of them. People gathered […]
Background My wife, Carol, and I are both second-career pastors. When we started out in pastoral ministry in our early 40s, we found ourselves leaning heavily towards a model of Pastor as Leader. Like many others who were entering ministry at the turn of the millennium, we found ourselves looking at first-call opportunities in churches […]
Who are you investing in? This question hangs directly above my computer screen in my office at Faith Lutheran Church. My call is not to the programming of Family Ministry but to the people. It reminds me not to let the relationships get lost amid all the curricula, details, e-mail reminders, and newsletter articles. I […]
My second call process was very different from my first call process. I was a little less naïve, but I hope not too cynical. There was the tension of being present to the congregation who doesn’t know you’re leaving and the unknown of a new congregation. And then there’s the pressure of living up to […]
At the beginning of my junior year of high school, a friend and I decided to join our high school’s swim team. Nothing unusual there, but what was unusual for new swim team members was that neither one of us knew how to swim. Sure, we could move in the water and around the pool […]
You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. —2 Timothy 2:2 St. Paul was a “church planter.” He was aware of what it took to plant […]
[Samuel] sent and brought [David] in…. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this the one.” I Samuel 16:12 As a kid, I always had a particular fondness for the story of David’s anointing as the once and future king. Perhaps this was at least partly because, since I was the one who was […]
I read a lot of theology. This is not unusual for most of you reading this review. However, I have made an observation, in these years of reading, that books on theology usually make one of two impacts. Either a book is readily accessible and impacts a wider audience, or a book makes a powerful […]
In a critical scene of Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront, Father Barry (Karl Malden) confronts boxer-turned-longshoreman Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) in a tavern. Malloy is holding a gun and seeking revenge for the death of his brother at the hands of the gangsters who dominate the local union. The priest pleads with him to give […]
I once received this email from a Lutheran pastor, who wrote: “In my present call I have inherited a ‘contemporary’ service. In the negotiations that are always necessary in these scenarios, I insisted on vestments (alb and stole) for eucharistic celebrations. A member expressed concern over the ‘pomp’ behind such vestments. My response revolved around […]
The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from.”–Job 1:7a. (NIV) I was teaching a Bible study on the Book of Job. This was to be part of a longer series on Wisdom Literature. A readers’ theater version of chapters 1, 2, and 42 was presented in the second class. Various roles were assigned […]
In 1988, for the thousandth anniversary of Christianity in Russia, I had the joy of leading a tour to Scandinavia and the Soviet Union, entitled “From Trolls to Icons.” I didn’t know then that the encounter with icons would so fascinate me and that after an almost mystical experience I would become a student of […]