The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


God language column brings cheers, jeers

Bishop, editor columns & economic inequality articles divide readers

Sparking thoughts
Thoughtfulness in our “God language” can be a gift and welcome method for pastoral care and counseling. The first time I felt moved to say “God, she … ” was at the bedside of a woman hospitalized after domestic abuse. The life she described was from childhood, a saga of violence at the hands of males. Despair and anger hung in the air. Then prayer, naming God our Mother, came readily. The Spirit led us to evoke — as Peter W. Marty puts it in reference to both the Father and Mother God — “the best of parental love.”

The Rev. Randina J. Cragg
Golden Valley, Minn.


Enough already
Marty’s article distracts from, rather than enriches, our worship of God. Why would it bother anyone to think of God in masculine terms? Is God ever referred to in the Bible as anything but “he”? We cannot make God over to fit our human terms because God is God. Traditional hymns in Evangelical Lutheran Worship have already been reworded to avoid masculine pronouns for God. Now this. Enough.

Hildegard P. Lamparter
Lititz, Pa.


In God’s image
I enjoyed Marty’s column about God language. However, he never quoted what to me is the strongest argument for using inclusive language. Genesis 1:27: “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Since both males and females are created in God’s image we need to think and write about God in an inclusive manner.

Arne Selbyg
Edina, Minn.


Noting the positive
Cheers to the editor and Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton (August, pages 4 and 50) for their positive approaches to current life in the ELCA. I hear nothing Pollyannaish in either piece. Rather, I hear an objective look at signs of life and a reminder to have high expectations of God’s power and promise. These are most timely, especially given the continuing litany of negatives across the landscape of global conflicts, political gridlock and religious decline. May we who have ears listen and pay attention.

Michael Anton
Hastings, Mich.


Not the whole story
The positive articles heed Martin Luther’s admonition to put the best construction on any person or situation. He also said, “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.” What is not stated is that some bishops only nominate revisionist pastoral candidates to congregations. And how many members left congregations owing to the 2009 sexuality decisions when their pastors were agreeing or silent out of fear? 

Raymond J. Brown
Londonderry, N.H.


Message on target
Many thanks for the upbeat editorial in the August issue. I fully concur with your views and your “walk on the positive side.” The Lutheran continues to be a superb avenue of communication for understanding the life and mission of our ELCA. Keep it going.

The Rev. Jerry H. Miller
Thousand Oaks, Calif.


Not buying it
I am all for elevating people out of poverty (July, page 16). But I do not share your cheerleading enthusiasm that paints economic inequality as demonic injustice. Nor do I share your animosity toward the so-called “1 percent.” I thought the Bible was a staunch critic of envy. Oh, I forgot this is all Democratic Party talking-points. Carry on.

The Rev. John R. Thompson
Treasure Island, Fla.


Cover story hits home
As a lifelong Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod member, I want to commend The Lutheran for the articles on economic inequality. There are few issues of equal importance for the church in the U.S. The authors stand in the tradition of the prophets and of our Lord Jesus in addressing this issue. I am especially indebted to Norma Cook Everist for the Martin Luther quote that I am certain I will use in teaching or preaching if the occasion presents itself.

The Rev. Robert L. Mordhorst
Millsboro, Del.


Don’t call me greedy
For the first time I laid my magazine (July) down in disgust. Apparently the choices people make and the consequences of those choices are no longer important. Don’t call me greedy because I refuse to be used by people who feel entitled to half of everything others have while they do nothing — all the time having more children than they can afford. These “takers” are not of lesser value than the “makers,” but that doesn’t mean they are more deserving either. There are many people who truly deserve help, but there are also many who continue to make counterproductive choices and expect others to pay the consequences.

Kay Vinsand
Springfield, Mo.


More info needed
The articles on economic inequality were timely and needed. Each author references some of Martin Luther’s teachings, but a fuller exploration of the importance he placed on this subject would also be a timely contribution in a future issue. Examine his practical steps to address societal needs through the community chest and follow-up legislative acts that led to today’s socioeconomic programs in Western Europe. Luther’s emphasis on socioeconomic justice as society’s proper response to Christ’s call to “love thy neighbor” has a powerful message for our own day.

Al Anderson
Falls Church, Va.

The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.

text size:

this page: email | print

March issue

MARCH issue:

All are welcome