The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Best this month

Give Us This Day
by Craig L. Nessan is an important new Lutheran proposal for ending world hunger. More than 800 million people — 153 million under the age of 5 — are chronically malnourished. Thirteen million children in the United States under the age of 18 are hungry; 10.4 percent of the U.S. population either experience hunger or are at risk of hunger. These statistics should shock and dismay Christians. But far too often, we are so caught up in our everyday activities that we fail to notice what is happening to our neighbors.

Nessan, associate professor of contextual theology at Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, says: "In the Gospels, Jesus says far more about the needs of the poor and oppressed than he does about prayer! This is a surprising claim. It is a discovery that could help correct the potential imbalance between the church's concern for individual piety and its concern for social ministry."

Lutherans and other Christians are called to see that justification by faith and bringing justice alive in the real world belong together. Nessan contends that ignoring the plight of 800 million people is neither normal nor acceptable behavior for those who are "agents of God's justice by power of the Spirit." Nessan calls upon the world family of Lutherans to make stopping hunger the priority of status confessionis (a concern of utmost confessional significance). After all, believers are expected to respond to every hungry person as they would to Jesus.

Nessan outlines 10 steps that will help stop hunger, including evaluating international trade agreements, monitoring welfare programs, promoting more micro enterprise credit, and supporting sustainable agricultural practices and usable water supplies. Each chapter ends with discussion questions, making this small book perfect for congregational study (Augsburg Fortress).

Shattered Glas
s recounts the rise and fall of a young and ambitious New Republic staff writer, Stephen Glass, who committed journalistic fraud and was exposed. Twenty-seven of the 41 articles he wrote from 1995 to 1998 were either partial or total fabrications. Writer and director Billy Ray does a commendable job exposing the deceptions of this driven young man who wanted to set himself apart from the rest of the pack with his dazzling stories. Hayden Christensen plays Glass as an overachiever whose desire to be liked plays a large part in his choices. Deception in journalism is only one example of a disturbing trend of ethical laxness that reaches across all segments of society — everything from corporations cooking their books to evade taxes and deceive stockholders, to politicians breaking campaign promises or lying to protect their supporters, to college sports programs using parties and sex to lure athletes (Trimark Home Entertainment, PG-13 — language, sexual references, brief drug use).


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February issue


Embracing diversity