The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Not all talk

Book club takes ecumenical action

It began when Steven M. Jacobsen, a pastor of First Lutheran Church, Decorah, Iowa, thought it would be interesting to bring people together to discuss Jim Wallis’ best-seller God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It (HarperSanFrancisco, 2006). For many congregations, a book club isn’t anything new. But it is for First—and the response has been overwhelming.

The first meeting was announced last year in The Decorah Newspapers. Members invited friends, which immediately made the group ecumenical. It included a sizable contingent from the local Religious Society of Friends church (Quakers). About 20 people gathered in First’s library to talk about the Wallis book.

“They were ready to vent about the state of the world. It really uncapped high-pressure feelings, and the enthusiasm just took over,” Jacobsen said.

The group continued to meet on Thursday evenings at the church to discuss each chapter of the book. Group leader Paul Jordahl said, “I noticed a heightening awareness among the participants. Individuals began thinking more deeply about confusing and controversial political issues and how best to respond in faith.”

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February issue


Embracing diversity