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Practices of BelongingDecades of diversity initiatives have failed to yield meaningful results for Lutherans who wish to see racial equity in the ELCA. The more recent emphasis on missional ecclesiology offers a promising channel but is currently undermined by the persistent predominance of white cultural norms. This essay describes how Lutheran identity came to be associated with white, elite cultural forms in its journey from immigrant religious tradition to American mainline Protestant denomination. The author advocates for increased attention to “Lutheran” as a fluid category in order to affirm the full membership of all who choose to be in Lutheran spaces, regardless of racial or cultural identity.
Faith and Science as Partners in Environmental Awareness and Creation CareThe need to engage all people in the care of nature has prompted my work with faith-based groups. I am a scientist who has discovered common ground between the ecological and spiritual values of trees and forests. Drawing upon the authorities of religious texts to articulate these shared values, I have given over forty sermons in places of worship of numerous faiths, created pamphlets about trees in churchyards, and interacted with faculty and students in seminaries. These activities have created portals through which scientists and faith-based groups can further explore and enact ways to promote creation care and sustainable actions. &nbsp;
Science, Cosmology and FaithThe swiftly deteriorating life-support systems on earth present a radical challenge to Christianity. Some ways we have understood our faith practice have contributed to this decline. We have rich resources in our tradition that can inspire and mobilize our communities for a more promising and faithful future.
Being Hosted as GuestsThe author recounts his experience of being hosted as "guest" in other countries, and draws the comparison between being hosted as a guest and being a person who immigrates to another country with the intention of living there.
Pass the MicIn this essay, the author suggests that preaching is not a solo endeavor, but rather the ministry of a community—ideally, of the whole congregation. The proclamation of the gospel is the responsibility of the baptized rather than the privilege of pastors, especially in historically and predominantly white denominations. Concrete strategies are offered for extending the responsibility of preaching among a diversity of perspectives and identities during sermon preparation (feedforward), within the sermon delivery (feed), and throughout reflection and commentary afterward (feedback). &nbsp;