Currents in Theology and Mission, the Theological Journal of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and Wartburg Theological Seminary, offers theological essays and book reviews on a wide spectrum of theological literature, as well as exegetical and homiletical resources for every Sunday and major festival in the church year (the latter section is called "Preaching Helps"). Currents aims to provide resources for mission, ministry, and theological growth for pastors and other church leaders.

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The Globethics.net library contains articles of Currents in Theology and Mission as of vol. 43(2016) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • On Friendship in Jesus Christ

    Nessan, Craig L. (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2022-03-16)
    This article develops a theology of friendship in the way of Jesus Christ. In contrast to classical understandings, Christian friendship is grounded in the perichōrētic dance of the Triune persons. Jesus names us friends, not servants, and invites us into his community of friendship with others. The sacrament of foot washing characterizes the practice of the church in service to one another as friends, especially in times of suffering and for those in harm’s way. The life and ministry of Norma Cook Everist embodies Christian friendship.
  • Preaching in the Postscript

    Lundblad, Barbara K. (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2022-03-16)
    This issue of "Preaching Helps" offers assistance and ideas for sermon preparation for the weeks of April 3 through June 26, 2022 (Fifth Sunday in Lent through Third Sunday after Pentecost). Submissions are offered by clergy peers from both urban and rural settings.
  • Case Studies on ELCA Social Statements and Social Messages, Part Three: For Personal Reflection and Group Discussion

    Nessan, Editor, Craig L. (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2022-03-16)
    This article consists of an introduction and case studies on two ELCA social statements and five ELCA social messages (see the April and July 2020 issues of Currents for case studies on other social statements). These include “Government and Civic Engagement in the United States: Discipleship in a Democracy” (2000), “Human Rights” (2017), “Gender-based Violence” (2015), “The Body of Christ and Mental Illness” (2012), “Our Calling in Education” (2007), “Immigration” (1998), and “The Death Penalty” (1991). Case studies encourage participants to reflect on the respective issues, applying the statement to their own lives and church in society.  
  • Can We Talk? The Church's Witness in the Ethics and Practice of Dialogue

    Childs Jr., James M. (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2022-03-16)
    In our deeply divided society Christian communities can give a public witness to the need and possibility of civil discourse by engaging openly in dialogues on today’s issues. The ethics of dialogue is set forth in terms of justice, humility, openness, trust, and truthfulness, all aspects of the neighbor love Jesus commanded. Dialogue is a path to the discovery of shared values and seeks mutual enlightenment rather than attempting to win a debate at the expense of other participants. Connections are made with the work of Norma Cook Everist, who is honored in this issue.
  • What Have You Seen and Heard? Sermon Text - Luke 7:18-30

    Yip, Man-Hei (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2022-03-16)
    This sermon invites us to pause and reflect on the salvific activities through the coming one, who has embodied the subversive good news to the world by transcending borders and boundaries and giving new meanings to our lives in these precarious times.  
  • "Women, Come!" Transforming the Difficult but Indispensable Church

    Largen, PhD, Kristin Johnston (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2022-03-16)
    This article describes the ongoing need for more women in ministerial leadership positions to visually embody the continuing transformation the Holy Spirit is working in the church for the sake of the gospel and the world. The Holy Spirit is at work today in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), inviting the church—the body of Christ in the world—to grow, and to be transformed. In each congregation, this invitation takes a different shape, depending on the context and what is needed for the most faithful proclamation and embodiment of the gospel in its place and time. In all places and spaces where the church finds itself, the Spirit is both calling for and creating fresh instantiations of the body of Christ that are diverse, welcoming, and inclusive, and that include the “bodies” of all God’s children. More and diverse “bodies” are needed in the church—both in the pews and in leadership. Having more women in leadership is one way to exemplify the larger call for more diversity in the ELCA.
  • A Quest for Inclusion: A Narrative Theological Reflection on the Story of Jesus Healing a Leper (Mark 1:40-45)

    Wielzen, MA, PhD, Duncan R. (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2022-03-16)
    The story of Jesus healing a leper (Mark 1:40-45) can serve as a model for confronting Caribbean communities facing a “crisis of connection.” This essay reflects a modest exercise in a narrative theological reading of the Markan text. Therefore, the central question is: what can be learned from a narrative reading of the story of Jesus healing a leper that may contribute to turning the tide for individuals at the receiving end during the Covid-19 pandemic and other crises? This story uncovers the nitty-gritty of human connection, with the basics of empathizing, reaching out, touching, and consenting.
  • The World Is My Parish: Festschrift for the Rev. Dr. Norma Cook Everist, Emerita Professor

    Nessan, Craig L. (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2022-03-16)
    Norma Cook Everist, to whom this Festschrift is dedicated, is known as master weaver of community. The weaving of multiple callings by Dr. Everist is observed through the articles submitted for this festschrift. Her life has echoed the words of John Wesley, "I look on all the world as my parish."
  • The Spiritual Practice of Remembering that Christians Across the World and Across the Ages Confess that We Believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church

    Persaud, Winston D. (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2022-03-16)
    In this theological essay, the author draws on his experience of a wider, inclusive expression of the “one holy catholic and apostolic church.” He argues that there is much to be learned about being the church—local, national, and global—in which both mainline and evangelical churches reflect diversity of race, ethnicity, skin color, culture, class, gender….  In the face of that diversity, there is the common, fundamental confession of faith in the one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  
  • Festschrift for Norma Cook Everist

    Michelsen, Heidi (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2022-03-16)
    The author reflects on how important it was for her, as a young deaconess student, to see Norma Cook Everist’s picture wearing a clerical collar, and also to know that although the Rev. Everist had been ordained as a pastor, she continued to be active in the diaconal community.  That "both/and" thinking paved the way for many more deaconess-pastors throughout the years.  Dr. Everist brought that same sensibility to her work with the Committee for a New Lutheran Church, as she advocated for the importance of the diaconate in the life of the church. 
  • Freed to Proclaim: Evangelism and Discipleship

    Funkhouser, Sara A. (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2022-03-16)
    This article addresses the crisis of defining and confessing the Gospel in U.S. American society. This calls for a renewal to our understanding of evangelism, especially as it relates to our identity as believers in Jesus Christ. Grounded in a Lutheran understanding of vocation, while also engaging with ecumenical works, the author addresses how we are called through our baptism to love and serve the neighbor, which includes learning how to talk authentically about the work of the Triune God in our lives and in our world.
  • April 2022 Book Reviews

    Nessan, Craig L.; Troftgruben, Troy (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2022-03-16)
    Book Reviews are submitted by peers of our readers on books that cover topics of interest to those readers.
  • Liberating Service: In Christian Community and Diaconal Ministries

    Moore, Mary Elizabeth (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2022-03-16)
    Service is a challenging term in the history of Christianity and in centuries of relationships across race, gender, and social class. Service has been touted as a Christian value and also used as a way of stratifying the church as some were granted power (and often wealth) over others, and some were expected to serve, even suffer, for the larger good. In the larger society, service has taken the form of slavery, forced labor, patriarchal social structures, and physical and psychological oppression. This paper re-visions Christian service and diaconal ministries, drawing upon a case study of Norma Cook Everist, to whom this issue is dedicated, and the baptismal and diaconal traditions of the ecumenical church, animated by liberative theologies. The proposed vision of liberating service is shaped by five values: the sacrality of all life; love-in-community; daily witness to grace; mutuality and accompaniment; and the endless pursuit of justice and peace.
  • Voyage to Belonging and Renewal through the Adult Catechumenate

    Schuler, Rhoda Grever (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2022-03-16)
    As a young pastor just out of seminary, Pastor M capitalized on that initial “honeymoon” period with a parish, introducing an adult faith formation process during her first year. She was blessed with an amazing lay woman who served as catechist, leading the small group of “Voyagers” in the weekly discussion of the Gospel reading. Over three years, this dynamic duo of pastor and lay leader crafted a process that was welcoming to people from a variety of backgrounds, including a Millennial uncertain about the existence of God and a woman from the “greatest generation” who was a lifelong Lutheran.
  • St. Augustine and Malcolm X as Theological Figures in Relation to a Contemporary Theologia Crucis in Solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

    Jennings, Brach S. (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2021-12-15)
    This essay proposes constructive developments for a theologia crucis in relation to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Using Vítor Westhelle’s figura hermeneutic for Lutheran theology, the proposal takes Augustine and Malcolm X as theological “figures” as the content for the contemporary proposals. Although the two theologians chosen as “figures” for this essay are from markedly different historical contexts, they are both theologians of African descent, and provide a way for synthesizing divine delight and radical politics. The theologia crucis proposed here (focusing on the resurrection of the crucified Christ) is offered as one way to radicalize theology in a Lutheran key in response to, and in solidarity with, the #BlackLivesMatter movement. 
  • Lutherans and the Blue Note: Vocational Suffering in a Racist Time

    Nickel, Justin (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2021-12-15)
    According to Martin Luther, suffering is a defining trait of the Christian life. One form this suffering takes is vocational. This is the sort of suffering that comes from loving one’s neighbor in a fallen world. Given the historical realities of the United States, the demographic realities of the ELCA, and our status as Luther’s theological heirs, I argue the following: As a part of the ELCA’s vocational suffering, we are called to hear the Blues of Black suffering and respond in just, loving ways.  
  • The Liberating Narrative of #SayHerName: A Womanist Social Justice Movement in Black Women's Stories

    Fluker, Jaime L. (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2021-12-15)
    Historically, white supremacist ideologies are responsible for perpetuating continued oppressive conditions for Black women. Utilizing womanist historiography and a womanist ethics methodology this essay uplifts the narratives and lived experiences of Black women as a liberating narrative of the #SayHerName movement in conjunction with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Engaging the intersectional oppression of Black women, this essay parallels the experience of the widow in the "Parable of the Widow and Unjust Judge" in Luke 18:1-8 as a demonstration of liberation through personal story and as an encouraging directive to religious and faith communities.
  • Faith and #BlackLivesMatter: Future Directions

    Thomas, Linda E. (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2021-12-15)
    The set of essays offered in this volume of Currents in Theology and Mission brings a variety of perspectives to the topic of race. It is a volume that includes graduate students as well as full professors, BIPOC scholars and White scholars, as well as scholars who span the spectrum of sexual orientation. All the authors here are thus considering the #BlackLivesMatter movement as it pertains to the full flourishing of marginalized bodies of color, as well as what the church’s role is in relation to the wider societal struggle for justice for marginalized bodies.
  • Contagion of Hate: Epidemic, Pandemic, and Body Politics

    Liew, Tat-siong Benny (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2021-12-15)
    After looking at the present pandemic, including its current impacts on Asian/Americans, in light of history, Liew argues that the scapegoating of Asian/Americans during public health crises is connected with many of the -isms to which Trump is committed, and shows in the process that the Trumpian regime, if and when considered with a longer view of context and history, is different more in degree than in kind. Thus, the end of Trump’s presidency will not necessarily mean real change without our persistent resistance. Taking this longer view of context and history may also bring about a broader understanding that facilitates solidarity among different communities of color, particularly between Asian Americans and the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • So Many Things I Didn't Know about Race

    Lundblad, Barbara K. (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2021-12-15)
    Preaching Helps for the preparation of sermons are offered on the texts for the weeks from January 2, 2022 (Second Sunday of Christmas) through April 3, 2022 (Fifth Sunday in Lent).

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