The ELCA social statement, “The Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective” … commits us to work with and on behalf of the poor, the powerless, and those who suffer, using (this church’s) power and influence with political and economic decision-making bodies to develop and advocate policies that seek to advance justice, peace and the care of creation.
— Foreword to “Called to Be a Public Church.”
The following resources may be helpful as we prepare for another election year. These non-partisan resources can be used by individuals, small groups and in adult education offerings. They will be important both before and after the November elections as a way to encourage conversation and discourse about our call as Christians to be a public church.
• “Christian Principles in an Election Year” is a two-page reproducible resource from the National Council of Churches. It offers 10 principles for public discourse and a group study guide ideal for discussion and conversation.
• The ELCA voting and civic participation guide, “Called to Be a Public Church” is a useful tool for congregations wishing to wrestle with faithful responses to difficult issues. It includes issue briefs intended for conversation, Bible study, reflection on Lutheran theology and more.
• Other advocacy resources for getting involved in the political process are available at the ELCA’s advocacy website.
• Eugene Peterson’s ”Where Your Treasure Is: Psalms that Summon You from Self to Community” focuses on 11 Psalms inviting Christians to prayer and action in response to the politics of our time. (An introduction and study guide developed by Deanna Wildermuth, pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Mercer Island, Wash., is also available.)
• Cynthia Moe-Lobeda’s ”Public Church: For the Life of the World” (from Augsburg Fortress’ “Lutheran Voices”) is an excellent introduction to a Lutheran understanding of civic responsibility. Five short chapters with questions for discussion.
• “Called to be Political” is a two-hour program offering a glimpse into the teachings of Martin Luther on the role of Christians in politics. Topics include what the Bible says about faith, politics and hope; what Luther said; and being God’s partners for justice. A free download is available.
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)