The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America professes to be a public church constituted by God for its public vocation. Moe-Lobeda explores what it means for the ELCA to play a role in public life today.
Sections focus on what it means to be a public church, obstacles to being a public church in public life, power for being public church, and providing public leadership. For the followers of Jesus, the ''way of living'' in public is a gift of God to the church. It is costly and dangerous, but yet gives life abundant, now and forever.
"With clarity yet careful nuance, Moe-Lobeda helps North American Lutherans think about the public character of their life as church...her remarkable reflections should be important also for many others besides Lutherans."
— Gordan W. Lathrop, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
''Like a fine diamond—of great worth and clarity, and a sign of abiding love—Cynthia Moe-Lobeda's book illuminates what it means for us to be ''public church'' for the sake of the world. Forthright, spirited, thoughtful, theologically fluent, and filled with passionate hope, it inspires even as it convicts. I hope that Luther's heirs will appreciate this gem as much as I think Luther would!
— Mary M. Solberg, Associate Professor of Religion, Gustavus Adolphus College
''Moe-Lobeda describes public witness as a way of life that grows out of the promises of baptism. Gathered to worship, Christians scatter to serve. Fed by Christ, they find him in the whole of creation, even as they testify to his life-giving presence. Moe-Lobeda offers a way for the church that is fresh, compelling, and charged with grace.''
— Martha E. Stortz, Professor of Historical Theology and Ethics, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
One of the 5 strategic directions for the ELCA is that we ''step forward as a public church that witnesses boldly to God's love for all that God has created.'' Moe-Lobeda's book grounds that call theologically and contextually. Taking seriously her most important contribution will give clarity to our Lutheran voice as a public church for the sake of the world.
— Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Preface and Acknowledgments
- Starting Points
Guidelines for Faithful and Fruitful Response
A Rich History
A Triple Hermeneutic
Multiple Theological Entry Points
The Meaning of "Public"
A Contest Term
Public Amidst Private
- Being Public Church in Public Life
"To Hear the Word of God and Share in the Lord's Supper"
"To Proclaim the Good News of God in Christ through Word and Deed"
"To Serve All People, Following the Example of Our Lord Jesus;" "To Strive for Justice and Peace in All the Earth"
"To Live among God's Faithful People
- Obstacles to Being Public Church in Public Life
Moral Anthropological Obstacles: "Selves Curved In on Self"
Social and Theological Obstacles
- Power for Being Public Church in Public Life
Christ Abides in the Church; The Church Is Filled with Christ
"The Holy Spirit Streams into the Heart"
The Church Is Part of a Larger Dwelling
Place of Christ, All That God Created
Cross and Resurrection Bear Hope
- People of the Incarnation As a Way of Living
Guideposts for the Way
Public Leadership in Moral Discernment
Leadership in Public Lament
Public Leadership in Resistance and the Quest for Just and Sustainable Ways of Living