From the presiding Bishop

One body, one spirit, one hope - September 1, 2023

As I write this the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is preparing to gather in Kraków, Poland, for its 13th assembly. Delegates, observers, guests and staff from the 149 member churches in 99 countries representing 77 million people will gather for worship, Bible study and deliberation. We will sing and pray in hundreds of languages—a veritable […]

Who is a “real” American? - June 30, 2023

My husband and I live in Skokie, Ill., a diverse community. Our neighbors to the west are an octogenarian Taiwanese Evangelical couple who regularly order meals from Kosher to Go. Our neighbors to the east are a Ukrainian and Russian multigenerational family. Our grocery stores have both kosher and halal departments. As I drive past […]

A time of renewal - May 5, 2023

At the 2022 Churchwide Assembly, the decision was taken to establish a Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church to “reconsider the statements of purpose for each of the expressions of this church, the principles of its organizational structure, and all matters pertaining thereunto, being particularly attentive to our shared commitment to dismantle racism.” This is […]

Holy Saturday, holy space - April 7, 2023

They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because […]

The blurring of law and gospel - January 6, 2023

Martin Luther once said, “I felt that I had been born anew and that the gates of heaven had been opened. The whole of Scripture gained a new meaning. And from that point on the phrase ‘the justice of God’ no longer filled me with hatred, but rather became unspeakably sweet by virtue of a […]

God is with us - December 2, 2022

Sometimes the world just seems so solid. Reality is uncompromising and immutable. Literally, what you see is what you get, and our sight, our perception, is limited. So we forge on with all the obligations of daily life—family and work and taxes and deadlines. Our scope of existence becomes closed in, and our world gets […]

Healthful words of life - November 4, 2022

In September I had the beautiful privilege of preaching at a combined meeting of the Conference of Bishops and the inaugural gathering of the 2022-23 Fund for Leaders class. It was an amazing meeting of those beginning their call to public ministry and those who have served for decades—and, in some instances, were ready to […]

A common witness - October 14, 2022

One of the distinct privileges of this call as presiding bishop is seeing the church at work at home and around the world. The Lutheran movement is alive and well, speaking the gospel in a distinctive voice. Sunday after Sunday the good news is proclaimed in accordance with Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. In hundreds […]

We are woven together - September 2, 2022

He was a young man. In his early 20s. He had cancer. His mother and stepfather cared for him to the point of weariness. The family was unchurched, but a friend was a member of our parish and asked if I could visit them. That’s how I came to walk with them in the last […]

Can we answer the question ‘why’? - August 5, 2022

Once for continuing education I signed up for an introduction to philosophy course at the community college. I was a music education major in college and never had any philosophy courses. Since philosophy and theology are so closely related, I thought it was about time that I became better acquainted with the Western philosophical tradition. […]