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Editor notes I

By Daniel J. Lehmann

After 10 years, final thoughts

t has come down to the final 460 words (the length of these missives). This is my last column as editor of The Lutheran. I’ve made some of the points that

follow over the years, others are new. Here are 10 of my top takeaways after 10 years as editor. • Don’t judge The Lutheran by just one article in one month. That’s simply unfair.

• For certain matters such as publication of denominational notices, The Lutheran serves an official purpose in the ELCA. It’s not, however, “official” in the sense that every word, photograph or advertisement carries the endorse- ment of the ELCA or represents its “official” position.

• You’ll find uplifting elements even in articles that by their subject matter appear to be negative. Articles can be filled with reports of congregations tak- ing positive action to face their challenges. Consider the full article.

• The notion of scarcity vs. abundance is gaining currency in the ELCA. No one wants to focus only on the negative. That’s a prescription for defeat. An abun- dance worldview can also run amok with unending happy-happy-happy. Let’s not deceive ourselves either way.

We do so much more together than

separately in the ELCA.

• Quotes are used in articles with the understanding that readers will or should know they are that person’s opinion. The question for The Lutheran is: “When do we—should we—shift gears from journalism to apologetics?”

• Civility is a concept that appears to be waning. If not me, listen to Martin Luther King Jr. on this: “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

• It’s been said that alcohol removes the thin veneer we call civilization. Ditto the Internet. Heed Martin Luther’s admonition: “The most dangerous sin of all is the presumption of righteousness.”

• Then there’s Luther’s explanation to the eighth commandment: “[W]e do not tell lies about our neighbors, betray or slander them, or destroy their reputa- tions. Instead, we are to come to their defense, speak well of them and inter- pret everything they do in the best possible light.”

• We do so much more together than separately in the ELCA. We confess one holy, catholic and apostolic church. Congregations are part of something bigger.

• I salute the people who, over the past decade, helped make this magazine hap- pen. God bless them all: Megan Brandsrud, Kathryn Brewer, Bette Bruce, Bar- bara Fletcher, Elizabeth Hunter, Kathleen Kastilahn, Andrea Kulik, Jeremy Ott, Curt Peterson, Melissa Ramirez Cooper, Julie Sevig, Sonia Solomonson, Joel Stombres, Erin Strybis and Michael Watson. Finally, I leave you with the Scripture verse I hold most dear, Romans 8:38-39.

I intentionally ask that you look it up—to keep that Bible near. Goodbye, dear readers. It was a privilege to be your editor. 


The Lutheran is the magazine of the ELCA

Subscriptions & customer service Subscription issues, address changes, billing questions: phone: 800-328-4648 email:

Editorial offices: 8765 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631

800-638-3522; 773-380-2540 Fax: 773-380-2409 Email: Web:

The Lutheran is a member of the Associated Church Press

Editor & director, Publications Daniel J. Lehmann

Associate director, Publications Melissa Ramirez Cooper & Public Relations

Managing editor Julie B. Sevig

Associate editors Megan Brandsrud

Erin Strybis

Manager, editorial services Andrea Pohlmann Kulik

Manager, graphics Michelle Goodman and artistic direction

Associate art director Kathryn Hillert Brewer

Strategic communications Barbara A. Fletcher coordinator

Advertising Mark K. Brewer

The Lutheran is published monthly through Augsburg Fortress, Publishers, Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440. (ISSN 0024-743X USPS 322080)

For display and classified advertising sales: 708-925-5596; Acceptance of advertising does not imply endorsement.

Subscription rates: $19.95 a year; outside N. America add $9.20 for postage. Payable in U.S. funds. Send subscription requests to The Lutheran Circulation, Augsburg Fortress, PO Box 1553, Minneapolis, MN 55440-8730. Or subscribe online:

On tape: Customer Service, Box 1553, Minneapolis, MN 55440; 800-328-4648.

On microfilm: National Archive Publishing Company (NAPC), 300 N. Zeeb Rd., PO Box 998, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-0998.

Copyright ©2016 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Duplication in whole or in part in any form is prohibited without written permission from the publishers. Printed in the U.S.A.

Nonprofit Periodicals Postage paid at St. Paul, MN, and additional mailing offices.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: The Lutheran, Augsburg Fortress, Publishers, PO Box 1553, Minneapolis MN 55440-8730.

The Lutheran magazine belongs to the people of the ELCA in all our diversity. The magazine: • Nurtures awareness of Christ’s presence in our lives and the world. • Shares stories of God’s people living their faith. • Connects us with the global Christian community. • Provides an open forum for discussion. • Challenges us to bring God’s grace and care to all.


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