Pastor Fritz Foltz

Pastor Foltz is Pastor Emeritus of Saint James Lutheran Church in Gettysburg, PA and author of the the Frontline Study content.

Lesson 11:  Karen Armstrong –  Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

Lesson 11: Karen Armstrong – Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

I decided a good way to bring this series together was to reread Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. Many regard it as the classic treatment of compassion in our time. My guess is many, if not most of our readers resonate with her position. Armstrong believes compassion is the basic teaching of […]

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Lesson10: Compassion in the Atonement

Lesson10: Compassion in the Atonement

The most difficult theological task is explaining the atonement. There have been many theories, but none are completely satisfying in our day. I was surprised how frequently I turned to compassion in the past few months when trying to understand the crucifixion. It at least offered clarity missing in the traditional explanations. During the same […]

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Lesson 9: Compassion as Willingness to Suffer

Lesson 9: Compassion as Willingness to Suffer

Right from the beginning, I regarded compassion as more than being emotional about something. I thought it could be a guiding light in overcoming our divisions because it involves empathy that considers what the other person or group thinks. It didn’t take long to realize the term is more complex. In the Bible, compassion not […]

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Lesson 8: Compassion as Guiding Light in Change

Lesson 8: Compassion as Guiding Light in Change

I have been considering how compassion might be a guiding light for overcoming the deep divisions in our church and society. Underlying this quest is the conviction that we are in one of the major periods of change in human history, one that rivals the first-century birth of Christianity, the fourth-century adoption as the religion […]

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Lesson 6: Compassion for the Economically Oppressed

Lesson 6: Compassion for the Economically Oppressed

It was time to start applying the study to our situation, so I tried to imagine what would move Jesus to compassion in our time. After the obvious needs of the sick, injured, and grieving, those neglected and hurt by the economy immediately came to mind. Jesus would certainly have something to say about our […]

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Lesson 5:  Forgiveness

Lesson 5: Forgiveness

I am still amazed by what I learn when writing these studies. It’s hard to believe how much I missed in 86 years! For instance, last week, while pondering the Buddhist image of compassion as longing for oneness, it became very apparent this makes forgiveness a necessity. At about the same time, I found over […]

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Lesson 4: Longing for Oneness

Lesson 4: Longing for Oneness

Barbara inspired me to read John Phillip Newell, who writes about the need to reconnect with compassion in Rebirthing God, Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings. He echoes many of my friend’s concerns that we have a fossilized church that talks about God but fails to provide spiritual experiences of the divine. Newell focuses on Aung […]

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Lesson  2: Compassion in the Bible

Lesson 2: Compassion in the Bible

The language scholars report there are a number of Hebrew words that can be translated as compassion, and beyond that, these same words are also expressed differently depending on the context. Often mercy is used, but also graciousness, healing, steadfast love, and loving-kindness. These frequently describe God and Jesus but, interestingly enough, seldom humans. I […]

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Lesson 1: Compassion

Lesson 1: Compassion

A lot of people have talked to me about the violence series. They are concerned about the acceptance of physical force and inflammatory language in our present society. At the same time, there was some uneasiness about seeing nonviolence as the response. Some questioned if it is sufficient to cover the need to offer some […]

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Lesson 10: Nonviolent Revolution

Lesson 10: Nonviolent Revolution

A lot of us were hoping human civilization was finally getting violence under control. The civil rights movement staged a largely non-violent revolution under Martin Luther King in the US. Decolonization was achieved under Gandhi with little bloodshed in India. Articles were published reporting non-violent revolutions achieved their goals more frequently than wars if people […]

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