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Rev. Amy Ziettlow
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Amy Ziettlow is an affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values in New York City and co-investigator of a three-year study funded by the Lilly Endowment titled Homeward Bound: How We Live When Our Parents Die. For over a decade, Amy Ziettlow has been actively involved in hospice care, most recently as Chief Operating Officer for The Hospice of Baton Rouge, as well as serving as a chaplain visiting dying patients and their families and coordinating and training hospice volunteers. Ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2001, Ziettlow has served in congregational ministry in southern Illinois, Baton Rouge, and the New Orleans area.

Amy Ziettlow writes for the Religion, Entertainment, and Health pages for The Huffington Post and is a blogger at She was a contributing author to the book, Voices of Faith from the Midst of the Storm, a collection of clergy writings collected after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. She also serves as Secretary for the Lutheran Social Services of the South Board of Directors and has served as the Southern Conference Clergy Representative on the ELCA’s Central/Southern Illinois Synod’s Task Force on Human Sexuality.

Ziettlow earned a bachelor of arts in letters from the University of Oklahoma, where she danced and toured with the Oklahoma Festival Ballet Company, and a master of divinity at the University of Chicago. She lives in Baton Rouge with her husband and three children.

Entries by Rev. Amy Ziettlow

Is Divorce the Best Option for Older Americans?

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2015 | 1:17 PM

"Will you still need me? Will you still feed me? When I'm 64?"

The Beatles first released these quaint, clarinet-fueled lyrics in 1967 when the loving answer to these questions was a resounding, "Yes!" Traditional marriage vows echo this sentiment in that they presuppose a relationship span that encompasses young...

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Don't Let Marriage Be a Four-Letter-Word

(3) Comments | Posted February 24, 2015 | 1:58 PM

I am a member of the recently formed Marriage Opportunity council. The founding Marriage Opportunity statement, penned by David Blankenhorn, William Galston, Jonathan Rauch, and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and signed by over a hundred public intellectuals, makes a case for expanding access to the rite of...

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Free Community College Supports Marriage and Family

(2) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 7:48 AM

Marriage has fractured along class lines. Conservatives and liberals alike can agree that socio-economic class has come to define all couples, gay and straight, seeking access to the institution of marriage. However, the White House's "America's College Promise" and "American Technical Training Fund" could be one...

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Remembering Katrina and Surviving the Loss of Everything

(1) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 12:49 PM


Every autumn my memories go back to 2005 in south Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath of the breached levees redefined home for so many people in New Orleans as well as the surrounding communities like Baton Rouge where our family lived....

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Death, Modern Families and the Saga of Casey Kasem

(1) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 4:19 PM

This summer I've been following the dissonant end of life story of Casey Kasem. The family dynamics of his story caught my eye because I research the moral and spiritual lives of caregivers and grievers. I pay close attention to how the dynamics of blended families shape our stories of...

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Summer Camp Is Critical to Faith: An Interview With Kenda Creasy Dean

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2014 | 10:39 AM

This summer approximately 11 million children and adults will attend camp.

Does going to camp matter?

Last year I interviewed Kenda Creasy Dean who would argue the answer to that question is, YES! A professor of youth, church and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary, her writing has...

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3 Reasons Clergy Need a Healthcare Planning App

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 2:55 PM

Alice,* a member of my congregation, was 76 years old and in good health when she asked me to serve as her healthcare agent, the person who will make medical decisions for her should she be unable to do so for herself. Widowed and living alone, she had...

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Marriage and Happiness: David Blankenhorn Interviews Charles Murray

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2014 | 12:35 PM

Can Charles Murray help us be happy?

Curmudgeon, yes. Conservative, yes. Happy? As Andy Kline succinctly writes:

It is widely agreed, by friend and foe alike, that Charles Murray is one of the keenest observers of what unites and divides us as Americans. Against the backdrop...
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Is the Marriage Gap Driving Inequality? David Blankenhorn Interviews Lawrence Mead

(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2014 | 12:12 PM

"...if you wanted to identify the single biggest threat to maintenance of a broad middle class society you would pick the absolute disintegration of family structure among 50-60 percent of what used to be blue collar America..."

In this episode of The Conversation, Institute for American Values President David Blankenhorn...

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Seniors in Casino Land: Tough Luck for Older Americans

(1) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 4:47 PM

As with many adventures, I didn't know I was on one until I was deep in the belly of a south Louisiana casino where 35-cent bets flowed faster than the free Diet Coke. My elbow rested on the walker of a silver-haired gentleman as I craned my neck to hear...
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Gen X Faith and Culture: A Conversation With Bill McGarvey

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 8:40 PM

I met Bill McGarvey at an Institute for American Values event where Fordham University professor and public intellectual Peter Steinfels and I discussed whether liberals will support marriage without the word "gay" in front of it. Spoiler alert: We said yes! After the show I met...

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Faith and Credit: The Life of Rita Haynes

(0) Comments | Posted January 28, 2014 | 9:52 AM


"I believe everyone was put here for a reason; everyone has a purpose." -- Rita Haynes

As links to speeches and sermons of Dr. King filled my Twitter feed last Monday, I sat down to watch a short, eight-minute video on a civil...

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What Is Marriage? A Conversation with Linda McClain

(8) Comments | Posted January 16, 2014 | 11:35 AM

As legalization of same-sex marriage spreads to one-third of states including the recent vote in New Mexico and ruling in Utah and in Oklahoma, our understanding of marriage in general expands and thus our understanding of parenthood and family potentially expand as...

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Surviving the Holidays With Loss

(6) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 6:52 PM

Holidays and loss. The mere topic can feel overwhelming for many people. How do we even begin thinking about a festive time when the death of a loved one may cause us to feel far from joyous? How do we live with our reluctance to engage in family and faith...

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Casinos: New York's Bleak New Senior Center?

(1) Comments | Posted November 1, 2013 | 4:28 PM

The vote for casino expansion nears and no one has mentioned the risks for senior citizens. New York has long been on the forefront of supporting the vulnerable old, but a vote for casinos will create a bleak new senior center that puts that honorable legacy to shame.

New York...

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Cyberbullies and Grief

(1) Comments | Posted August 21, 2013 | 5:45 PM

RIP Trolling -- Grieving in the age of cyber-bullies can turn private grief into a public hell.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram... social media communities now join our friends, family, faith communities and neighbors when we grieve. That experience can be a compassionate lifeline. As we saw recently with

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What Does Managing a Loved One's Digital Legacy Look Like?

(2) Comments | Posted June 24, 2013 | 4:27 PM


With digital privacy in the media spotlight and digital estate planning resources entering our mainstream consciousness, many of us have been inspired to think about the end of life and our online selves. And we should. Hundreds of thousands of

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Fathers Matter, Especially After Divorce

(14) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 3:51 PM

The recent Pew Report highlighting that women now serve as the sole or primary breadwinner in 40 percent of households has inspired new variations of a long debate: Do fathers matter?

Research covered in a 2013 report by Elizabeth Marquardt, Charles E. Stokes and...

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The Healing Role of Music During Times of Change

(0) Comments | Posted May 23, 2013 | 6:33 PM

I had an amazing feeling when I finally held the tape in my hand. I just thought to myself that in the palm of my hand, there was this one tape that had all these memories and feelings and great joy and sadness. Right there in the palm of my...
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Port De Bras in: A Dancer "Leans In" With Style

(2) Comments | Posted May 20, 2013 | 11:52 AM

"Many others may have jumped higher or turned faster, but these are poor substitutes for passion." Alexandra Danilova

As a ballet dancer, my life teems with strong, inspiring women. Both in day to day practice and in spirit, the power of women to lead, express, and shape reality girded...

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