Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Man Luther

**A little disclaimer.
If you don't want to read anything with a religious viewpoint then come back tomorrow and I'll post a picture of myself with a mustache and make references to my son's gas and how it can take down a horse or other large mammal.***

Alright, you're still here. Game on.

I was sitting in church today and I got to thinking about Luther. Not the BBC television show or Martin Luther King Jr civil rights activist, but one of my favourite historical figures ever, Martin Luther, reformer and all around cool German guy. We weren't actually talking about Luther and I'm pretty sure the charismatic church I attend would totally make him stroke out, but he came to mind nonetheless.

Luther was my main man in university. Due to my penchant for totally unmarketable religious studies courses, my roommate, a civil engineering student, was forced to proofread countless essays about Luther, something she never let me forget. She never understood my fascination with him, which is ok, I never understood her fascination with math and science.  The thing I love(d) about Luther is that he was just one guy, a guy with major issues who's convictions lead to a revolution that altered the religious, social, and economic fabric of Europe and I would argue the World.

Luther was a monk with daddy issues. He felt like he would never live up to the standards of either his earthly father who had high hopes for his son that did not involve his becoming a monk or his heavenly Father who he felt was ultimately out to get him and to who's standards he could never live up to. Luther's time as an Augustinian monk was spent living in fear of God's wrath and conversely cursing a God who made the hope of Heaven unattainable. Luther's transformation from angry monk to reformer came from his understanding of Ephesians 2:8-9.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 
The idea that through faith and God's grace mankind was saved was revolutionary, not at all in line with the current teachings of the Catholic Church and it shook Luther to the core. Like Luther I can easily grasp the idea of God's mercy- I am well aware of my issues, problems and bad habits. However, the concept of God's grace, that he saved me because He favours or loves me just as I am is mind-boggling and something that I have to be continually reminded because it's often easier to believe that I'm not worthy than it is to believe that I am loved and my sins not just forgiven, but forgotten.

I digress.

Luther didn't just sit on this discovery he essentially shouted it from the rooftops by nailing his 95 Theses, an article that showed how the current teachings and attitudes of the Church were heretical, to the front doors of his church in Wittenburg. He so held to his beliefs that he allowed himself to be excommunicated, damning in those days, chased into seclusion, mocked and threatened for the belief that God's love for us and our faith in Him is enough for our salvation and that the Bible, not the words of the Pope or his Cardinals, is the only and true word of God.

Luther then lead what can only be described as the first multimedia campaign. He made use of Gutenburg's new device, the printing press, to print hundreds of fliers for everyone from the ruling classes to the common man. He translated and printed a copy of the Bible that *gasp* anyone could read, not just the clergy. He even used common barroom and folk songs to develop hymns to further bring the good news of God's grace to the masses.

Luther wasn't infallible. He was an anti-Semite (so were most Europeans at the time, not that that excuses it), he was easily provoked to anger ( a German trait perhaps?) and he often seemed to lack compassion. He had issues like everyone else, but he allowed God to use him to spread a message that would (and still does) change everything. I hope that someday I have the passion of conviction so strong that it's revolutionary, that I will be willing to question the status quo and bring about change to what I feel is wrong in my culture, that I will be willing to use all the tools at my disposal to see that change come through and that I will be willing to accept that God's grace is sufficient for me all the time not just when I'm feeling good about myself.

Um yeah. That's all I've got.
A little serious I know, but I can't always be fart jokes and zombie pictures. :)


  1. I concur with CDN HUBBS well written and enjoyable (at least too me) Have you ever thought of doing a series on historical 'religious" leaders such as this? I for one would enjoy the read.
    ps... don't you think there is a resemblance between this pic of ML and your father? or is it just me.

    1. Um, well I'm really only educated about one historical religious figure so a series would involve lots of research and stuff, but anything's possible. Charles Wesley was a pretty cool guy.
      As to Luther looking like my dad, aside from my dad never being caught dead in a beret, I think there is possible a resemblance, maybe in the chin?

    2. I meant John Wesley. Charles Wesley was his brother and also cool, but I know more about John.