How I View Martin Luther

Last Friday, Conciliar Post hosted a Round Table discussion on Martin Luther. I would encourage you go click on over there and peruse the reflections on how Christians from a variety of denominations view the “first” Reformer. My response to this Round Table is as follows:

Martin Luther

Martin Luther

My perception of Luther arises from many experiences with the Luther’s legacy and his writings. I grew up in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod—attending both church and school until middle school—and learned much about Luther the Great Reformer there. Every fall we would talk about the Reformation, how Luther valorously stood up to the heresies of the Catholic Church. We would read stories about his life (mostly his post-Diet of Worms “capture” by Frederick the Wise), wait in eager anticipation for Thrivent Financial’s production of Luther, and talk about the central tenets of the Augsburg Confession. The picture of Luther painted at this stage of my life accorded with the idealizing of other great Christians, albeit with that special fervor which accompanied talking about Luther as a “Lutheran.” Continue reading

Book Review: Revelations of Divine Love (Julian of Norwich)

Revelations of Divine LoveIn the history of the great theological and spiritual tradition known as Christianity, there have been a plentitude of insightful and profound writings by a heterogeneous mix of individuals and communities. In the nearly two millennia since the Jesus Movement began, only a choice few of these works have risen to the become the proverbial ‘crème of the crop.’ In considering devotional literature, especially that of the European medieval period, one finds such a seminal writing in Revelations of Divine Love as recounted by St. Julian of Norwich.[1] Long a favorite for both spiritual and academic treatment, Revelations yet provides modern readers with a wealth of insights concerning the sixteen revelatory experiences of which Julian writes and reflects. Revelations continues to demand attention and study, as it presents a clear example of fourteenth century European monastic Christian piety and additionally evidencing a rich literature for potential personal application in spiritual reflection and devotion. In this review, we will sketch the contours of Julian’s account before turning to consideration of the importance of understanding her revelations in today’s context. Though brief, we hope to demonstrate in this review that, while some of St. Julian’s showings and theological insights may seem antiquated in our postmodern context, her insights continue to provide contemporary readers with many academic and spiritual insights. Continue reading