Thursday, November 10, 2011

Things I Leaned About Martin Luther Today

On today's "birthday of a man whom Pope Leo X called 'the wild boar in the vineyard,'" Garrison Keillor had much to say on today's edition of The Writer's Almanac. Growing up in High-Church Lutheranism, I never learned, for example, that he "got caught in a terrible thunderstorm" and "made a bargain with St. Anne that if he was saved he would become a monk."

Also, as a Catholic, it is noteworthy to read that "[t]he final straw for Luther came when members of his own parish started traveling to a neighboring territory to spend their hard-earned money on indulgences, and then told Luther that they had no need of confession since they had purchased forgiveness." His opposition to Indulgences is well known, but that is was sparked by a defense of Sacrament of Penance was new to me.

Mr. Keillor also has some choice quotes, which should not surprise anyone who knows Lutherans, like this one: "Who loves not woman, wine, and song remains a fool his whole life long." And here's a lengthier bit from a letter to a depressed friend that takes the idea a bit too far but is nonetheless a good read and beats joyless Puritanism any day of the week and twice on Sundays:
    Be strong and cheerful and cast out these monstrous thoughts. Whenever the devil harasses you thus, seek the company of men or drink more, or joke and talk nonsense, or do some other merry thing. Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, aye, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences with trifles. We are conquered if we try too conscientiously not to sin at all. So when the devil says to you: 'Do not drink,' answer him: 'I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to.' One must always do what Satan forbids. What other cause do you think that I have for drinking so much strong drink, talking so freely and making merry so often, except that I wish to mock and harass the devil who is wont to mock and harass me. Would that I could contrive some great sin to spite the devil, that he might understand that I would not even then acknowledge it and that I was conscious of no sin whatever. We, whom the devil thus seeks to annoy, should remove the whole decalogue from our hearts and minds.
On a related note, my parents will be travelling to Buffalo this weekend to meet our former pastor, at noon on Sunday at the Anchor Bar.

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Blogger Pints in NYC said...

Have you seen this movie about Luther?

November 11, 2011 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...

I haven't, but should.

November 11, 2011 at 10:25 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

Good old Luther -- always good for a cringe-making comment. (I write that as a Lutheran.)

November 13, 2011 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...

Great to hear from you, Dale. I never had a chance to tell you how much I enjoyed your story. It seems I had a wrong email address.

November 14, 2011 at 1:15 PM  

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