Thursday, December 10, 2009

Here We Stand

It was on this day in 1520 that Martin Luther publicly burned the papal bull that demanded he recant 41 sentences of his writing.

As a Lutheran, I love being part of a denomination that was founded by a man who was both a monastic and a university professor. I love that I have not only been allowed to question, but encouraged to question. I love that Martin Luther was a prolific writer and that he didn't back down when he thought he was right.

I want to believe that our traditions will keep us talking to each other, even when we disagree. Especially now, when we are going through a time when so many of us are disagreeing over the subject of homosexuality.

I am also willing to accept the idea of schism. Perhaps that, too, is part of my Lutheran heritage. Schism doesn't scare me as much as it does some people. If we must split, perhaps that will work out for the best.

I think that there are spiritual threats far greater than homosexuality. I see the growing number of people thrust into poverty as a far darker spiritual blight on our landscape. I watch the growing disparity in education levels, and worry for the future of the country. I think of Martin Luther, who illegally translated the Bible into the language of the people, and I wonder what he would think of our country, where people have access to educational resources, but for a variety of reasons don't (or can't) take advantage of them. I watch how we treat children in our country, and I want to howl out, like an Old Testament prophet.

So today, in honor of Martin Luther, and his commitment to his beliefs, maybe I'll spend some time thinking about my own beliefs. I doubt my church leaders would ever demand I recant any of them. What beliefs would be so dangerous, yet so spiritually correct, that the modern church would feel threatened enough to track us down for having them?

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