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Archive for November 10th, 2016

Luther was born in a time of epic change. For instance: In 1440, Johannes Guttenberg invent the movable press, making possible books and pamphlets for popular reading.  In 1492, Christopher Columbus “sailed the ocean blue” and discovered the Western Hemisphere for Europe.  The quote below is from Roland Bainton’s popular biography of Martin Luther, Here I Stand.  I think this quote gives a sense of the contrast between the Middle Ages and the beginning of Renaissance. Columbus may have sailed the ocean blue, but almost more “out of the blue”, born in humble circumstances, came a least likely person, to change the world but more: point the world once again to its Savior, Jesus Christ.-Pr. Schroeder

This man was no son of the Italian Renaissance, but a German born in remote Thuringia, where men of piety still reared churches with arches and spires straining after the illimitable. Luther was himself so much a gothic figure that his faith may be called the last great flowering of the religion of the Middle Ages.

And he came from the most religiously conservative element of the population, the peasants. His father, Hans Luther, and his mother, Margaretta, were sturdy, stocky, swarthy German Bauern. They were not indeed actually engaged in the tilling of the soil because as a son without inheritance Hans had moved from the farm to the mines. In the bowels of the earth he had prospered with the help of St. Anne, the patroness of miners, until he had  come to be the owner of half a dozen foundries; yet he was not unduly affluent, and his wife had still to go to the forest and drag home the wood.

The atmosphere of the family was that of the peasantry: rugged, rough, at times coarse, credulous, and devout. Old Hans prayed at the bedside of his son, and Margaretta was a woman of prayer. Certain elements even of old German paganism were blended with Christian mythology in the beliefs of these untutored folk. For them the woods and winds and water were peopled by elves, gnomes, fairies, mermen and mermaids, sprites and witches. Sinister spirits would release storms, floods, and pestilence, and would seduce mankind to sin and melancholia. Luther’s mother believed that they played such minor pranks as stealing eggs, milk, and butter; and Luther himself was never emancipated from such beliefs. “Many regions are inhabited,” said he, “by devils. Prussia is full of them, and Lapland of witches. In my native country on the top of a high mountain called the Pubelsberg is a lake into which if a stone be thrown a tempest will arise over the whole region because the waters are the abode of captive demons.”

 

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In Mrs. Clinton’s concession speech the other day, she approvingly referred to “freedom of worship”.  However, the First Amendment  is not about “freedom of worship” but “freedom of religion” as the word, “religion” is used:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

A religion includes worship…and schools, hospitals, soup kitchens…and political viewpoints.  Freedom of worship is only about what, say, Christians do on a Sunday morning.  This use of “freedom of worship” maybe innocent, but given the secularist/progressivist/leftist disdain of actual Christianity, it may be a subtle nod to their intentions. (‘Freedom of Worship’ Isn’t Enough: Naturalization tests will now refer to ‘freedom of religion’ as a basic right/WSJ)

This incorrect phrase has been used before in the departing presidential administration even though they backtracked on it.  

When at Concordia Senior College, I took an intermester three week tour of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.  In East Berlin, under heavy authoritarian dictatorship, we visited a Lutheran congregation.  The year before one of our profs met the janitor of the congregation and he spoke honestly  about being a Lutheran and a Christian under communist dictatorship.  He told our group, as he looked around to make sure no one was listening, then moving us to another part of the sanctuary so he would not be heard, said this:  “Church does not leave the four walls of the church”. Forty years later this has stuck in head. I am not accusing Mrs. Clinton of being a communist but the secularist bent is to keep the Church out of the public square with the beginning of a change of language here and there.  “Boiling the frog…” I do not think the progressivists want Church to leave the four walls of the building.  The language police has already done a number with inclusive language in both the public and the Church. And in the IRS scandals, regarding non-profits, especially conservative and religious groups, they discriminated against them.  

The First Amendment and freedom of religion is inter-faith as it covers Judaism, Islam…even atheism.  They too have the right under the First Amendment for freedom of religion as well, free in their speech to speak and act in the public square…not put in a religious ghetto and keep their religion to themselves. Freedom of speech is an inalienable right  that is for all Americans. 

Changes begin in small incremental steps is subtle and deceptive.  The price of freedom is truly eternal vigilance.

 

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