FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AGO, on October 31, 1517, there was no Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or the blogosphere.
But there was the castle church door. You want to start a revolution? Start there.
And so German monk, Martin Luther, posted his ninety-five theses to the Wittenberg Church door. And from there, history and the world changed.
What were the ninety-five theses? In short, Luther, a law-school drop-out turned monk studied Scripture with uber-focused tenacity and a burning desire to know God’s word.
(Luther became a monk after a near-death experience with lightning. He threw himself into his new profession with a gusto.)
And so, as time passed and Luther studied and preached, he realized something in Rome was stinking all the way to Germany and beyond.
And so Luther wrote and posted ninety-five statements documenting the unscriptural corruption and greed practiced by the papacy and the monastacy.
Of course, most common people had no access to the written word of the Bible. They had to take the word of church leaders.
The straw that lit Luther’s torch? Indulgences.
In Wittenberg, a man named Johann Tetzel sold indulgences with this catchy phrase, “As soon as the money in the chest rings, the soul from purgatory springs.”
Now think about it. If you were just another common Joe Six-Tankard of the medieval era, are you really going to argue with this kind of gangsta’ logic?
Remember, Joe can’t read the Bible himself. It’s in Latin. So Joe has to take the word of the church.
And if the pope wants money to get Joe’s beloved Uncle Fredrich out of purgatory, then Joe better pony up.
And so, word of Luther’s act on that October 31 of 1517 soon spread.
It was a bold move, indeed. No one challenged the church in those days.
The church ordered Luther to take it back, Jack.
But, anyone who knows anything about Germans knows that ain’t happening. A German who has made up his or her mind is going to go balls to the wall. Period.
The Church was up in arms. The Pope ordered his men to stop “that beast of Witten- berg.”
Later, Luther was summoned to a meeting of church leadership called The Diet of Worms.
There he was told to retract his statements, or face charges of heresy.
(And you thought your Monday morning meetings were bad? Call something the Diet of Worms and it’s not exactly foreshadowing a groovy scene.)
Yeah, not happening. God chose a German for a reason.
They threatened excommunication.
Bring it, man.
In Luther’s words, “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen!”
And so the Protestant Reformation began. Which may not seem like a big deal to people today, but it has given us all the right to choose the faith to which our hearts and minds can allow us to say, “Here I stand.”
And hopefully, dear reader, you do stand. Because it is God’s gift to you for the taking. All you have to do is ask for it, believe in it, stand for it. Amen.
Thanks for reading, and God bless you and yours!
Susan J. Anderson
Foxy Writer Chick