The Luther Story with Prof. Craig Atwood on Homebrewed Christianity

Martin Luther

Back in 2008, Tripp and Chadd published a great interview with Professor Craig Atwood about Martin Luther and the reformation movement he began.

I always enjoy going back and listening to this episode ever Reformation Day – and today is no different.

If you’ve read my novel, St. Peter’s Brewery (only $.99 for Kindle now – hint, hint), you may recall reading some bits and pieces from this interview in my book as well.

Kim suggested that most in the group knew her story and were familiar with the issues between her and her dad. She didn’t elaborate.

“But fast forward to this last week,” Kim said. “I was listening to my friend’s podcast, ‘The Homebrewed Christianity.’ How’s that for a shameless plug? And on this podcast, they were talking about Martin Luther and how he struggled with grace.

As Kim continued, Jimmy began to rack his brain trying to remember where he had heard the name Martin Luther before. He skimmed the old sanctuary and noticed several of the plaques on the wall. It was then he remembered the plaque near the doors of the brewery and the quote from Martin Luther.

He made a mental note to Google the quote and its author when he returned home.

“Luther struggled with works and grace,” Kim said as Jimmy tuned back in to her story. “I think the more he studied scripture, the more he believed in God’s grace. And as my friends pointed out — despite our deepest beliefs about God and our faith, there are very few ‘Thou Shalt Not’s’ in Christianity. It seems to me that almost everything is permitted. Even when something is forbidden, such as the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God still offers grace and provides a way out. The message for followers of The Way is not a set of rules on how to appear holy. It’s the message that a Holy God has made sinful people — all of us — Holy.

The Way is not about what one does or doesn’t do.

It’s about what was done for us. Because none of us could ever do what is asked of us.”

Kim stopped to gather her thoughts.

“So as I’m listening to these guys talk about grace and how followers of The Way should not only celebrate because of the freedom God’s grace gives us, but that we should also love and offer that same grace to those who might not have done what we would have wanted,” Kim stopped and wiped a tear from her eye. “And I began to think about all that my father did to me. And how he hurt me and did horrible awful things to me…”

Kim’s voice trailed off and her single tear soon turned into a stream. She tried to compose herself and finish her story between deep breaths.

So pour yourself a glass of your favorite drink, gather around your stereo with some good friends and give the podcast a listen.

“Whenever the devil pesters you, at once seek out the company of friends, drink more, joke and jest, or engage in some form of merriment.” – Martin Luther

#sb1more event is live!

After several weeks of taking submissions, the something beautiful podcast 1more event is live.

In celebration of Reformation Day 2011 we asked folks to submit their thoughts to the following question:

If you could say just one thing to the Church universal — what would it be?

If we could add “1more” item to Luther’s 95 Thesis — what would we add?

We had a variety of submissions (including several really creative ones) and I’m so thankful for each one.

They each ring with a different message and a goal of creating a better world through a better Church.

You can view all the submissions online or I’ve shared my submission as well below:

So what about you?

If you could say just one thing to the Church universal — what would it be?

True to Scripture and true to God

Mark Batterson (see something beautiful 1.15) took a quick trip to Germany last week with a group of other pastors and leaders, including Chris Seay of Houston.

He was able to stand at the place where Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis nearly 500 years ago on Reformation Day (last Friday). Very cool.

He posted a short followup on Sunday:

Here’s the table where Martin Luther had his infamous table talks. I got in trouble for taking a flash photograph. Oops! Pretty amazing to think that much of our theological thinking today can be traced back to some of the theological conversations around this table. Luther’s five solas and 95 Theses and Augsburg Confession reshaped 16th century theology. But his table talks were the bread and butter of a simple parish priest that was trying to be true to Scripture and true to God.

I really like Batterson’s comments here. Imagine, theology that shaped our view of God and religion discussed around a simple table by folks trying to be true to Scripture and true to God. Not one individual but a community of believers, sitting around a table, probably enjoying a meal and drinks and discussing the activity of God within their world.

What theology will be discussed and shaped around your dining room table this week or in your living room?

Can theology still be shaped and molded for our day and time – or has it been set in stone now that Martin Luther and his peers have said all that they could say?

Happy Reformation Day!

Happy Reformation Day?

Some of you are thinking “What the heck?! It’s halloween! Or maybe at least All Saint’s Eve or All Hallow’s Eve.”

And yes that’s true – but you can find out about that other holiday somewhere else.

Instead – we’ll celebrate Reformation Day around this here blog. Reformation Day is the celebration of the anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Thesis on the church doors of the Whittenberg in Germany.

What was initially posted as a Luther’s hope to start a debate in the things he was learning and reading about as a Biblical professor, started a revolution (reformation) in the church – leading to his excommunication from the church and the protestant movement.

Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light,
the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg,
under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther,
Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in
Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that
those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us,
may do so by letter.

I doubt Luther had any idea that his 95 Thesis, posted on Oct. 31, 1517, would end up being spread so rapidly to “the people” with the help of a recent invention of Johann Gutenberg, known as the “printing press.”

Who would have thought that the masses would begin reading, thinking about and debating these “high level theological thoughts” like sacramental penance vs inward repentance, the fallacy of the pope, the remittance of sin by the pope and indulgences used to build sanctuaries for the church? I mean seriously, ordinary folks can debate these kind of things?! “That’s heracy!” — or so the church thought at the time (and many continue to think today).

Imagine what might happen if folks started talking about God and debating theology in the bars and pubs of today? Imagine if there was some sort of medium that might spread these ideas and discussions around the world? Imagine if suddenly our theology stopped coming from trained pastors and priests who study for years at schools of higher education and suddenly started coming from Joe Six Pack at your local pub and was shared with folks via Twitter or Wikipedia or other emerging websites to Joe Plumber who lives in Russia or Idaho? Imagine if theology was debating and discussed and lived out in community rather than simply handed down by one central source?

Yeah we wouldn’t want that to happen today. Far from it.

I heard a couple great thoughts today while listening to some of Martin Luther’s bio today via Tripp Fuller and Craig Atwood (hint – you should listen to this great podcast as well and these are loose quotes from memory) ::

“I came to see Christ as my Savior rather than the hangman.”

“Folks got real nervous when Martin Luther began to take his faith seriously.”

“The priests and religious leaders start to get real nervous when people get excited about religion.”

So today I celebrate Reformation Day. Today I celebrate Priests in the Hood (aka the Priesthood of the believers) and hope you do too.

Here are Martin Luther’s 95 Thesis translated to English (and in the original intention of these thesis, your debate, comments and discussions are welcome here) ::

Continue reading Happy Reformation Day!

Happy Reformation Day

While there is another holiday going on today, today is also Reformation Day, the day that is traditionally believed to be when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the doors of a church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517.
In doing so, Martin Luther brought about the Protestant Reformation and current fracture in the church between the protestant and catholic church.

In honor of Luther and the changes he brought about, here is his hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, translated by Frederic Hedge:

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

I’m attempting to find a modern arrangement but I haven’t been able to find anything yet unless it sounds like 80’s bubble gum pop. Sigh. Let me know if you find anything.