From the Prince of Peace Banner Newsletter as it relates to recent Adult Education class:
"I recently returned from the first part of my sabbatical this summer. Susie and I were in Italy and Germany for three weeks to study church history and the background and culture of the Protestant Reformation. It was hugely educational and exciting. We are presently in the midst of a series of adult classes on the Reformation on Sunday mornings; join us!
The beginning of the Reformation is often defined to be October 31, 1517, when legend has it that Martin Luther posted his 95 statements of challenge regarding indulgences (those certificates the church sold you to give you forgiveness and time off from purgatory). Luther knew this was a bunch of hooey, to buy your way closer to heaven. And the reaction to his public comments against such church corruption and the selling of indulgences was so quick and immense that he realized his own frustrations of not getting truthful answers from certain church leaders and popes was deeply shared by masses of people. There was immense pressure below the surface, and the lid was about to blow. “The people” were about to make their anger known far and wide. So one lesson that became very evident to me was how one voice of one person with no authority or following (in other words, a ‘nobody’) can stand up against the most powerful and frightening voices in existence at the time, the Church and the Roman Empire, and make a difference. It was dangerous (others had died making much less fuss about it than Luther did). It was futile. He had no armies, no position, no greed, and no willingness to hurt anyone who got in the way. But he had courage, a prince (the right prince) backing him, the printing press, the truth, and the right moment in history, and the world paid attention. One guy! But soon there would be many more.
The next few decades brought change in the lives of everyone in Europe, and eventually throughout the world. Literacy leaped forward, especially for women. The political boundaries of the countries of Europe shifted. The Church and the Roman Empire battled and connived as to whether the pope appointed the emperor, or the emperor installed the pope, and in some cases the religious and secular worlds were indistinguishable. Wars, cheating, intermarrying for all the wrong reasons, and political manipulation abounded. Also, the number of people with new faith and hope grew, and tried to survive it all.
The lid had indeed blown off. Now in the 1500’s there was new creativity and energy where only dull “who care” lethargy had been before. Art brought beauty and created a telling of history much harder to ignore than the written word. The church changed immensely, the Roman Catholic Church for the first time admitting it was no longer the only church, and acted accordingly. New Christian churches emerged and grew, and did some wonderful new deeds to love God and love their neighbors. (They also did some pretty stupid and hurtful acts.)
The details of the above three paragraphs are many and very exciting to learn about. I encourage you to dig into the history of the Reformation, on your own, or pay attention at church, where additional stories, facts, and lessons will continue to appear.
God’s people are amazing: gifted, purposeful, and sometimes with more freedom than they know what to do with in a positive way. Watch for the Spirit this Pentecost season. You’re part of the story too."