Katie’s cellar, 500 years later
By Justin Isherwood
The world is duly celebrating the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther’s little act of carpentry, the nailing of 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg’s barn of God. As a former seminarian should know, Martin Luther stands out as a great squeaking shoe of theology, in theology the noise does not mean he should abandon those shoes.
While most of Martin Luther’s complaints were theological reprimands targeting the silly, useless, and plain weird notions as sometimes creep into religion. It was the granting of indulgences Luther found patently egregious, reference to the payola under the altar and how believers could circumvent purgatory. As a Protestant kid, purgatory seemed a parking lot designed for souls, whose yet-living kin had to continue to plug the meter.
Martin Luther’s 95 Theses being theological in nature were at the time already under discussion within clerical circles, at least for circles proportional in their distance from Rome. North Europeans were feeling increasingly disaffected from the Holy Roman Empire for reasons to include political and social identity, not to forget a fair share of the revenue. Somewhere underneath there was a basic humanitarian breakout.
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