If Not Luther, Then Who?

Just as I suspected.

Years ago I found this thick paperback on Martin Luther’s biography and I was disillusioned when I realized that interest in him wasn’t enough to get me through the book. I had a bit of confidence then because years earlier I had learned to brace myself through Silmarillion and The Abolition of Man. I just had to mention these two so that you’d have an idea of what I could make myself go through, and not to brag, because before I put a period at the end of this sentence I’d be confessing that I really had a hard time with those two, plus admitting that I don’t remember nor understood everything I read but that I did make it to their last pages. There.

Now that I’ve decided to check out Martin Luther again to my relief I’ve discovered that I can more or less absorb what I’m reading. But. He’s a difficult subject.

I’m not reading from that same paperback that I had earlier (I don’t have it with me now). I haven’t yet mustered the courage to read his works. I’m still looking for footholds from which to view him, identifying from which perspective I could possibly view from so that I’d be able to see well. I scout for posts in internet sites. I’m so happy that there are so many generous people around the globe taking their time to talk about ideas that are obscured by rhetoric and jargon.

Just as I suspected: Martin Luther won’t be an easy reading. If you want to understand what I’m trying to say here then you have to check him out yourself. From various sources. Not just from one. Don’t stop until you’ve seen differing views.

Do I like Martin Luther? I mean, like the way I like Schleiermacher, Tolkien and Tagore? No, I don’t. Whenever I think of Luther I get pictures in my head of fiery hell and gloomy purgatory. Of cold monks’ cells. Of 100,000 very dead peasants. Of words so spoken that it would leave me dumb and numb. Of words so bombastic that to keep my sanity I’d have to seriously deliberate with my thoughts which light to follow, his or the one’s he speaks against.

Alright. All that is looking at the half-empty part of the glass. On the part of the glass that’s filled this is what I see: if it wasn’t Luther who did that, e.g., 95 Theses then, then who? Who would have wrestled the Bible away from the scholars and make it available for the common people? Luther had the personality and the temperament. Melanchthon, who was a better scholar than he was, couldn’t do what he did. Whatever forces were behind his motives and actions the result is that many people became encouraged to look at the world from a different perspective.

I look at it like this: if the earth were not this distant from the sun then conditions would have made impossible for the biosphere as we see it now to exist. There has to be the magnetosphere and the ozone layer for the likes of us and the animals around us to thrive. I also look at the sizes of the moon and the sun: one is enormous and the other is a fraction of a dot but seen from us they’re of the same size simply because they’re respectively positioned that far away from us. If it were not so then we would never have witnessed the beauty of the total solar eclipse.

So, yes, I guess I could say that he was there at the right place, at the right time, to do what he was supposed to do. That’s my gut opinion. I can’t defend that argumentatively. I can only submit it with my usual smile. I’ve already accepted that he’s a difficult reading, and that means this has to do with all those philosophical, historical and theological issues that by consequence will be involved in studying him, and at the side taking into consideration contextual vis-à-vis psychological/anthropological/social questions.

I really wish some serious scholar would dare a comprehensive research on his personality.

Before I end this post there’s one important thing I’d like to share: I believe Luther had a satori. Really. 🙂 Because he figured it out that only God has free will. That is, the will that’s really free, constrained by no rules, belongs to God and to Him alone…  …and I feel like this is in the realm of my there-are-no-rules thought, the one that I was babbling about in the previous post… 🙂 🙂 🙂 …peace…

2 thoughts on “If Not Luther, Then Who?

  1. Beautifully written as ever. Hope your literary journey is fruitful in Mr Luther’s company. Don’t forget Tillich and Kierkegaard too. Look forward to you keeping us up to speed on what you discover as you follow the pattern.

    Like

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