A review of the book, “Martin Luther: Renegrade and Prophet,” by Lyndal Roper Background. Dr. Martin Luther was a great Reformer, but as Lyndal Roper pointed out in her book, ” Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet,” he was very much a human being, with all the virtues and vices that go with that. Martin Luther was born in Eisleben, Saxony, on St. Martin’s Day ( the tenth of November), 1483. His father, Hans Luder, ran a mining business and his mother, Margarethe Lindemann, was a daughter of minor nobility. Hans Luder had his fair share of labor troubles with his workers and he intended for his son to study law. Martin Luder was duly schooled with that aim in mind. He grew up in the town of Mansfeld, not far from Eisleben. Ms. Roper spends some time describing Luther’s schooling and put some detail in how he was educated and his eventual disenchantment with the Law. Martin’s father, of course, was furious at the thought of his son’s not getting a law degree, after all the money he spent with that objective in mind. Author’s Approach. Ms. Roper spends quite some time in describing the psychological states that the Reformer and his acquaintances found themselves in and how those states dictated their responses to each other. Martin Luder changed his name to Eleutherius ( the Liberated One) and later condensed that name to Luther as a nod to the Classical fashion popular among the literati in the Holy Roman Empire at that time. Ms. Roper spoke of the stormy passions that assailed Luther, his loathing of his enemies and his love for his friends. He was utterly determined that the Roman Catholic Church root out the corruptions that had infiltrated it, especially on the issue of indulgences. She also wrote of Martin’s compulsion to spend hours in Confession ( along with his Confessor’s desire for him to shift his focus from himself and work). Martin’s Confessor, Johann Staupitz, and he were fast friends for years. Martin earned his master’s at Erfurt and following Staupitz’s advice, pursued an academic career as a doctor of theology at the nascent University of Wittenberg. Staupitz followed Martin’s subsequent career as a churchman quite closely and the two finally parted ways when Staupitz refused to renounce Rome, despite Luther’s insistence. Friends and Enemies. Martin was not able to have Pope Leo X call for a General Church Council to discuss the concerns that Luther and others had over ecclesiastical corruption and he was excommunicated a couple of years after he posted his Ninety- Five Theses. Ms. Roper spoke of Martin Luther’s relationships with Karlstadt, Zwingli, Eck and others. She also spoke of the vitriol with which Luther wrote about these men who differed with him on key points of theology. She also noted some of the things these men wrote about Luther himself. Martin tended to go overboard when one of his fellow academics publicly disagreed with him. Roper records the time Luther gave Karlstadt a bent gold coin, for him a declaration of enmity and for Karlstadt permission to write his opinions about Luther and his theology as he saw fit. Roper wrote of the vengeful response of Luther when he heard of Zwingli’s death on the battlefield at Kappel. She also describes Zwingli’s death in brisk detail. M.L. wrote just as vengefully against Thomas Muntzer and the peasants during the Peasants’ Revolt. As Luther was fond of writing, his father was a peasant, but what he omitted was that his peasant father did well enough for himself to own a mining operation and to marry someone of minor aristocratic descent. Luther was solidly on the side of the princes and dukes these peasants revolted against. They were, in fact, inspired to a great degree by Luther’s own preaching. His defiance of the powers of the day served as a catalyst for them. Danger. At M.L.’s encouragement, this rebellion was put down by the nobles with fire and sword. Muntzer himself was captured and executed. On the subject of execution, Roper pointed out that Martins’s life was very dependent on the goodwill of his protectors who lived in the Saxon Elector’s court, as well as his most powerful protector, the Elector himself. Luther’s life was endangered for most of his life and his contributions to the Reformation were largely literary. Justus Jonas, Johannes Bugenhagen and Phillip Melanchthon implemented the Lutheran Reformation in those towns and cities who were in sympathy with it. M.L.’s Family. Luther married an ex- nun, Katharina von Bora, who was determined to marry him. She was a formidable Reformer in her own right, supporting her husband and managing the household almost single- handedly. Luther lived and worked at Wittenberg for most of his life, fathering three children and preaching about various books of the Bible, all of which he translated into German and published. Martin’s German Bible, in fact, provided the Saxon base for the High German language used today. He also wrote the Small and Large Catechisms as well as the Articles of Schmalkald, which are three vital Confessions used by the Lutheran Church today. Grade for Ms. Roper. Roper’s book is an excellent analysis of the life and times of Martin Luther. She wrote of his frequent ailments, his stresses, his friends won and lost and his desperate attempts to bring the Gospel back to the Church. Martin died very peacefully, in Eisleben, in 1546, after unsuccessfully trying to resolve a dispute between businessmen. Roper’s book is a very engaging one and almost impossible to put down. Anyone interested in the life and times of this most remarkable Doctor of the Church, Martin Luther, would be well- advised to read it.
Opinion Almost 2 years ago, I became a vegetarian. And, let me tell you, becoming a vegetarian has been one of the most influential decisions I have ever made in my life. First of all, I have always loved animals, so there’s that. I remember being a young girl and going out to dinner with my family and making jokes about the dead animals on my plate. When I was younger, I felt bad about eating meat for a split second, but it never lasted that long. I looked at the dead flesh in front of my face, felt some pangs of sadness, and then just went on my merry way of finishing my dinner. It also made quite a difference that everyone I knew ate meat; My parents, my brother, my friends, my teachers, I mean everybody. I never knew any vegetarians growing up, which is why it would have been even weirder for me to question eating meat. Well, here’s where it gets interesting. I went through what you might call a ‘spiritual awakening’. I went through a horrible heartbreak, I was fired from my job, and I lost contact with most of my friends. My life was pretty much down in the dumps and I didn’t know where to turn. So, the first thing I did was turn on some YouTube videos and listen to what was being said. I randomly came upon one that was about eating animals. I just listened for curiosity’s sake and what I heard next was the reason I decided to become a vegetarian. Of course, like I said, I have always loved animals, but that was not the main reason I became a vegetarian, it was one of the reasons, but not the main reason. The main reason why I became a vegetarian was because the video I was watching said something that shook me to my core. It said that when you eat a dead animal, you are eating their pain, their memories, their diseases, their illnesses, and everything they have been through up to that point. Essentially, when you eat an animal, you are taking on all that they experienced. If the animal had a bad life, which they all do these days in the slaughterhouses, there is no doubt about that, even when it comes to organic meat, then you are picking up on that frequency. Immediately I was like, WHAT! I decided to become a vegetarian from then on. While I was going through such a hard time in my life, do you think I needed more negativity and sadness and strife to enter my body? No, thank you. And, if you don’t believe in energies and negativity and sadness being somewhat contagious, then you are gravely mistaken. Sadness and bad energy is contagious, and if you eat a dead animal, you are ingesting their pain and sadness. That’s pretty sad and alarming, am I right? So, there it is, my main reason for becoming a vegetarian. And, can I tell you, I am much more peaceful since I stopped eating meat. I don’t eat fish or chicken or beef or anything else that ever had a soul and I feel so much more peaceful and clear-headed. Sometimes, I think the powers that be started telling society to eat meat to make us more stupid and thick-headed. I mean, it would make sense, wouldn’t it? So, next time you put your fork into that steak or chicken sandwich, think of all the horrible things that animal went through before it got to your plate. Think of all the nasty bloody lacerations and infectious disease it might have had. Think of it screaming and being tortured. I mean, it really never ends once you think about it. So, take it from me, use your brain and don’t ever stop questioning. It might make you change your stance on the whole “meat-eating” issue after all.
Opinion Have you ever looked around and asked yourself, what is really going on these days? Especially now, things seem to be changing rapidly,all around the world, and most of us don’t even know what to make of it all. Even if you happen to be on the side of those that seemingly run the world, there is no doubt that you are probably asking yourself, what is really going on? Everywhere you look, there is another crazy or catastrophic event that is happening. Hurricane’s are occurring, wars, famine, destruction, cops are acting extremely violent, etc. There is so much going on that it can make your head spin. But, at the same time, progression is also happening, as well as productivity. New medicines are being created each and every day, new electronic devices are making our lives easier by the minute. I mean, this New World Order is not all bad, is it? We are constantly on our devices, but if they did not serve a purpose, why would we be using them at all? The reality is that none of us really know what is going on, we can only speculate. We see all the events that are transpiring around us, but none of us know what will happen in the future and how it will affect us. Of course, there are predictions based on the book ‘revelations’ from the bible as well as other sources, but the truth is, we don’t actually know what really is going to happen tomorrow. We also don’t know how we will feel when things do happen in our communities, and we don’t know how these changes will affect our lives specifically. Of course, it is normal to fear the unknown, but none of us truly know what will happen in the future. But, we do know that good or bad, change is definitely on the horizon because nothing ever remains the same. Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and questioned if you are the same person you were 10 years ago? If so, then you are just like me. I have been constantly looking at myself and wondering if I am changing in my heart and soul or if I’m just the same person simply waking up to the nonsense in the world? There is no doubt that all of us add to the greater whole in this world. There are some of us that choose evil over good, or choose good over evil, but all of us are contributing to what is going on in the world in a sense. We might not be in favor of all of the things that are happening these days, but we might be subconsciously going with the way the world is run in another sense. But, what can we really do about it? If it is our goal to live in a peaceful world where there are no wars or hate or fighting, then why do we argue and fight with each other? If we all wanted peace, why is there road rage and divorce? At the end of the day, life is about living. We might not know exactly what is going on these days, or how we can change it, or how it really will affect us in the future. But, there is no doubt that we can contribute in our own little way by recognizing ourselves and what mark we leave on one another and the world as a whole. If we hate how things are, we must start with ourselves first, and second, we must take a breather and let it ride out in a sense. Because what is the purpose of life if we can’t control ourselves. We are the world, so we must start within and always question.