I shouldn’t have to do this but recent events tell me not to take anything for granted.  We are talking about Martin Luther here, not Idris Elbe.  So hopefully now that is out of the way I can tell you about a fun tour de force.  On Labor Day,  I did something that I do not usually do and that is take a day off and do nothing but read.  I read “the River War” by Winston Churchill” and I read “Little Journeys With Martin Luther” by William Harley.

It was published in 1916 and written in that wonderful acerbic  style that keeps the readers attention and launches you into a new world.  The deal is that Luther comes back to life in 1898 and applies for membership in the different Lutheran Synods that were alive and well at that time.  It was supposedly written by “Brother John of the Order of Poor Brethren commonly known as Lutheran Pastors”.  It may be one of the funniest things that I have ever read.  I started at 9 in the morning and finished it at 4 in the afternoon, so hard did this book grasp me. It has some of the greatest observations about church life that I have read and it spares no one it’s caustic wit.  I plan to share some of the quotes occasionally.

One of the effects of the “web” is the proliferation of places like this – blog sites that cover the entire range of human emotions and opinions and I suppose that it is a good thing.  It also promotes the multiplication of opinions on all things faith based.  In our churches “life together” one has to journey through literally dozens of these sites to figure out what are the rub points in the church.  Jesus said that the “gates of hell” could not prevail against the church but according to the blogs out there lot’s of things that can bring the tottering edifice down and need to be extirpated.  Here is a short list and sample of the issues that can lead to destruction……

Placing obnoxious and insubordinate Pastors on restricted status.

The Synodical President actually doing what the convention mandated that he do.

Asking Lutheran Missionaries to believe that their work should, “God willing”, lead to a Lutheran Church.

Having screens in the front of the church and projecting stuff on them.

Having a Praise Band in the front of the church, or the side or the back, or in the Gym for that matter.

Clergy walking around anywhere sans clergy shirt.

District Presidents.

District Presidents that are referred to as Bishops.

Lutheran Bishops who wear mitres.

Lutherans who follow an ‘episcopal polity.

Lutherans who follow a congregationalist polity.

Thinking about Loehe.

Thinking about Walther.

I guess I should not be too shocked at the proliferation of the defenders of the faith.  I wonder if the promoters of a new inquisition ever wonder how they look to the rest of us?  I of course, spend a lot of time in self examination and have pronounced myself right, so……..Here is a quote from this little book about the particular brand of folk out there that are always on the look out for a problem.

“…..mine own brethren are by some strange illusion self-appointed spiritual policemen on limitless beats.  And a singular set they are.  There are many peculiar classes of people in this big world, to be sure; but to me not the least strange are those over-pious zealots who will knock a man down for the sake of getting an opportunity to act the part of the good Samaritan, and then give him a kick or two in addition that there may be a place to pour in oil and wine”.