October 31 has been noted as the 500th anniversary of when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and thus was the sufficient beginnings of what is now referred to as the Reformation, or the beginning of the Protestant Movement.
It wasn’t a pretty sight. Fortunately, Luther wasn’t alone, but it all came about with turmoil.
It didn’t matter if Luther’s intent was to reason with church leaders, who were restricting God’s mercy to the ritual of indulgences. Church leaders determined Luther was an irreligious heretic, no longer someone to listen to or include.
Luther himself may have felt a bit sacrilegious for what amounted to addressing the convictions of church authorities and pointing out the backwardness of false promises linked to indulgences. But he stood his ground and brought attention to new ideas about God.
Religion advanced. And human beings slowly followed, despite the destruction that comes with high-strung emotions. Time and experience help justice and mercy win. New ideas were entertained and put into practice over the following centuries.
Pew Research Center reported recently that the theological differences of the 16th century have tempered over the years, “And while the Reformation led to more than a century of devastating wars and persecution in Europe, both Protestants and Catholics across the continent now overwhelmingly express willingness to accept each other as neighbors and even as family members.”
While not denying that the profane in religion needs to decrease, respect goes to the likes of Martin Luther who personified the good in religion.
People who stop defending old ideas, we are open to new ideas. Newness is normal, healing.
New ideas are revealed when religion is no longer workable. What are the new ideas today? Can we entertain and manifest the new ideas sooner than 500 years?