John Osborne’s “Luther”

This year Concordia St. Paul’s fall play was John Osborne’s Luther, produced in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. The play is not a historical retelling of the events of the reformation, rather it is a historical fiction story about Martin Luther’s father-son relationships. Martin Luther’s relationship with his biological father is portrayed as being one of disappointment. In the play, Luther went through life thinking he was a disappointment to his father and gave up trying to please his father. Luther’s father wanted Martin to be successful in life and not have to settle for mediocracy, because his father knew he was capable of so much. Luther found a more loving father figures in Weinand and Staupitz, his mentors. Weinand and Staupitz had faith in Luther throughout the play and were on his at the Diet of Worms. Luther found courage in Weinand and Staupitz. Luther’s relationship with God was full of doubt and fear, Luther was full of doubt that he did not have Gods favor. Luther’s father-son relationships are all interconnected, he needed all of those relationships in order to achieve all that he did. If it were not for all the people in Luther’s life the reformation would not have happened when it did and the Catholic church would have continued to be corrupt. The event of 500 years ago affect the events of present day, the past, present, and future are all interconnected. The events of the past affect the events of the present, which then affect the events of the future. So the Luther’s actions 500 years ago still affect the actions of present day. All because of the people who were in his life and the affects they had on him.

Seeing this play was an interesting experience for me. For, I am a Lutheran, was baptized and confirmed Lutheran. So seeing the founder of the doctrine I follow portrayed by the play in such a manner that made him appear to be a crazy man was slighting insulting to me. Because Martin Luther is a man I respect and the play did not portray him as respectable man at first. But in all actuality Luther was a slightly ‘mad-man’, for he was very passionate in everything his did, and to most people passion is seen as insanity. But it was Luther’s passion that made him so stubborn to not give up on trying to reform the Catholic church. Ironic isn’t it? That Lutheranism was founded because of change and Lutherans are known to hate change.

 

 

Homecoming 2017

Homecoming in college is rather different than homecoming in high school. There is no dance, no homecoming king and queen, no competitions between each class, nor a parade. On the day of the homecoming football game, the pep band woke up early (4am) to make breakfast for the students and also to wake up the freshmen. Before the football game a few members of the pep band performed a mini marching band show, then the pep band sat in the student section of the bleachers and played throughout the game. At the football game students, parents and families, faculty, and alumni were there to celebrate the school because they all identify and associate themselves with Concordia St. Paul.

Homecoming is a time to celebrate our school. We participate in rituals and traditions that bring the CSP community together because we all identify and associate ourselves with Concordia St. Paul. Some of the homecoming rituals and traditions that took place include the pep band making breakfast and waking up the freshmen, and for the second year in a row the marching band performing a pre-game show. The purpose of the breakfast prepared by the pep band is to bring everyone together and get their day started off with a hardy breakfast and to get them excited for the game. Which is the purpose of the whole week leading up to the homecoming game, rituals and traditions to bring the CSP community together.

As a member of the pep/marching band participating in the rituals and traditions is a ritual within itself. Because it brought the pep band members closer together. The pep band is a community within a community. We are leaders at football games to get the student section excited about the game. Experiencing the community coming together first handed was surreal. For when it was happening I was unaware of it, but thinking back it was obvious what was happening. I felt safe at the game, I didn’t experience as much social anxiety as I usually do, because there was a strong sense of community. I felt a sense of belonging, which I normally do not feel, so to feel a sense of belonging puts me at peace.

Book Review: “Live’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious” by David Dark

Framing
David Dark, the author of “The Sacredness of Question Everything”, “The Gospel According to America”, “Everyday Apocalypse”, and “Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious” is currently the assistant professor of Religion and the Arts in the College of Theology at Belmont University and teaches at the Tennessee Prison for Women. Prior to his university teaching career, Dark was a high school English teacher and preceding those years he received his doctorate in 2011. Given Darks teaching background he has experience in presenting his religious and spiritual philosophies in a very conservative manner. By doing so, he is able to discuss religion with little risk of conversation being shut off. Therefore, this book is for those who know proclaim their religion without shame and is for those who are on the fence about being religious and is for those who are completely against religion. Before the introduction and table of contents, Dark shares with us “this [book] goes out to those for whom: Religion is violence backed by divinity…is a backward step in human evolution…kills joy…is why you can’t talk to your family…is the state of being hopelessly stuck…is brainwash…is the old relative who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject…is a cage around reason…is the thorn in the side of common sense…will not house complexity, mystery, the unknown or contradiction…represents death of the imagination, invention and seeing yourself in someone else…is the elaborate disguise for Fear that gets him a seat at the table of survival. This also goes out to those for whom: Religion is peace backed by divinity…is a forward step in human evolution…gives joy…is the call to somehow honor the revere your family…sings songs to the silenced and forgotten…illuminates the invisible threads of comic connection…is in the moral memory of humankind…is an ancient intelligence summoning us to choose humility over hubris and love over fear…dresses the wounds of alienation, isolation, oppression, desertion, haste and hierarchy…is the lexicon of mystery…brings the dead back to tell stories…is the library of love and longing, candor and liveliness.” This book was written for everyone from every walk of life.
Content and Methodology
Dark argues against the popular view of not being religious, for whenever the subject of religion is brought up in normal conversation the conversation is then ended immediately. Dark supports his argument by explaining that everyone is religious in one way or another depending on how religion is defined. He defines religion as a relationship, morals, and a story; “religion is nothing if not a relationship” (122). Two relationships make up religion, your relationship with God and your relationship with other humans. As one relationship strengthens the other must strengthen as well, to maintain an equilateral triangle.
Analysis
The “relationship triangle” is applicable to everyone, because it effects everyone, because everyone is connected; we are all interconnected. The relationship you have with your friends affects the relationship they have with theirs. If you have a strong relationship with Christ than that relationship is effecting your relationship with others. You impact others’ lives rather you relies it or not. For, everyone does religious activity, everything shapes you, and religion is why you are who you are. Dark explains this throughout the book very subtly, without the in-your-face “religious” aspect, appealing to people from all walks of life. Using Si-Fi and various pop culture references to reinforce that religion is in every aspect of every one’s life.

Does Lutheranism Still Matter?

Yes, this is most certainly true. 2017 is a very important year for Lutherans. Not just because it is the 500th anniversary of the reformation, but because we, Lutherans, are needed now more than ever. Dr. Andrew Bartelt stressed the importance of being Lutheran in today’s culture, leaving a resonating notion that Lutherans have something right going on if the Lutheran denomination is making disciples of all nations. Dr. Bartelt’s message was well received by the audience, which was composed of senior saints, honors students, students there for extra credit, and people there just to hear what was said for educational enjoyment value. Whomever was in the audience, there was a message for them. The message was not just for Lutherans, it is for all denominations of Christianity alike, for all Christians compose the living, breathing body of Christ.

It is a Christian’s duty to be the hands and feet of God, to do His good works, to make disciples of all nations, to go into the world and share the good news. In today’s culture humans are interconnected via technology through social media, connecting an individual to a seemingly unlimited amount of other individuals. And advantage must be taken of this, all available resources must be used to fulfill the works of God. Christians, and Lutherans in particular, must proclaim their faith without shame. This modern world discourages the discussion of religion, when religion is what the world needs most. Religion gives the world something to identify with, something to unit in: God’s grace. It is the duty of Christians to share God’s grace with the world, for if they do not then whom shall?

Walking into the BEC I ran into a family friend, Susie Norris, who is a senior saint of the LCMS. I did not expect to see her there, but then again, she is Lutheran and 2017 is a very important year for us as we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Seeing Susie there reminded me how significant Lutheranism is to the community we live in here at CSP, we value our Lutheran theology and culture. We understand and practice keeping balance in our lives by keeping an eye on the past but looking towards the future; which is how Lutheranism is growing — keeping its original members while gaining new ones. There’s appeal to both being sacramental and evangelical; we maintain a healthy balance between the two by acknowledging the tension. It is not only important for a denomination to be sustainable, but also a necessity in our lives in order to live a healthy life. Not only must we take care of ourselves physically and mentally, but spiritually as well. There are three components of the “health triangle” just as there are three components of God, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We as Lutherans, as Christians, must maintain a balance of the Holy Trinity to stay spiritual healthy. More often than not we focus more on one than the other two. The evidence of this is the schism between Baptists, Catholics, and Lutherans. We focus too much on what makes us different and not enough on how we are all children of God and saved by His grace. We must remember “antithesis : thesis :: thesis : antithesis” for it is “the tension between the antitheses which keep us balanced.” If the church cannot find balance within its self than how are we supposed to help an unbalanced world?

“Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious”

My take away from the book, “Life’s too short to pretend you’re not religious'” by David Dark is that I now have a better understanding of how to live a life for Christ. Because every decision I make is influenced by religion, which comes back to the saying we’ve all heard as kids, WWJD (What Would Jesus Do). Even though it is a saying taught to kids to get them to behave well, it can still be applied to our lives in college and as we start living adult lives. The phrase is meant to be a reminder of our heritage in times of dilemma and our heritage is Jesus Christ. I had forgotten this, but reading the book reminded me that it was in my ‘attention collection’ and I intend on making use of it.

I also encourage my fellow class mates to ask themselves, “WWJD?” the next time a dilemma occurs.

A little bit about me…

My mom is from Minnesota, my dad is from New York; they meet at the United States Naval Academy. They were both in the Navy for twenty years, and during that time my brother was born in Virginia Beach, VA; about four years later my parents were stationed to Monterey, CA where I was born. Then when I was just about to turn two years old my parents were stationed back to Virginia Beach, VA where we have lived ever since.