On October 31, 1517, a young professor at a German university wanted to start a conversation with his colleagues and the church about the practices of the church (particularly the practice of selling indulgences). He posted some talking points (95 of them, to be precise, called the 95 Theses) that he hoped would be points of discussion for him and his colleagues at the university where he taught. From there, he published innumerable pamphlets, songs, letters and writings – all in the hopes of continuing conversations about the practices of the church, the teachings of the Bible, the nature of theology, the purpose of education, the work of the state, and many other topics. In doing so, he started a conversation that changed the world (or as we might say here at Concordia – took the world by storm) and that continues today.
As part of our celebration of this momentous anniversary, Concordia has invited 12 members of our faculty to reflect on the events of 500 years ago and how they still shape how we teach and learn here at Concordia University. Over the next few months, you will be invited to join us in thinking about the events of the Reformation and how they are still relevant for us Christians in 21st century America. You’ll explore Luther as a communicator, who used the technology of the times in addition to his own understanding of human nature, to get his message out (with blogs by Mikail McIntosh-Doty, University Librarian; Dr. Paul Muench, Professor of Communication; and Dr. Jacob Youmans, Associate Professor of Religious Education). You’ll be invited to think about how the work and ideas of the Reformation still impact the academy and the ways we go about teaching and learning (with blogs by Dr. Erik Green, Associate Professor of Communication; Dr. Phil Schielke, Assistant Professor of Computer Science; Dr. Jeff Utzinger, Assistant Professor of English; Dr. Sarah Baker, Assistant Professor of Education; and Dr. Jim McConnell, Dean of the College of Education). You’ll learn more about women of the time who supported Luther and the other reformers (blog by Joel Heck, Professor of Religion) and how Luther’s ideas continue to be essential in our understanding of the roles of church and state (blog by Matt Bloom, Associate Professor of History). Finally, you’ll be invited to think deeply about whether the time has come for a new reformation (blogs by Grant Carey, Assistant Professor of Religious Education and Brent Burgess, Associate Professor of Political Science).
As a liberal arts university, we at CTX understand that the study of the past tells us a lot about ourselves today. We look for the intersections of history, politics, art, theology, literature, psychology and human behavior – all of which play a part in this story of the Reformation. As a Lutheran university, we are grateful specifically for the ideas that Luther and his followers wrestled with, wrote about and preserved for the future. With our mission of Developing Christian Leaders, we look to the reformers as examples (although certainly not the only ones) of leaders who lived out their vocations in ways that made a difference in the world. Our hope is that as you read these blog postings over the next few months, your own thinking about the Reformation, the church and the academy will be sharpened. We hope that you will think deeply about the ways that the reformers lived as Christian leaders – and the ways that you are called to do so also.
Tune in every Wednesday to enjoy blogs from various faculty members!