Image via WikipediaA couple of days ago I watched the movie Luther with the girls. I had seen a clip of it in church a few years ago and put it in my Netflix queue. But, I wasn't really all that interested and it hadn't worked its way to the top. When I learned that Martin Luther was such an anti-semite, my opinion of him dropped a lot. That's probably another reason I didn't watch the movie sooner. Finally, I decided to watch it and I am glad I did. BTW, his anti-semitism is not addressed in the movie- probably a good thing But, I'm doubly glad the girls watched it with me. I thought they'd find it boring. But, they were both very interested in the film. It was a great way to sneak some history in on them.
The movie can be summed up in two words "question authority". Martin Luther loved the church, loved Christianity, loved Jesus and loved the Bible. But, he lived at a time when the church was crushing the people with "indulgences" and was taking advantage of the fact that the average person could not read the Bible. The church had placed itself between God and man and was literally selling forgiveness. I was glad to hear both my girls express shock and dismay that the church would attempt such a thing. They were also both surprised that anyone would listen to such teachings (good for them. I've taught them well).
As I watched Martin Luther, now considered one of the great church fathers being tried for "heresy", I was reminded of Jesus facing the same charges hundreds of years before him and some of who are trying to reform the modern church hundreds of years after him. It seems we are doomed to repeat this cycle over and over again.
The movie is not at all dry or dull as you might expect. There are some pretty intense scenes of massacred peasants. So, it's not appropriate for very young children. It's a pretty old movie at this point (came out in 2003). But, if you missed it, pick it up and watch it one evening.
Here's a trailer:
Luther was a hero of mine when I was a fundy. As an educator, I delved into his own history. My present position, in my journey, has changed that assessment. I see that Luther was just as opinionated and intolerant (and given to violence) as those he criticized. In other words, a human being, just as we all are, save that he changed the history of religion in the west.
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