31 October 2009

that they may be one


On this, the 492nd anniversary of what has been come to be known as "Reformation Day" -- in honor of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg -- it's become difficult for me to hear the word "happy" to describe the event that "Reformation Day" is meant to recall. In fact, I find it to be one of the saddest days in the history of Christianity.

John 17 and this piece explain.

Reform: yes. Schism: no.

unity photo by kirsten.michelle


  1. Thank you. I'm so glad to have seen this tonight!

    Your post is a well-needed reminder that we need not, as Christians, celebrate what separates us, but strive to be Christ's holy, unified body.

    Oh, how we love Him, and let us do it together.

  2. I know this is somewhat tangental, but reading this and your links makes me think again about how angry it makes me that everyone forgets the counter-Reformation, the people inside the Roman Catholic church who saw the same problems Luther did but tried to change it from within. Personally, I think John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila were brilliant . . .

    It's a sad day, but also a maddening one . . . I agree.

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Kirst. I really appreciate this perspective. He's right; the notion of unity and the remorse we ought to feel at the disunity the Reformation caused is not something Protestants even think about. I confess it's not something I've spent much time thinking about! So I appreciate this perspective because it's got me thinking and considering where a spirit of disunity exists in my own heart, not just between Catholic and Protestant faith traditions but so many other places, too.

    Last month, while reading a book for school that covered several different faith traditions (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopal, Wesleyan, etc.), I was struck by a similar idea Hauerwas brings up in this piece. It is that beautiful recognition that the Roman Catholic church is able to encompass so many different expressions of the same faith (Franciscan, Dominican, Carmelite, etc.) and to celebrate the different faces of God they each bring to the table . . . where as the Protestant tradition really has a low tolerance for it. When we disagree, we break from each other and form brand-new denominations.

    It made me really sad to notice that, and it made me marvel and so appreciate what the Roman Catholic approach offers instead.