Shifting Paradigms: Martin Luther's Enduring Global Impact

Winter 2020 - Thursday Series

No Upcoming Lectures

Past Lectures

Martin Luther in Global Context

Thursday, Feb 27, 2020

Martin Luther’s significance lies not in bringing about the Reformation but in taking the risk to name a thing for what it is — whether it was the church or the crotch — and rallying people to take a bold stance (even those who disagreed with him) so as to bring about a change, a turning, a metanoia. As nations, communities and peoples we are in the midst of crises — be it that of faith or fate. And the calling is in the air: The local and global calling for a turning or metanoia.

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Martin Luther and Anti-Semitism

Thursday, Feb 20, 2020

Positive contributions of Martin Luther include deep and effective commitment to informal and formal education as well as encouragement of personal individuation. Were anti-Semitism and bigotry against Jews and Muslims Luther’s only notable legacies, Lutheranism would have rightly failed or been marginalized centuries ago. Nor would Waterloo Lutheran Seminary have changed its name to Martin Luther University College. While many of Luther’s flaws can be contextualized in a world that has evolved beyond certain acceptable bigoted perspectives, they require addressing and correcting in order that the benefits of his life contribution remain valid and efficacious in Western Civilization today.

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Martin Luther and Care of the Soul

Thursday, Feb 13, 2020

Luther’s lifelong struggle with melancholy and anxiety is well documented in his own writings and those of Luther scholars. This presentation will address Luther’s context and religious worldview and how these impacted his mental health. It will also consider Luther’s experience of personal reformation, the impact on his mental health, and the implications for living in the 21st-century.

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When Doing the Right Thing Doesn’t Make You Right: Martin Luther’s (Very Public) Ethics

Thursday, Feb 06, 2020

The controversial reformer Martin Luther was no paragon of virtue. He was a polarizing figure and a bundle of seeming contradictions. Nevertheless, he offered important insights for ethical deliberation. He understood the flaws of human nature and the need for ethical realism. He promoted the idea of freedom of conscience. He helped encourage moral literacy and service to neighbours. He understood the paradoxical nature of ethical choices and the important role of public opinion. This lecture will examine Luther’s 16th-century contributions to public ethics and how they can inform a 21st-century view of the world and our place in it.

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Luther's Musical Dialectic: Singing Faithfully into Context

Thursday, Jan 30, 2020

Ludolph proposes that using Luther’s theological frame, music is set free to sing good news in each time and place. In this session, we will explore the tensions between identity and difference, as seen through the lens of the texts, tunes and liturgical practice of Luther and applied to the current context.

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Everything New is Old Again: Tradition and Innovation in Luther’s Theology and Religious Practice

Thursday, Jan 23, 2020

Luther’s global religious, political and social impacts derive from motifs central to this former Augustinian monk’s theology. These include the teaching that God’s love is unconditionally given through the gift of faith (justification); that God’s modus operandi is to meet us in our pain and brokenness (theology of the cross); and that God considers the efforts of the pauper as important as that of the bishop (vocation). In this session we explore how Luther’s new teachings represent old problems resolved in a new key for his time, inviting us to see the task of reformation as an ongoing task.

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Martin Luther’s Life and Career: A Scholar in Turbulent Times

Thursday, Jan 16, 2020

Up until 1517, Martin Luther lived a fairly typical middle-class life. Then he posted a set of theses for academic debate and set off a series of events that ended up changing the Roman Catholic Church and European society and politics. Along the way he both exhibited theological genius and made some colossal mistakes. His influence continues into modern times and has given rise to a great diversity of interpretations.

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Martin Luther: Setting the Stage

Thursday, Jan 09, 2020

Martin Luther, the 16th-century reformer whose work and enduring legacy is being explored in this series, was very much a man of his age. Yet in his theological response to the social, economic, and political forces that were fermenting in the Europe of his day, Luther unleashed currents of change that would reshape the face of Europe and undergird the emergence of the modern world. This introductory lecture will explore a number of the contributing factors that set the stage for Luther’s emergence as a reformer of such sweeping and enduring impact.

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