Friday, July 28, 2017

Poem: SITTING SHTETL FOR THE LIVING

SITTING SHTETL FOR THE LIVING

He has six months left,
If it's even that.
What can I say to ease his pain?
We're both secularists; we both accept
The reality that presents itself to us.
Why do I feel the need to speak?
Is it to ease my pain, not his,
To ease my frustration for him?
He is not the first secularist friend
That I have had die.
But, he’s the first for whom
I’ve had this much advance notice.
Sitting shtetl is about listening.
Only then about speaking.
I can ease his pain best
By dealing with mine in other ways.

But, I’m still talking about me.
What, other than listening,
Will ease his pain?
I hope he knows of what will help
And reaches out
To one or more of his listeners.

It doesn’t have to be me.

“Control freak” is just a label that
I don’t have to use.
Others surely feel the same.
Helpless, frustrated, angry.

I’m sorry.
Rest in peace among the living,

For as long as you can.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Luther legend shitstorm about to hit


I blogged nearly three years ago about myth vs reality on Martin Luther, well in advance of the 500th anniversary of his allegedly doing something with some theses. Indeed, I started with that legend, for legend it is, that he nailed them to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church.

And, I was already planning on starting a series of blog posts with the anniversary nearing vision.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think that a liberal American opinion magazine would be the spark for my memory, to get started.

But, it is.

The Nation uncritically repeats the legend about the 95 theses (It's unclear whether any of the books it reviews have this, or just itself) in a review of several new biographies about Luther and/or his times.

The 95 Theses has been refuted here and here.

Luther also did not say, as best as we know, "Here I stand, I can do no more," at the Diet of Worms in 1521. The "Here I stand" legend is refuted at the first of the two links in the paragraph above and also here.

Beyond that, the largest Lutheran denomination in the US rejects or questions some Luther myths, including the 95 Theses and the Here I stand.

And, as noted in that original piece, Luther’s virulent anti-semitism is no legend at all.