Thursday, March 21, 2013

Heroes and ashes

Well, that was enough for me, having just read a few excerpts from "The Jews and their Lies." I've had this lingering question in my mind for some time, one of those questions that takes a bit of gumption to ask even, but at some point you realize that you must. Was Luther an anti-Semite? Sure seems like it, based on some of the stuff I just read. I don't care to repeat it; I'll let you do your own google search for that reason. I had heard a while back, that sometimes when people read Luther's writing, that they come away with less respect for him than when they started, in short. This professor was asserting that Luther's style of writing was well, to the point we might say. Yet, we have to keep in mind, the professor had continued, that he was trying to get at the truth, that this was a style at the time, and not to be too put off by some of the stuff that he said against his opponents. 

And so I had remained hopeful, that this was a kind of rhetoric, that he was attacking his adversaries on theological grounds, that it was an ideological rather than a personal difference. He had had plenty to say about the Catholic church after all, and he was a Catholic himself. Maybe it was the same with the Jews, he was having a good ol' theological debate. Hey it's Luther, right? But then there's only so much you can excuse, especially from a spiritual leader. So, I'm always open to new information; please feel free if anyone out there can offer me some insight, but I suspect that for me, it will remain as just another example.

Because it seems that anytime I've ever put a human being up on a pedestal, I've always gotten the same reminder, that people are fallen. They may have their strengths but...good ol' debates don't usually include admonitions to burn and to confiscate and to expel.

It saddens me, in short, the acceptance that Christians, some as Christian as they come, have undeniably played a serpentine role in the degradation of any group of people, but especially the family of our Lord. All the more so because for me, having read the Old Testament scriptures as I have from the time I was a child, that remembrance of which has given me a love of the Jewish people, their history and heritage is our acquired heritage as Christians. So, I always hoped that the unacceptable treatment of Jews by Christians throughout history, must have been a product of Biblical ignorance, when people couldn't read, etc. But not Luther, one of the fathers of modern education and German Biblical translator.

So, we're left with the ashes aren't we, with the theological or emotional and spiritual divisions that remain until this day? In other words, the reluctance of many Jews to consider Jesus as the messiah, could at least in part be the product of our treatment of them over the centuries. How could that guy be the source of a messianic peace, Jesus, that is? It's not like things got better for his people when he came, after all, at least not after the fall of Jerusalem and the centuries of dispersion and persecution that followed. Listening to talks by a couple of rabbis in the last couple of months, I've gotten the sense that there could be something to that source of disinclination.

It's too bad really, because Luther might have been a great hero of mine. The courage, the fortitude, the desire for truth, and yet...lies too great to begin to imagine. 

It's too bad,

thanks for listening,

M.A. Harvey

This might be a good starting point.

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