12 September 2009

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

To bring the matter immediately into the practical life of our day we can say that the avoidance of modern dance and questionable films, of the excessive frequently of the theatre and the intemperate reading of fiction (particularly during the years of adolescence, and for that matter during all later times of special temptation or lowered powers of resistance) is as important as the attendance at divine services and the practice of prayer. Because sin has such a mysterious influence and ensnaring power, those places where it is glorified in sensuous and wild revelry are to be absolutely avoided. -- Köberle, *Quest for Holiness* p. 189, 190.

18 comments:

Paul said...

Is this a Lutheran Pietist or a Southern Baptist?

Paul said...

Sorry that was a glib comment.
Whenever someone mentions "the excessive frequenting of the theatre" alarm bells go off.

Mark said...

So that's why LCMS clergy (with few notable exceptions) don't read much fiction. It's also worth noting, too, that there are no major writers that I can think of who were/are Lutheran. And, no, I don't consider Bo Giertz a major writer.

William Weedon said...

John Updike?

William Weedon said...

P.S. Let me hasten to add that I read a LOT of fiction; but I understand exactly what Köberle is warning against. Time you spend reading a George MacDonald novel or visiting Middle Earth or Narnia -- well, it is very different than reading salacious novels. Now, I do believe there are modern writers who do not glamorize sin, but can show it in its full and deadly impact. Among them I count Michael Connelly.

William Weedon said...

P.S.S. Another way of saying this is that one can read and write novels of the City of God or the City of this world (a la Augustine's categories). The best novels are about the City of God IN this world - a Graham Green or a Evelyn Waugh come to mind. Sometimes a writer writes only about the City of this world - and then he can do it in two ways. He can write describing it in its sadness, brokenness, and pain (I think of Connelly). Or he can write glamorizing its sin and celebrating it. I'll forgo names, but I'll bet you can think of plenty.

Mark said...

FYI - Though Updike was raised as a Lutheran in Pennsylvania, he joined a Congregational Church with his first wife. This was supposedly a midway point between his Lutheranism and her Unitarianism. When he married his second wife in 1977 he joined the Episcopal Church and it was from the Episcopal Church that he was buried earlier this year.

William Weedon said...

Yes, but I think he wrote from his Lutheran upbringing. It kind of rings through - just think of the simul justus et peccator and how he depicts his characters.

Mark said...

I agree with your thesis, Bill, that the best novels are about the City of God in this world. The great writer, Flannery O'Connnor, once said that the subject in her fiction is "the action of grace in territory held largely by the devil."

Jim Huffman said...

I'll go further than Mark. There are essentially no Lutheran novelists, painters or any other kinds of artists. If John Updike writes from an angst welling up from a Lutheran "upbringing," well, this hardly makes him a Lutheran writer. There are -- say -- Catholic writers such as Flannery O'Connor or Walker Percy. Why there's no one comparable in Lutheran circles is a puzzle I've yet to figure out.

William Weedon said...

Um, Saarinen? Bach? Schütz? Praetorius? Holbein? The works of Schnorr featured in the new The Lutheran Study Bible? Distler? Riojas? So many more. Most, it is true, work in the musical medium, but there are other artists also.

William Weedon said...

P.S. And let's not forget Thorvaldsen - he has some stunning work too!

Jim Huffman said...

Did Saarinen claim to be Lutheran? (I presume you mean the architect). His wikipedia article mentions nothing about religious faith, which is odd if he's being claimed as Lutheran. As far as Schütz, Holbein, Praetorius, Schnorr or Bach, do we really have to go back that far to find someone to substantiate such a claim? Is there no one remotely contemporary that you'd suggest?

William Weedon said...

Yes, I believe Saarinen did. He not only did the arch; he designed the Fort Wayne Campus for the Missouri Synod. Riojas is still living and beathing - I got to see some of his work up in Michigan. It is fabulous. And I may be wrong on this one, but I think that the Japanese artist Sadao Watanabe was also a Lutheran Christian. At any rate, Concordia Seminary possess a sizable collection of his work.

I didn't hesitate to "go back" because the argument was that Lutherans haven't produced art. The statement is shown to be false by the mere mention of Bach, who was a most convinced Lutheran and the greatest musician of all time.

Mark said...

Perhaps it is the Catholic sacramental view of reality (i.e. that the natural world contains the supernatural) that explains why there are so many good Roman Catholic writers, especially in the modern period.

Paul said...

Your probably right Mark. I know that Catholics have worship services that engage all the senses. This must have a deeper effect on the imagination. It also doesn't hurt that there are 1.1 billion Roman Catholics in the world. There is bound to be a good author in there somewhere.

Mark said...

While it's doubtful anyone is still reading this thread, I thought I'd put in my last two cents. I think Herr Koeberle forgets that the only art form our Lord embraced was fiction. Jesus was a story teller. He told parables.

christl242 said...

Your probably right Mark. I know that Catholics have worship services that engage all the senses. This must have a deeper effect on the imagination. It also doesn't hurt that there are 1.1 billion Roman Catholics in the world. There is bound to be a good author in there somewhere.

A little clarification here from my ten years as a Roman Catholic. There are 1.1 billion "baptized" members of the Roman Catholic Church. That by no means makes them all practicing. John Paul II often lamented about the number of "unevangelized" Catholics within the church. Do other denominations have them? Of course. But we don't boast about an inflated membership that is made up of many essentially baptized pagans.

Use of the senses in worship can and often is very edifying but sometimes replaces the importance of the living Word of God and how it should inform our lives as Christians.

As for the sacramental worldview of Roman Catholicism, that's been pretty well played down since Vatican II. At the average parish one often finds poor music, poor preaching and a strange combination of catholic/reformed liturgy with a veneer of "tradition." Most Biblical paradigms are filtered through social justice lens. I heard an RC priest lamenting recently that Catholics hardly discuss eschatology anymore.

Nothing like personal experience to give one a picture of the RC as she is, not as she is perceived to be.

Christine