Anniversaries in 2017

Luther95thesesThe new year will mark some important anniversaries.  The biggest will be the 500th anniversary of Luther’s posting of the 95 theses and thus the beginning of the Reformation.  The significance of that event–not just for theology but for culture, education, socio-economic change, and the overall history of Western civilization–will be intensely debated, especially as October 31 approaches.

Was the Reformation a good thing or a bad thing?  A high point of Christianity or the beginning of its decline?  A recovery of ancient Biblical truth or the beginning of the modern era?  We Lutherans have a special stake in all of this, of course, and we should use this attention as an opportunity to make our message–namely, the Gospel–clear.

After the jump, consider some other important anniversaries in 2017.   [Read more…]

The poppies of the Tower

London is transfixed by a stunning war memorial commemorating Armistice Day, when World War I ended on November 11, 1918, honored in the United States as Veteran’s Day.  All around the iconic Tower of London are  888,246 ceramic poppies, one for each soldier of the Commonwealth who was killed in that war.   A beautiful sea of flowers that looks simultaneously like a horrible sea of blood makes a noble tribute for all veterans.

[Read more…]

The difference one person can make

Some say history is made by vast social and economic forces.  Others say that even vast forces are launched by the actions of individual human beings .  Yesterday’s newspaper, in two separate articles, showed the difference made by two individuals, one whose actions led to the deaths of millions; the other whose actions led to saving the lives of billions. [Read more…]

The last dough-boy

The last American veteran of World War I died at the age of 110.  Frank Buckles enlisted in 1917, lying about his age, which was only 16.  After that war, he worked in the civilian merchant marine. When World War II broke out, he was captured by the Japanese and spent over three years in a P.O.W. camp in the Philippines.

Two others who served in World War I are still alive, a 109-year-old man from Australia and a 110-year-old woman from Great Britain.

Mr. Buckles, who lived in West Virginia, sounds like he was a really likeable guy.  Read his profile: Last U.S. World War I veteran Frank W. Buckles dies at 110.