Moments of Grace

An Occasional Blog by The Reverend Grace P. Burson,
Holy Trinity's Associate Transitional Pastor

November 2017: The Ninety-Five Theses

Posted by Mark Donahue on Thursday, November 9, 2017 @ 2:41 PM

It’s been quite the couple of weeks at Holy Trinity, with the twin anniversary celebrations of the Reformation and the parish’s founding, followed by All Saints’ Sunday. 

As we’ve talked with the Confirmation class about the Ninety-Five Theses that kicked off the Reformation five hundred years ago, we’ve taken pains to emphasize that the word “thesis” at the time (and still, in scientific terminology) didn’t mean “an assertion meant to be taken as fact” but rather “a starting point for discussion”.  Luther didn’t want to start the Protestant Reformation; he wanted to have an honest debate.  He was willing to be persuaded that he was wrong, if his opponents could use arguments that convinced him.

One suggestion that I saw floating around as people were preparing to celebrate the “Reformation 500” anniversary, was to put out pads of Post-It notes and have people write on them their hopes for and challenges to the church for the next 500 years, and stick them to the doors of the building, the way Luther (supposedly) did with the Ninety-Five Theses.

Amid everything else that was going on, that particular activity didn’t end up happening at Holy Trinity (although somebody did print out a copy of the original 95 and Scotch-tape it to the back door!), but I would still love to know what you might write on a note and stick to the front door of the church.

What conversation are we not having?  What genuine, honest debate do you want to have with your fellow Christians?  How do you think the church will need to change – to be reformed once again – to meet the needs of the world, and bring the Good News to those who long to hear it, in the next 500 years?

I’d love to hear your versions of the Ninety-Five Theses!  Send me an email (or comment on this article when it goes up on the church blog) with your thoughts!  And to start things off, here are some of mine (remember, these are starting points for debate, not intended as statements of fact!):

  •          The church needs to become a community of radical authenticity
  •          Artificial divisions between worship, formation, and service are no longer useful
  •          The saints of the future are the troublemakers of today

Let the conversation – and the reformation – begin!

In Peace,

Pastor Grace

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