Friday, October 31, 2008


Well, Happy Halloween everyone. It's a gloomy day here and it looks like it wants to rain, but we have had so much heat here, right through October that it's finally a bit of relief. Today we remember the passing of dear old Harry Houdini who died on this day in 1926. Good old Harry was a magician, an escape artist and even a movie actor. He always promised that he would somehow "come back from the grave" every Halloween. So listen, if your hear some chains rattling in your attic this evening, it may just be Harry trying to communicate. My friend usedc to call Houdini the patron saint of all procrastinators. On this day Martin Luther nailed ninety nine protests to the door of his church and the Protestant Reformation was born.Luther's theology challenged the authority of the papacy by holding that the Bible is the only infallible source of religious authority and that all baptized Christians under Jesus are a universal priesthood. According to Luther, salvation is a free gift of God, received only by true repentance and faith in Jesus as the Messiah, a faith given by God and unmediated by the church. At the Diet of Worms assembly over freedom of conscience in 1521, Luther's confrontation with the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and his refusal to submit to the authority of the Emperor resulted in his being excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church and being declared an outlaw of the state as a consequence.
His translation of the Bible into the vernacular of the people made the Scriptures more accessible to them, and had a tremendous political impact on the church and on German culture. It furthered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation, and influenced the translation of the English King James Bible. His hymns inspired the development of congregational singing within Christianity. His marriage to Katharina von Bora set a model for the practice of clerical marriage within Protestantism. Much scholarly debate has concentrated on Luther's writings about the Jews. His statements that Jews' homes should be destroyed, their synagogues burned, money confiscated and liberty curtailed were revived and used in propaganda by the Nazis in 1933–45.[As a result of this and his revolutionary theological views, his legacy remains controversial. Today would have been the seventy-first birthday of actor Michael Landon. Michael's daughter Leslie used to always come into the camera store where I worked. She was a really sweet person. And on the note of peace on Earth, on this date in 1968, Lyndon Johnson ordered a halt to all bombing in Vietnam as a grand and great gesture of peace. Well again, Happy Halloween everyone and don't eat too much candy yourselves.

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