Reformation Shame

Martin Luther, the Reformer.

Just when you thought a squirrel costume with real coyote ears and tail could top the strange Halloween dress-up list, someone goes and admits they dressed as Martin Luther as a child.


I may have circumnavigated the world and butchered a chicken, but I cannot top that.


My dear friend, the one who sparked my post about How to Effectively Hold a Grudge, mentioned tonight that he didn’t actually celebrate Halloween as a child. Nope. October 31 in his book is “Reformation Day.”


Reformation Day honors the actions of Martin Luther, the man who, in sparked a religious revolution within the Catholic Church when he hammered his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, permanently splitting Christianity into independent denominations.


Martin Luther, my friend, is why you can drive three city blocks in the Midwest and discover 14 churches of 14 slightly different denominations sharing parking lots and hitting up the same Luby’s Cafeteria at 12:34 p.m. each Sunday.


In honor of Martin Luther’s actions, it appears some churches celebrate with games, dressing up, and Gregorian chants on October 31 (I made that last one up). I’m sure the fact it coincided with Halloween and had games, activities, and costumes was a complete coincidence.


God works in mysterious ways, after all.


My friend, the easily influenced young man that he was, dressed up as The Reformer (not to be confused with A Transformer) on Reformation Day.


The thought of him dressed as monk, studiously not celebrating Halloween with a celebration that mirrors Halloween festivities almost exactly, inspired me to learn more about Mr. Martin Luther so I have more bullets in the arsenal the next time I want to tease him mercilessly.


And, boy, oh boy, has The Google come through on this topic for me!


First, let’s take a moment to stare at the picture for this post. That handsome bullfrog of a pasty white dude whose attire makes your fingers itch to run through his hair, is Martin Luther.


Now put that image on top of a young man who grew up singing a little ditty about Jack and Diane… and the corners of your mouth begin to turn upward at the pure comic value of the scene.


Another amusing fact about Martin Luther? He was a promising law student until 1505, when he underwent a religious conversion after being struck by lightning, crying at the time, “Help, St. Anne, I will become a monk!”


If I were struck by lightning I’m not sure my response would be to turn to a life of celibacy. In fact, I’m pretty sure life-threatening situations tend to bring out the opposite reaction in most people as they cling to one another in passionate celebration of life. This is why there’s a spike in the birth rate 9-to-10 months after a disaster.


(I’m guessing we should a such a spike in August 2013 after the results of our next Presidential Election.)


Regardless, Martin Luther got hit by lightning and pledged himself to the monkhood. He was scared into the life of the straight and narrow.


Now, the next amusing aspect of Martin Luther? On June 13, 1525, he married Katharine Von Bora, a former nun. {Eyes Raise}


Mmm, hmmm. Something about the monk-lightening part went terribly wrong for our pasty white bullfrog of a man. And he wasn’t content with simply stepping out on the wild side of procreation – he brought another faithful follower down with him! He married a nun!


I would suppose God would have something to say about that, except the story is actually quite romantic. Paramount Motion Pictures needs to be checking into this story! Katharine was one of a group of nuns that he had helped escape from a Cistercian convent by smuggling them out in herring barrels. They had six children together.


Now, tell me if this isn’t turning into a potential motion picture event! There’s drama, intrigue, obsession with herring, and the flaunting of society and conventions.


When they do the casting, I know a guy who already has the costume. He’d be awesome as Martin Luther.


The last thing I find fascinating and humorous about the guy who was excommunicated from the Catholic church and lived the rest of his life on the lam is that before he was electrocuted he was a law student.


His opinion of law school? After he “enrolled in a school, studying grammar, rhetoric and logic,” he compared this experience to “purgatory and hell.”


I don’t know anyone who has been in any graduate program, whether law, medicine, or underwater basket weaving, who hasn’t described their experience as a warming combination of purgatory and hell.


Martin Luther is so approachable. He’s just like me. Except he wore a ruffled collar and was a man of questionable love affairs. So maybe we don’t have much in common after all.


But does it really matter?


After all, I’m not dressing up as the dude on Reformation Day every year. I’ll stick to small animal husbandry for my costume inspiration.


What’s the funniest costume you’ve ever worn?



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