A Mormon Sermon for Reformation Sunday

November 3, 2010

Delivered in church on October 31, 2010*

By 1528 at the latest Martin Luther had written the hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”, number 68 in our hymn book, as a homily on Psalm 46. The words to this hymn always turn my thoughts to Luther’s experience in taking refuge in the mighty Wartburg fortress at Eisenach in the German principality of Thuringia in 1521. We can imagine Luther reflecting on his isolation while sequestered in that fortress, in disguise as a knight for his own protection, as he later penned the words. Read the rest of this entry »

An “Important Strengthening” of Religious Freedom: Temple Recommends in the European Court of Human Rights

October 13, 2010

Freedom of contract, religious autonomy and the Mormon temple recommend prevailed recently in The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)[1] as the Court rendered its judgment in the case of Obst v. Germany (application no. 425/03). More specifically, the ECHR found that Germany had not violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to respect for private and family life) when Germany’s highest court, the Federal Constitutional Court, had ultimately upheld Michael Obst’s 1993 dismissal without notice by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from his employment as Public Affairs Director for the Europe Area after he had confessed to committing adultery. Read the rest of this entry »

Goethe’s Wandrer’s Nachtlied II (Wayfarer’s Evensong II)

March 11, 2010

If you have been following our blog for a while, you know we have a thing for Goethe around here. One of my favorite Goethe poems is short and sweet – Wandrer’s Nachtlied II, which I translate as Wayfarer’s Evensong II. I call it an “evensong” to preserve the parallel title with Wandrer’s Nachlied I “Der Du von dem Himmel bist…” even though this one is not as prayer-like as I. Since I have never found a translation I really like, here is my stab at it: Read the rest of this entry »

The Influence of Education

December 10, 2008

Kudos to a New York University journalism student in Prague for an interesting story that involves Mormons and religion (ht:T&S). Read the rest of this entry »


October 3, 2008

The Federal Republic of Germany turns eighteen today — at least in its reunified form. On October 3, 1990 the official Reunification of a country divided for 45 years by what seemed an insurmountable geopolitical estrangement took place in Berlin, the besieged city at the very heart of the Cold War. The scene played out on the steps of the famous Reichstag building upon which the words in the title of this post are inscribed just below the pediment: DEM DEUTSCHEN VOLKE — “To the German people”. Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas amongst the Saxons

December 24, 2007

John posted this a few years ago. I love it though, and it reminds me of my days as a graduate student when I learned Old Saxon by reading the Heliand in its original language. So enjoy the birth of the Chieftain as experienced by the medieval Saxons!


[Originally posted Christmas, 2004]

Because Christmas as we know it is built upon the vestiges of pagan holidays, my mind turns to the ninth century Heliand poem (c. 830 A.D.) at Christmastime. This is a poetic translation of the New Testament done by a Saxon monk in Old Saxon. The poet does a superb job of translating the Gospel not only linguistically but also culturally into a language comprehensible by the Germanic tribes of more than one thousand years ago. And the story of Christ’s birth expresses some of the poetic license taken by the monk while still conveying something powerful about our Savior and about his Gospel. Enjoy.

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Ten Years

January 12, 2007

Jordan got me thinking with his ten-year post and I thought I’d throw a little something out along those lines. Read the rest of this entry »

Official Boycott?

October 16, 2006

Bavaria’s ruling party, the Christian Socialist Union (CSU), has proposed a boycott of British Airways because the company’s uniform policy forbids openly wearing religious symbols.  This proposal by the CSU was precipitated by the recent suspension of a British Airways ticket counter employee for wearing a small silver cross visibly on a necklace.  By letter to the President of Germany’s Parliament, the CSU demanded that the German Bundestag no longer book flights for its representatives on British Airways.  The letter was written by CSU representative, Johannes Singhammer, who stated that the restriction and the suspension of the employee for visibly wearing a cross is "absolutely unacceptable for a Christian and completely discriminatory toward Christian fundamental beliefs." [„als Christ für absolut nicht hinnehmbar und schlichtweg diskriminierend gegenüber den christlichen Grundüberzeugungen“].

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Pope in Bavaria, or a Thought on Homogeneity

September 11, 2006

The Pope is making a visit to his home state of Bavaria in Germany today.

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