Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Reformation: Not only Religious

On October 31st, 1517, a Catholic professor of theology, Martin Luther, nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on to a door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. His theses addressed many problems within the church, as well as calling many reforms in the organization and traditions. Luther's theses challenged the selling of indulgences, as well as reprimanding the church for financial exploitation of Germany. While his theses were only intended to start an intellectual discussion, it ended up starting, what historians call today, the Reformation. However, the Reformation wasn't only a religious reform. The Reformation began as a religious movement, but as the fire grew, it influenced the split between King Henry VIII and the pope. However, it all began with Luther, and many other religious reformers.
There were many religious reformers during the reformation. The most controversial was Luther, who directly challenged the church, John Calvin, who may have been the most influential reformer, and Huldrych Zwingli, a similar reformer to Martin Luther who led a stand in Zurich, Switzerland. All three reformers attempted to make a change in the Roman Catholic Church.
It all began with the Ninety-Five Theses that Luther posted on the door of a church in Wittenberg. Luther only posted the theses as a gateway to an intellectual discussion; however it became the spark for the Reformation fire. His theses were about the selling of indulgences, spiritual obligations of the pope, and how the pope misused indulgences. One of Luther's key points was, "the pope cannot remit any guilt” (Saari, Primary Source 125). The pope cannot cancel the guilt, with or without indulgences. It was said that the Pope used the indulgences to build the great St. Peter’s Basilica that is here today, yet Luther writes, “Why does not the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with his own money rather than with the money of poor believers” (Hillerbrand, MAS Ultra School Edition) One of Luther's main arguments against the church was that because God and man have one link, there is no need for indulgences or works, and that faith is the key to salvation.
Another reformation leader was, John Calvin, the reformer in France. He wrote the Ecclesiastical Ordinances (, which was a reorganized local church government which was led by a council called the consistory. When he was in Geneva, he attempted to enact the Ecclesiastical Ordinances, however due to the fact that the council in Geneva disagreed with his ideals. He left Geneva in 1538. According to the John Calvin article from Mas-Ultra School Edition: “In September 1541 Calvin was invited back to Geneva, where the Protestant revolution, without strong leadership, had become increasingly insecure” (John Calvin, Mas-Ultra School Edition). He enacted the Ecclesiastical Ordinances which divided church officials into four groups, pastors and teachers to teach and explain scripture, elders who administered the church, and deacons to attend the charitable responsibilities. This way of government was fervently resented by the general population, however by 1555 he prevailed and Geneva became his. His writing later influenced many reformers in France.
Finally, Huldrych Zwingli was also a reformer; he however was similar to Martin Luther, in the fact that he attacked the church for selling indulgences as well as other abuses he listed. He wrote in his Sixty Seven Articles that "God alone forgives sins, only through Christ Jesus his Son, out lord. Therefore, confession to a priest or a neighbor should not be done for the forgiveness of sins, but for the sake of receiving counsel” (Saari, Primary Source 135). God is the only one who can forgive sins, and that by confessing to a priest does not revoke your sin, but instead is just for receiving counsel. Zwingli later turned Zurich into an evangelical city. Later in 1529, Zwingli met Luther in Marburg, Germany where they wrote 15 articles that defined the Protestant faith. Yet, it was King Henry VIII whose actions shocked the Catholic world.
Unlike many other reformations in other parts of Europe, the English Reformation was influenced by personal and political ideals. King Henry the Eighth was the son of King Henry the Seventh, and inherited the throne when his father died in 1509. Because he was well educated, in Latin and theology, and was also a patron of the arts, historians now call him a Renaissance Prince (Saari, Almanac 106) Soon after becoming King, he married Catherine of Aragon, the widow of his brother, Arthur, Prince of Wales. Pope Julius through a special dispensation allowed the marriage, even though it was against canon law (law of the church). At first they were happy; but when she produced Henry VIII a female heir, Mary, King Henry believed that a female heir would not be accepted as the next Queen of England. Henry VIII wanted a son, and sought a younger wife, Ann Boelyn. When he attempted to divorce his wife, the Pope Clement VII refused because a canonical impediment had already been issued once; also, because the pope was afraid of Catherine’s nephew, Charles V, who just recently attacked Rome and took the pope as prisoner. As a result, the King was furious, so he split from the Roman Catholic Church, and went on to form his own, the Anglican Church, or the Church of England (This church would later be responsible for another revolution in about 300 years). However the Church of England was still a part of the Roman Catholic Church, and their religious leader was still the Pope. Later in 1534, the Church of England declared that the monarchy would be recognized as the Royal Supremacy over the Church of England. This became the English Reformation.
At first it began as an intellectual discussion; however that culminated into a religious reformation, which later became the catalyst for the English Reformation. Martin Luther wrote his Ninety-Five¬ Theses in response to the corruption in the church, which later became the spark for the English Reformation. Many others also instigated reforms in their country. John Calvin, and Huldrych Zwingli, both attacked the church for many of their sacraments and traditions. Yet, the English Reformation was fueled by personal and political reasons; the ashes included their split from the Roman Catholic Church. The Reformation was not only a religious reform; it was a reform that was caused by religion, personal and political ideals.


On December 13th, Monday, we drove from Moraga, to Lake Tahoe, where we went to the big ski resort, Northstar, to ski. There we rented skis, and boots and a helmet for my brother. My brother and I had private lessons, my brother wanted his/her teacher to help him get better, while I thought I needed a coach to help me ski again, as I haven't skied for 2-3 years. However, to my surprise, I remember most of it, and enjoyed the whole experience. I skied parallel on the green runs and blue runs, while also attempting at powder and cross country. During those 3 days, I enjoyed the rush and cool temperatures as I floated down the slopes. We left on Wednesday the 15th. On December the 28th, we went back again for one day, and skied some blue and green runs as well. All in all, I enjoyed skiing this christmas.

Now onto a serious note. I enjoy skiing, but I find it a sport that is too time consuming, expensive, and quite stressful. It is time consuming for the drive to Tahoe and back, which is roughly 2 1/2 hours with no traffic, as well as the long lines. It is expensive for the rental costs as well as the tickets, and it is stressful. Each day I ski, I endure a lot of pain in my feet, I have bad feet (minor chronic pain that is increased when I ski), as well as the post-ski sickness, which includes, a cold, bad phlegm and other sores. However, if one or two of these factors were eliminated, then skiing would be bliss for me. Nonetheless, I enjoy the rush, and the adrenaline when I ski, but it is not a necessity in my life.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Frolic 2010

After everyone's final exam, our StuGov hosted a formal dance called Frolic, at Denwell in the wedding house. I went, wearing a black shirt, with black pants, black tie, and a black jacket. Frolic, was quite enjoyable, though not worth the price paid. The food at Frolic was mediocre if not terrible, but the dance itself was quite fun. I enjoyed myself as I danced with my friends, Naomi, Maggie, Kevin Lin, Wesley, Pelix, Max, and finally, Ginnie and Emily. All in all, it was a great experience, and I feel that going with or without a date is fun. (I am terribly sorry, that this was a short post)


Well, to all my non-existent readers out there, I am terribly sorry for the lack of posts. Mostly due to procrastination,and lack of time. I will also be posting my latest essays. Basically, in the last few months, I studied hard for my exams, and scored well in most of them. I went to Frolic subsequently after, and had a blast. That will be a separate post right after this. Currently I am in Moraga, for my Christmas holiday. I went skiing twice, and enjoyed most of it. That will be another post as well. Finally, my Christmas presents. This year, I obtained a lot of great presents. Firstly, a Fujifilm HS10 digital Single-Lens Reflex, basically a digital camera. It came with a bag, and the camera sports a 30X zoom. Also, I received really high quality, noise cancelling headphones. AblePlanet, True Fidelity Headphones. I also got some great books, and other things as well. Well, that's it for my Christmas post, and I will be writing about my ski trip and Frolic right after this.