Those Sexy Protestants

The other day in class, I was reading Wikipedia articles to refresh my memory on Katharina and Martin Luther. I’m not entirely sure how I got on the topic, besides that I wanted to make certain that Katharina had indeed been a nun prior to marrying Martin, as some of the ex-monk reformers married nuns, while others didn’t. This information is very significant, because Jeremiah and I have discussed being a monk and nun for Halloween, and to make this seem less disrespectful, I wanted to be sure we had a real historical monk-nun couple we could refer to. “See, we’re not just promoting bad behavior among monks and nuns, we’re representing a real monk and nun that had a romance going on!” Who can argue with people trying to teach church history?

This raised, in my mind, for the first time, a deep irony within the Protestant tradition. How odd it is that we are just now beginning (and I mean beginning) to more openly discuss sexuality from a Christian perspective. While sex was certainly not the most important issue for the reformers, it seems the Reformation made a point of saying, “Catholics have got this wrong.” Because they believed sex was a good thing, priests should be allowed to marry. Hence, for the first time in a long while, the theological leaders of this time had wives. While I’ve heard some negative gender-related quotes from Martin, and I’m not trying to lift up his marriage as any sort of modern-day ideal, I do feel like for his time, he and Katharina were in some sense progressive. This seems to be a part of our heritage to celebrate.

We, as Protestants, at once point in time, intentionally embraced sex as something good, the source of differences in Protestant requirements for ministers (marriage is allowed), as well as our openness to birth control today. How ironic that we don’t proudly own that, and how sad that we have made so little progress in developing serious theological reflection on gender and sexuality over the past few centuries.

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under Marriage, Theology & Ministry

6 responses to “Those Sexy Protestants

  1. Becky Jackson

    Ashleigh…
    All I know about Katharina is that she didn’t take any excrement. Doug’s favorite story about her is that one evening as Martin regaled his students endlessly Kate had enough and barked, “Herr Doctor, why don’t you shut up!”

    I’m a fan!! ; )

  2. Ashleigh

    Which part is weird to you? All of it?

    I’m definitely no expert on Luther and sex, I am just commenting on the general trajectory of the Reformation, really… so your link was certainly interesting.

  3. Ashleigh

    Oh, and Becky, thanks for sharing another Katharina story. I think I like her. :o)

  4. Hilarious that this morning I started posting on sexuality, with a similar sort of assessment about the current clime, without having read your post last week.

    At least, hilarious in a not really hilarious but… well… oh… never mind.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s