Tuesday, November 3, 2009
OFF THE RECORD WITH MARTIN LUTHER
I haven’t been able to pedal my tricycle fast enough to keep pace with blogging in recent days. Being a care-giver can by itself become a full-time job. Cooking, cleaning, reading, writing, working on the house with Habitat’s siding specialist (Mike is a former Mennonite pastor--nice young man), doctor’s appointments, researching new health insurance, et al become overwhelming when trying to wrap around them. Too much for one person, but the option is even less appealing--not enough to keep busy.
Having lived with a spouse with fragile health for almost 63 years, how thankful I am for my own good health and reasonably strong constitution. It is a true blessing from God!
My peers, other pastors, and other friends that are interested in fascinating books will appreciate this word from Hansa-Hewlett Publishers of Kalamazoo. You can order it online at Amazon, or find it at your favorite bookstore--a well-done, 500-page soft cover book ($19.95), and related to one of the Reformation's great souls--a favorite of mine from Church History--Martin Luther.
This is the first, authentic translation of the original conversations between students and colleagues around the Luther dinner table. Some of my peers will find the Reformer’s medieval language occasionally blunt and explosive, even abusive and, at times, coarse--you will understand him.
Most will not know the translator-editor Charles Daudert--a retired trial lawyer become author. Daudert has several published volumes, mostly historical, academic, and religious, both fiction and non-fiction. He was seven years in translating and editing OFF THE RECORD and has produced the most comprehensive translation of “Table Talks” available.
While I long knew of “Table Talks,” I did not know that much of it remained untranslated, until Charles Daudert took it upon himself to expand our English translations. An honor student, a longtime spouse of a German bride with extensive interest in German issues, Daudert won the applause of that other Luther academic and friend, Dr. Paul Maier. Maier, a professor at Western Michigan University and the son of Dr. Walter Maier of the original "Lutheran Hour" admitted he “for one,” had planned such a project - until, that is, “Charles Daudert showed us all how it should be done!”
Available from Amazon and major book outlets, readers will find it filled with spicy wisdom. For example, in July 1532 Luther suggested “a lie is like a snowball, the longer one waltzes with it, the bigger it gets.” Another I like comes from September 1533: “Lustful thoughts come upon us without any special invitation, like fleas and lice; love is there, on the other hand, when we want to serve others.”
Luther’s Rhyme goes like this:
Nothing on earth is better done,
Than to be master of one’s tongue.
Know a lot and say but little,
Have not an answer for every riddle,
For what you borrow return what’s due
Let everyone be who they are,
And so be true to your own star.
It is possible that I can share a reading of this with some of my pastor-peers who are interested but cannot find Luther in their book budget--contact me at my email address.
Luther became a transforming experience for the translator and he will enrich both your personal life and add salt and pepper to your appreciation of Reformation history. Wayne at