The answer was “very bad.” The audition was combo-style, meaning a bassist, drummer, pianist, and guitar player who had just met selected a standard out of the jazz repertoire and played it together. We were barely four measures into the tune, and already the guitar player and I were both hopelessly lost. Clearly, I had a very different conception of what a “standard” was, because I had genuinely no idea what the form or structure of the tune was. Needless to say, I was not accepted into the ensemble.
There’s one thread in this vigorous and robust discussion of what Luther had actually intended in his theses and what being Lutheran might mean now that I find quite compelling, and has shaped a great deal of my thinking on the Reformation. In one of my all-time favorite articles from First Things—an interreligious, nonpartisan research and educational organization whose pages have been graced with some of the modern era’s most profound Christian thinkers—Gilbert Meilaender, a Lutheran, writes the following:
October 31 is particularly significant this year, though. It will mark exactly 500 years since Martin Luther allegedly hammered 95 theses onto the wall of the Wittenburg Church in Germany, sparking the Protestant Reformation, a religious firestorm whose heat we can still feel today. Some Christians find this event a cause for celebration, while others lament it.
My beloved home state of Colorado has seen far too many similar events. From Columbine and Arapahoe High Schools to an Aurora theater, our state feels even more deeply the pain inflicted across the nation by mass shootings. This violence has exacted a high toll on many members of the Colorado community, and while buildings can be reopened and memorials built, long-term emotional pain is not always as obvious nor easily confronted.
On Sept. 22, MIT Army ROTC trucked down south for field training at Joint Base Cape Cod in the middle of a tropical storm. President Trump also unleashed a tropical Twitter storm condemning the NFL players who elected not to stand for the national anthem.