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Alumni trip to Germany featured in Star Tribune’s Protestant Reformation anniversary coverage

Minneapolis Star Tribune - logoThis fall, Augsburg College hosted alumni, faculty, staff, and community members for an international travel experience that took participants to the Czech Republic and Germany, which is in the midst of a tourism boom accompanying the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The travelers visited Wittenberg, the long-time home of Reformation catalyst Martin Luther, and ventured to historic sites to learn about the origins of the Lutheran faith from Augsburg College Religion Department faculty members Hans Wiersma and Lori Brandt Hale.

Star Tribune reporter Jean Hopfensperger and photographer Jerry Holt accompanied the group to chronicle how Minnesotans are observing the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in the “Land of Luther” in addition to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” given that religious, arts, and cultural organizations across Minnesota are planning special events and exhibits to mark the occasion.

As Hopfensperger wrote, “Luther’s legacy is particularly deep in Minnesota, and not just because of his followers’ enduring embrace of hymn fests — often followed by Jell-O and hot dish. One in four residents trace their namesake faith to the monk from Wittenberg.”

In a Star Tribune story, Augsburg alumnae Carol Pfleiderer ’64 and Kathleen Johnson ’72 described their excitement with the trip itinerary and the ways it reflects and builds upon their understanding of their faith.

The Rev. Mark Hanson ’68, the College’s Executive Director of the Christensen Center for Vocation, was among other alumni quoted in the article. He described some of the ways the Lutheran church is using the Reformation anniversary to foster Lutheran-Catholic dialogue and to make the church accessible to all people.

Read, “Minnesota Lutherans at forefront of new Martin Luther revolution” on the Star Tribune site.


Christian Science Monitor talks to Hans Wiersma

The Christian Science MonitorHans Wiersma, associate professor of religion, spoke with the Christian Science Monitor about whether a Baptist church in Kansas could continue after the passing of its charismatic founder. Fred Phelps Sr., the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, which is best known for picketing military funerals to show its opposition to homosexuality, recently was admitted to hospice care. Read Wiersma’s comments in the article “Could Westboro Baptist survive without founder Fred Phelps.”

"Crazy Book" shares the lighter side of the Bible

crazy_bookEver thought of the Exile as a 40-year timeout? Did you know Mary Magdelene’s pet peeve is artists who paint her as “that kind of woman”? And has it ever occurred to you that it would be cool if the Salome said to have been at Jesus’ tomb was the very same Salome who bumped off John the Baptist?

The authors of “Crazy Book” have put a lot of thought into questions like these.

This “not-so-stuffy dictionary of biblical terms” was written by assistant religion profs Hans Wiersma and Karl Jacobson, and Karl’s brother Rolf, an associate professor at Luther Seminary.

Continue reading “"Crazy Book" shares the lighter side of the Bible”

A feminist perspective of Luther's Theology of the Cross

reformation_lectureOn October 31, 1517, a theologian, university professor, and outlaw named Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church. This act, which marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, is celebrated at Augsburg College with the Founders Day Reformation Lecture series, this year featuring professor Deanna Thompson, chair of the Religion department at Hamline College.

The series began during the tenure of Augsburg’s former president, William V. Frame, as a vehicle to examine the connections between the Reformation and the Augsburg College mission. The series continues today, providing an opportunity for students, staff, and faculty at Augsburg to hear speakers who are experts in the field of Reformation history and theology while reaching out to the greater community, especially local congregations, pastors, and scholars. Continue reading “A feminist perspective of Luther's Theology of the Cross”