Last spring I visited the Paris exhibition Cranach in His Time, where I was introduced to a sampling of Lucas Cranach Sr.’s diverse and sometimes puzzling range of work. Cranach (1472–1553) produced more than 1,500 paintings, not to mention engravings, decorative work and altarpieces.
I began my tour with his portrait of the powerful and shrewd Frederick the Wise, who was Saxon’s ruling elector, Cranach’s patron and Luther’s protector. A little further on I studied a portrait of Luther, Cranach’s friend and partner, painted as a nonthreatening monk—an effort to persuade his critics that he was not dangerous.
"Religious commitments are no longer taken for
granted as part of North American people's lives," says Scott Kershner of Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center in Washington State. "So space opens up to
ask very basic and interesting questions."
As the end of the millennium approaches, many Christians are preoccupied with questions that concern the end of the world. Here is one important eschatological theme on which you are unlikely to have heard a single word.
Martin Luther: Exploring His Life and Times, 1483-1546, by Helmar Jughans (CD-ROM)
Written biographies of Martin Luther abound, but only one multimedia, hypertext CD-ROM attempts the tale. As a Luther scholar and sometime software designer, I find this production's media more interesting than its message.
Americans suffer from a debilitating disease that deadens the senses and causes people to panic and hoard. Persons of faith aren't immune to it. The disease is "affluenza" and one of its key symptoms is greed.