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You Are Here: Updates > Two Martins’ Days at Augsburg College
Nov
15

Two Martins’ Days at Augsburg College

It has been a whirl­wind here and, strangely enough, harder to keep up with the blog than when we were walk­ing all day… I sup­pose because our daily tasks have more vari­ety than the pil­grim­age rhythm of walk, eat, write, sleep, and walk again.

We had a won­der­ful time at Augs­burg Col­lege in Min­neapo­lis dur­ing our visit for their Founders Day lec­tures, a series started a few years ago focus­ing on Ref­or­ma­tion the­ol­ogy as a way of empha­siz­ing Augsburg’s iden­tity as a Lutheran col­lege. The lec­tures were sched­uled for the 10th and 11th of Novem­ber, and not by coin­ci­dence: the 10th was Mar­tin Luther’s birth­day (527 years ago) and 11th is the feast day of St. Mar­tin of Tours, the sol­dier who shared his cloak with a beg­gar and also gave his name to the infant Luther bap­tized the day after his birth.

We were inter­ested to learn, inci­den­tally, that Augs­burg is the biggest of the ELCA col­leges and set in the most urban loca­tion of any of them. While it may not have the loveli­est cam­pus (though it does have exten­sion cam­puses in Wind­hoek, Namibia and Cuer­navaca, Mexico—how cool is that?!), it def­i­nitely impressed us as a vital place with lots of cool stuff hap­pen­ing all the time, and it’s turned its urban loca­tion into an asset as well as a mission.

So, last Wednes­day night Andrew gave his talk enti­tled “Pome­gran­ates, Passes, and Popes: A Kinetic View of Luther’s Pil­grim­age to Rome,” fan­tas­ti­cally illus­trated by pro­jec­tions of his pho­tos along the way. The Augs­burg crew is going to work on pro­duc­ing a video that inte­grates Andrew’s talk­ing with the slides going on behind him, so as soon as that’s done and on the Augs­burg site we’ll get a link up for you to watch.

If you’re dying of curios­ity, in the mean­while, what pome­gran­ates have to do with any­thing, they’re actu­ally the sole evi­dence that Luther’s trip took place in the fall of 1510 rather than the spring or sum­mer of 1511. (The prob­lem in the Augus­tin­ian order didn’t arise until late Sep­tem­ber 1510, and Luther was per­ma­nently trans­ferred to Wit­ten­berg in fall 1511, so those are the brack­ets on the pos­si­ble dates.) While trav­el­ing through the Po val­ley in Italy, Luther reported that he and his com­pan­ion got a ter­ri­ble fever—probably malaria—from leav­ing the win­dows open at night, and they were cured by that mirac­u­lous fruit of ancient leg­end, the pome­gran­ate. Back in the days before freez­ers and banana republics, pome­gran­ates were only in sea­son and avail­able for con­sump­tion in the fall: hence the dat­ing of Luther’s trip. We did notice lots of pome­gran­ate trees with fruit a-ripening dur­ing our Octo­ber pas­sage through Italy, though we never had to test them as a malaria cure.

Thurs­day morn­ing I gave my pre­sen­ta­tion, “What Has Erfurt to Do with Rome? Ecu­menism as a Pil­grim­age.” It did not, I regret to say, include any slides, but it should also be on video soon, and we’ll also paste in the link if you’d like to watch it. After­wards they had a very nice lun­cheon for us, and then we vis­ited our friend Hans Wiersma’s class on mar­riage and fam­ily. I sup­pose the stu­dents were curi­ous how a cou­ple could walk a thou­sand miles and still be mar­ried to each other! (Actu­ally, a num­ber of peo­ple gen­tly inquired how our mar­riage was managing—we are happy to say it was never in the slight­est peril.)

We had a lit­tle down time then with family—both of Andrew’s broth­ers and their fam­i­lies, plus Roger and Ginny back to nor­mal, non-claustrophic exis­tence in their house post-camper—and this morn­ing very bright and early we hopped our next plane down to North Car­olina to visit my alma mater, Lenoir-Rhyne in Hick­ory, as the “The­olo­gians in Res­i­dence” for the week. (We are hon­ored and not a lit­tle awed to be fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Eric Gritsch and Robert Jen­son who were the The­olo­gians in Res­i­dence the last two years.) More news on that soon!

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One Response to Two Martins’ Days at Augsburg College

    Dee Fisher says:

    I would love to see/hear both your pre­sen­ta­tions online. I avidly fol­lowed your walk from about Sep­tem­ber on. Our pas­tor let the con­gre­ga­tion know about what you were doing, and, per­son­ally, I found it fas­ci­nat­ing to read how it is to walk like you did in mod­ern Europe.

    As for mar­riages last­ing 24/7 con­tact, my hus­band and I spent a month last sum­mer jour­ney­ing all over the Amer­i­can West, and I am happy to say that not only did our mar­riage sur­vive, we are eager to do a sim­i­lar trip again. It pays to marry your best friend, and we both did that.

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