Reading yesterday a story about Americans over 60 yrs of age smuggling guns into Canada. The Border Service Agency (CBSA) reports a high number of weapons seized at the border upon inspection from American tourists over the age of 60. Many will foolishly deny having a gun or guns in the car or RV, when it is discovered it is confiscated and the fine is $2000. Not a good way to start a vacation in the peaceful kingdom to the North.  CBSA agents will look into your glove compartment and under the car seat obviously or in a locked cabinet or safe in your RV. If you are over 60 you fit the profile of a possible holder of a weapon. What is worse most weapons seized are in the prohibited category. In Canada guns are not allowed and if you want to have one, it is complicated and the process is long, with permits and fees etc. Many weapons outside of the hunting rifle are just not allowed. So why would golden agers from the USA bring prohibited weapons with them? That is a mystery.

So this is Old Home Week in Charlottetown. Meaning harness racing at the Hippodrome and lots of festivities including the famous parade, which I love, it is better than Macy’s. Last night we participated in an event which comes under the Art in the Open Festival, we went to Victoria Park to learn to sing in a choir. It’s a lot more work than I imagined in the first place. With the help of Jill from Playing with Choir and Chad from Holland College, our little group practice an old favourite preparing and performing a rendition of Gene MacLellan’s Put Your Hand in the Hand.

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Yes we are in the front line of this little video by the CBC Kevin Yarr. Will is wearing a famous creation shirt by Michael Rockwell of Arizona. https://sporeflections.wordpress.com  all his creations are commissions only for friends or celebrities.

On another topic at the moment I am reading a book on Kindle, most of the books I read now are on Kindle about this all around fun guy Martin Luther, well not really. The year 2017 marks the 500 anniversary of the Reformation. Luther was not the first Reformer there were lots of others but he is probably the best remembered and he did not end up being burned alive by the Roman Catholic Church. I think ISIS learned a few things from the RC Church on how to deal with opposition.

The book is by Lyndal Roper writing about his life and origin and the Lutheran Reformation in Germany. Roper gives a very good picture of who Martin Luther was and where he came from, his family, his parents, his upbringing, his education. The name Luther was not is actual original family name, he changed it from Luder.

He was an opinionated prig, he thought very highly of himself and he was a highly educated man, studied in the best school of his time and became a Augustinian Monk working in many monasteries and having a talent for administration before breaking with Rome over the whole indulgence buying and selling scandal. He translated the Bible into German which made him famous and at one point was the most published author in all German speaking lands. His appeal with the German Princes who protected him had to do with the political option he presented of breaking with Rome. The Princes were more than a little fed up with the Pope and wanted to rule without interference. Luther was a good excuse, the whole thing about his reforming thesis was an argument that could be used to clobber the Pope and avoid Church taxes which were not light. With the masses who did not speak Latin nor Greek, the languages of the very highly educated elite, Luther gave them the opportunity to pray and speak to God in their own German tongue. Quite the revelation for the uneducated masses who had nothing but a life of hardship and misery.

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Luther also reveals himself in his writing to be anti-Semitic accusing any detractor and former friends and mentors to be like the Jews, a terrible slur at the time which haunts the Lutheran Church to this day because of the close association with Nazi ideology which exploited this aspect of Luther’s writings in their own persecution of the German Catholic Church. Luther was a political animal and understood how to exploit a situation to his advantage, he became the champion of all things German denigrating all things Foreign. He was careful to not upset the powerful banking elite and who could protect him. He also introduced the idea that common people could communicate during mass with bread and wine, a privilege reserve for the Catholic Clergy only. He claimed that since Christ had introduced the concept as one of Salvation addressing himself to all, then Christ must have meant all the believers. The Pope did not see it that way, this was an attack on privilege an authority. Only with Vatican II in 1963 did the Catholic Church adopt the practice. Luther also attacked the whole concept of a Priestly cast which is an invention of the Catholic Church after the 6th century.

Luther was a complicated man for sure and one that has to be seen in the context of the time he lived in 1483 – 1546, the end of the Renaissance and the beginning of the Baroque era, the age of Princes.

As a next book on my list I am now thinking of re-reading the book on Berlin which is a history of the city from its founding in 1237 to 1989. Giles Macdonough wrote it in 1997, a great book about a great city. There should be a sequel now to the history of Berlin, the city has changed so much for the better, returning to its Enlightenment Roots of the 18th century at least in its image of itself.

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The wonderful park of Tiergarten in the centre of the city which leads to the formal entrance to the City the Brandenburg Gate. This great park was once the hunting domain of the Princes of Brandenburg. This is what I love about Berlin, its magnificent parks, numerous lakes, not to mention its many concert and opera venues, art galleries, truly Berlin is a city of Culture. Elegant shopping and great restaurants. This view is from the top of the Seigessäule (Victory) Column, c.1864.

 

 

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