Author: Steve (page 1 of 2)

Luther Books!

I am going to be adding, periodically, some of the books I have found helpful in preparing the program.  First up, Luther, Man Between God and the Devil.  Not an easy read, but deep and insightful.

Luther: Man Between God and the Devil y First edition by Oberman, Heiko A. (2006) Paperback


Episode 26: Breakthrough!



Cloaca Tower at the Wittenberg Monastery

No Way!  Way!  Finally, a New Episode!

My apologies that it has been too long between episodes.  I explain a bit in the preface to the show.

With 1517 looming, we start to get more first person and contemporary accounts of Doctor Martin.  In this episode, then,  we start learning more about the real Martin Luther; more about the man himself.  Then we look at his breakthrough in theology in the so-called “tower experience”,  as we position to look at the 95 Theses in the next program.

Happy New Year & Happy Listening!!


The new “Studio”!

Episode 25: The Augustinian Administrator

In this episode, we return to the life of Martin Luther, with a recap of where we have been in his life up to now, learn about the city of Wittenberg, and discuss Martin’s rise in the Augustinian order.

Today happens to be the 500th Anniversary of the Martin’s posting of the 95 Theses in Wittenberg.   Happy Anniversary Martin!

Episode 24: Papa Don’t Preach; The History of the Papacy Part 5

Finally, the end of the survey of the Papacy! This time we look at the more notorious popes during the Renaissance.  Sixtus IV, Innocent VIII, Alexander VI, Julius II, and Leo X.  Spoiler alert for upcoming episodes: Leo will be the pope who eventually faces off with Luther.

Happy Listening!!


Episode 23 Papa was a Rolling Stone, The History of the Papacy Part 4


On this episode we discuss the move of the Papacy to Avignon, and then the Great Papal Schism.  These seismic events will have far reaching effects on to Papacy, and the rise of the Renaissance popes.

Happy Listening!

Episode 22: The Monarchs and The Papas; the History of the Papacy Part 3

This time, we will look at some of the popes and events which shaped the papacy’s up and down status with monarchs throughout Europe.  Old friends Charles “The Hammer”, Pepin the Short, Charlemagne, Otto the Great, and Henry IV are sometimes allies and sometimes foes of popes such as Hadrian I, Stephen II, Leo III and Gregory VII.


Happy Listening!

(The Donation of Constantine)

Episode 21: Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag- The History of the Papacy Part 2

In this episode, we explore how the bishop of Rome came to speak for the catholic or universal church. Along the way we meet a few popes and a couple of barbarians.

Happy Listening!


Episode 20: Oh My Papa…The History of the Papacy Part 1


As we approach the posting of the 95 Theses in Luther’s story, it seems like a good idea to learn about the institution of the papacy itself.  This first part details the history of the beginning of the papacy, starting with the tradition that St. Peter was the first Bishop of Rome, and how we get from there in a straight line to what has been one of the oldest, if not the oldest continual institution in recorded history.

Happy Listening!


Episode 19: What’s Up Doc?

This time we will delve into Martin finishing his doctorate in theology, thereby earning the title Doctor Luther.

Along the way, we’ll explore the continued angst Luther claimed to have experienced which will eventually lead to other crossroads, including eventually a breakthrough of theological thought. The more we discover about Martin, the more we see the crossroads clearly marked out, but for him at least, the destination of the route is unknown, unsure.

Episode 18: Next Stop—-The Eternal City

Martin Luther takes a road trip to Rome, the Eternal City. He goes with high hopes, and leaves with a dose of realism.  Along the way, we discuss the legendary history of the founding of Rome by Romulus, the forgiveness of sins through indulgences, and climbing the true highway to heaven, the Scala Sancta.

Happy Listening!

Episode 17: The Life and Times Christmas & New Year’s Edition

Merry Christmas & Happy 2017!

In this special episode, we look at the history of why the birth of Jesus is celebrated in late December, the pagan holidays it usurped, and excerpts from two of Martin Luther’s Christmas sermons.

Happy Listening!




Episode 16: Meanwhile, Back in Erfurt…

Meanwhile, Back in Erfurt…

In this episode we are pivoting from Augustine, back to Martin Luther. There is a bit more history about the Augustinians in Erfurt, and then inner conflict in the Augustinian Order between the observant and conventual friars.  We are introduced to Martin’s mentor, Johannes von Staupitz, as Luther begins his studies on the way to receiving a doctorate in Theology.

Happy Listening!


Special Announcement! Happy Reformation and Exciting News about the Program

Happy 499th Anniversary of the Reformation!  

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, an Augustinian Friar and professor at the University of Wittenberg, allegedly nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church in Wittenberg.  Originally, Luther was attempting to challenge some practices of the Church, within the Church.  The responses by the Catholic hierarchy, however, eventually demanding that Dr. Luther recant and then branding him a heretic; set in motion the seismic societal movement we know as the Reformation.

Listen for exciting (and daunting) plans for the program!


Episode 15: Saints and Sinners: Augustine, the Wrap-up

Saints & Sinners: This time, we mop things up relative to Augustine, delving into his two major rhetorical and actual fights with the Donatists and the Pelagians. Augustine explores free will, predestination, and the nature of sin.  We then pivot to monastic life, and a brief history of the Augustinian Order.  Along the way there are the Christian persecutions from earlier during the Roman Empire’s Crisis during the Third Century, The Cyprian Plague, and a host of sinners and saints.

In the end, we are left with the question, were you predestined to download this program, or was it your free will?!?!  You decide!

Happy listening!


Episode 14: Barbarians at the Gates-Augustine of Hippo Part 3

Augustine goes from conversion to baptism as a Christian.  Shortly after he and Monica share the spiritual “Vision at Ostia”, Monica died.  After arrival in North Africa, tragedy strikes again as Augustine’s only son died.  After his mother and son were gone, Augustine became a priest, and then Bishop of Hippo.  Along the way, he became one of the most prolific writers and defenders of the faith of any age.  Happy Listening!

Episode 13 From Conversion to Confession; Augustine of Hippo Part 2

Episode 13: From Conversion to Confession, Augustine of Hippo Pt. 2  In this episode we follow Augustine of Hippo beginning his teaching career, his rising to prominence in Milan, to his conversion to Christianity.  And along the way he meets Bishop Ambrose of Milan.  Happy Listening!!

Episode 12: Give Me Chastity … Just Not Yet! Augustine of Hippo Part 1

Episode 12: Augustine of Hippo, Part 1

This time explore the namesake of the Augustinian Order, Augustine of Hippo. From his birth to his first time in Carthage, as he begins searching for wisdom.  On the way, we meet Monica, his devout Christian mother.  His life and scholarship had a profound effect on the Church, and his philosophies and writings are part of the story of the Reformation, over 1,000 years after his death to the time Luther posts the 95 Theses.


Happy Listening!!

Episode 11: Get Thee to a Monastery!

Episode 11!  In this episode we follow Martin Luther from his oath made at the thunderstorm to the gates of the Augustinian Order.  He leaves his prior life behind, and becomes an Augustinian friar.  Luther celebrates his first mass as an ordained priest, and tries to reconcile with his father.  Unfortunately, the reconciliation turns into an uncomfortable moment.

Life Gets in the Way: Travel in Early 2016

Life Gets in the Way Travel 2016

In the first few weeks of the life of the podcast, I was able to crank out an episode a week.  Then came work travel and personal travel and a home building project, and more difficult subject matter, and things slowed to a crawl.

Life has been very good, though.  And these are all wonderful “problems” to have, and I truly feel blessed to have had an incredible 2016 thus far.  I thought I would share a little bit about the travel thus far, and some pictures of where I have been.

January meant travel to several cities in Texas, finishing in San Antonio, the home of the Alamo.  While I had been to San Antonio several times, each time I was thwarted in attempts to visit the symbol of the tenacious Texas spirit, a symbol of American stubborn defiance.  Finally, on this trip, I made sure I stayed at the hotel right across the street from the Texas Shrine.  After dinner, I walked by the iconoclastic edifice at night, formulating my plan for the morning.  Like a child the night before Christmas, I couldn’t sleep.  Early the next day, I was in line, and have to admit that I may actually have been the first in line when it opened.





Next was the trip to Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia.  I found myself on the road on Ash Wednesday, so although not at my home church, I found a beautiful church in downtown Savannah which made me feel welcomed.  You might recall from one of the episodes, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension is celebrating their 275th anniversary this year.  Amazing to me; they started closer in time to Luther, than 2016 is to 1741.


Next came Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.  On that trip, taking the backroads from Tucson to Phoenix, I happened upon Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.  Built by desert inhabitants, this site likely dates to approximately 1350 A.D.

IMG_5134 IMG_5108 IMG_5127 IMG_5123


There were many other trips, including a purely personal trip golfing with friends in North Carolina.  On one day, at Oyster Bay G.C., we had gallery of sorts.  We lost count at 12, but we were greeted by several alligators of varying sizes.  The largest was estimated at about 12 feet.  Although, I must admit, we really didn’t try to measure specifically!  I did get about 20 yards from this whopping specimen.  My ball had gotten close, and I went to hit the ball.  Somehow, I couldn’t get the idea of the proximity out of my head, and hit the ball into the water.  (I didn’t take a penalty on that hole!)


There was travel to Connecticut and Philly.  New York City and Washington D.C.  Montgomery AL and Nashville.


The the Las Vegas & Idaho trip was next; a mixture business and fun.   My wife had a business trip to Las Vegas, and for once, I was the spouse.  Initially a very cool idea.  Since Vegas is three hours behind my home office, I could get up at 3:30 or 4:00 every day, and get a lot of work done by noon Pacific Time.  I was going to work early every morning, which with the era of the internet and laptops made that a very doable idea.


Then came detour one.  As we were leaving I placed our luggage in the trunk of my trusty Ford.  It was just starting to rain, but got everything in.  Whew.  Then I backed, and suddenly an odd and unusual scratching sound.  MMmmmm…. What could that…Oh, no…  I leaped out, and realized that my briefcase hadn’t made it into the trunk.  My once used but good looking bag, was scratched and a bit mauled.  Suddenly the thought: my laptop…  And the inspection proved what I feared; the once shinny HP work laptop was in pieces.  Luckily my iPad was undamaged, so at the very least, I could do my work from Vegas.


Then detour two, this one I knew about going in.  Colleagues had seminars in Idaho and Montana planned for the same time I was to be in Vegas.  At one point, it became apparent that one more was needed for the Idaho portion of the trip.  No problem, I could get there; I’d drive the eight hours from Vegas to Twin Falls Idaho.  I’d see some really cool landscape; I had never driven that way before.  My plan was simple.  Pick up a rental car at the Las Vegas Airport, drop Ellen off in our hotel room at Caesars Palace, and head part of the way to Idaho.


My initial plan was to drive four or five hours, stop midway, and get a few hours of shut-eye.   Get up early, and make it the rest of the way.  At one point I realized, though, that there were not a lot of stops between Las Vegas and Twin Falls Idaho.  About half way, I decided there wasn’t a lot in Ely NV, filled up the gas tank, and continued.  A good thing I did.  A few miles outside Ely is the sign “Next Gas 124 Miles.”  I realized I was in for the long haul.  Eventually, I pulled into Twin Falls at 4:30 a.m.  There were no rooms at the hotel we were having the seminar, but a kind Tiffany at the Holiday Inn Express was kind enough to sell a room, and I got a couple of hours of sleep.


Later that evening, I was back to Las Vegas, this time flying from Twin Falls instead of the long drive.  No missteps there, just a much longer and darker trip than I had originally planned.


On the trip I was able to make my way on my own to Zion National Park.  A beautiful testament to the wild and rocky west.  The week in the west really all turned out well.  Good work.  Good food.  Good times visiting some friends from home who have a condominium in Las Vegas.  Jeff and Susanne were especially gracious.  We went home, tired in a good way.  A wonderful trip really.


Overall, this trip kind of proves the point though that it has been an unusually busy spring.  The week before Vegas I had been in Alabama and Tennessee.  As such, in two weeks I had lived in all four U.S. time zones.    I don’t know how our American presidential candidates do it, going from venue to venue in different states, and several time zones in one day, for months on end.  Proves they must be a little insane.


Whew, I am glad just to be home, and to get a chance to settle in and do my research and writing for the Life and Times.


Now back to the next episode!

Happy Listening!



Episode 10: Luther at a Crossroads: Mortality in the Middle Ages

Episode 10: Luther at a Crossroads-Mortality in the Middle Ages. We look at the Middle Ages, The Black Death (The Plague), and mortality in the Middle Ages.

Episode 9: Between Reason and Faith

Episode 9 is here! In this program we look at the methods of learning and the study of theology Luther would have been exposed to during his time at the University of Erfurt while working toward his Bachelors and Masters degrees.   Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Scholasticism, Nominalism and Humanism.  All parts of the university experience at the time.

Episode 8: The University of Erfurt

This time we begin a brief overview of Martin Luther’s time at the University of Erfurt.  This is a shorter episode due to some time constraints, but the next episode will be back to the regular length you’ve grown accustomed to!  Net time we’ll look at the different philosophies which impacted Martin’s learning at Erfurt.

Happy Listening!!

Episode 7: The Early Years-Alternative vs. Real History

Episode 7!

On this program, we begin discussing the what we know about Luther’s early days.  As before, there are some facts we know, a fair amount conjecture, and frankly a whole lot of myth.  This early life has been the debate of various biographers through the centuries.  There have been quite a bit of early missteps, which have gotten replicated over and over again, and as such, it is sort of like the “phone game” with bad facts.  Essentially, the data was wrong to begin with, and this bad fact got repeated over and over again, until some wrong facts became the staple of some of these earnest biographers.  Then there is a trend in the 20th century to psychoanalyze Luther on the therapists’ couch from 400+ years away and without being able to interview the patient.

At first, some of the errant stories are strung together to generate an alternative history.  Then we rewind, and discuss what is known about the real history, and then discuss the viability of the psychoanalysis so far from the time and without a great deal of the actual facts.

Please remember to go to the website: and sign up for the free newsletter!

Happy listening!




New & Noteworthy!

Here’s proof:

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 8.12.55 AM


Thanks for promoting the program!  Being on New and Noteworthy helps more and more people find the program.  Please keep reviews, ratings coming, and please subscribe to the program so you can get the program when they are published.

Episode 6: Saxony

Episode 6: Saxony

This time we turn to Saxony, the place of Martin Luther’s birth.  This episode delves into an understanding of the who, the where and the what of Saxons and Saxony.  We meet Saxon leaders: Widukind, Henry the Fowler and Frederick  the Wise.

THANKS to you all!  The show has been featured in iTunes “New & Noteworthy” for history podcasts!  Please leave ratings, reviews and sign up to subscribe; it all helps others find the show.

PLUS:  Sign up for the free newsletter at the website: to be part of building a community around the program.

Episode 5: The Holy Roman Empire (Part 3)

LTML Cover Art


On this episode, we’ll finish our survey of the Holy Roman Empire, taking us to the time of Luther. This will include the formalization of the Prince Electors, and then the rise of the final dynasty of the Empire, and the dynasty with the most longevity, the Habsburgs.   The episode ends with the death of Maximilian I in 1519.

Thanks for downloading; Happy Listening!!

Otto I, Henry IV & Gregory VII

This week we meet Holy Roman Emperors Otto the Great & Henry IV.

361px-Alter_Markt_(Magdeburg-Altstadt).Magdeburger_Reiter_edit                     Henry IV

Otto the Great                                              Henry IV


and Pope, Gregory VII


gregory VII in effigy salerno

Gregory VII in wax effigy in Salerno


Episode 4: The Holy Roman Empire (Part 2)


This time we’ll pick up with the sunset of Charlemagne’s reign, the demise of Carolingian dynasty and the rise of several other dynastic families, including Otto “The Great” who is crowned Holy Roman Emperor.  Later, there is increasing tension between  civil authority and the papacy,  which sets off the “Investiture Controversy” between Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII.

Thanks for downloading and listening!!



Episode 3: The Holy Roman Empire (Part 1)

Hello!  Sorry it took a bit longer to get this one out.  But here it is:

Episode 3: The Holy Roman Empire (Part 1)

In this episode we leave Martin Luther after his birth in 1483, and go back to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West, the rise of the Frankish Kings, culminating with the coronation of Charlemagne, the father of Europe.

Hope you enjoy, and please feel free to email me with any comments at:, or leave a comment here.

Thanks for listening!

Johann “Hans” Luder & Margarethe “Hanna” Luder

Johann LutherMararethe Luther

Older posts