Monday, January 30, 2017

Rebels with a cause

Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk

     She had me at Runaway Nun. The daughter of a Baptist minister, I can relate to wanting to run away from the convent of legalism toward a promise of freedom from ‘habit.’

     I joined the “Katharina and Martin Luther” book launch project because, first of all, I find Michelle DeRusha’s blog a breath of fresh air. Also, I love history, and this year is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting the Ninety-five Theses to the doors of the church. The combination of history, great writing, and a little-known story about a marriage between a runaway nun and a renegade monk caught me hook, line, and sinker.


     Katharina von Bora did not choose to be a nun. Her father chose this path for her after the death of his wife and her mother. She embraced the life for many years because options for women were few, especially for a woman who had never known anything but convent life as a school girl and young lady.

     Martin Luther chose to be a monk out of fear of not fulfilling a vow he made during a terrible storm. He left a promising path in life as an educated man, perhaps even a career as a lawyer and his father was furious. He became a model monk, sometimes confessing his sins for six hours straight.

     Both Katharina and Martin made vows and followed them to the best of their ability in humble service to God. But God began to stir their hearts. Martin’s extensive study of scripture made him begin to question the tactics of the Roman Catholic Church. Those questions led to the day he nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the Castle Doors of Wittenburg Church.

     His revolutionary ‘grace not works’ theology found its way behind the cloister doors where Katharina hid behind her habit and the rituals of the convent. God was stirring her heart as well. Through doors only God could have opened, she made her escape from the convent with the help of Martin, a man who didn’t even know her name.

     I think it is quite telling of God’s providence that their story together begins on Easter Eve, the night of her escape, because Easter is a time of resurrection and new life. As you will read in Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk, this husband and wife team will change the face of marriage for all time.

     I encourage you to read it and share it with friends. It would be a great book club choice because a love story that features rebelling against legalism in the church is fodder for many conversations. DeRusha’s book launches Jan. 31 and can be purchased wherever books are sold. Please follow Michelle’s blog at