Reflections on Wittenberg

In a country with so many elaborate churches, why do you think religion has lost its importance and does not appeal to people like it used to? Do you think this could happen to America in the future? Why or why not?

It is hard to see how a country with so many beautiful church structures and the cradle of the Reformation could have grown so cold with regards to their faith. Many people were so passionate about their faith that they were burned at the stake and died because they wanted to read their Bibles in their own homes. However, now I would say that religion has lost its much of its importance in Germany and all of Europe because the people are moving farther and farther away from God. Also, secular teaching for several generations that separate the secular and the sacred make it easier for people to put religion in a box they don’t have to think about unless they want or need to. Viewing churches just as architectural and artistic masterpieces without the acknowledgment that they were built that way as an act of worship also helps make religion very cold. Continue reading “Reflections on Wittenberg”

What’s it like?

The food here is amazing. “Bayerisches Schmankerl,” a Bavarian dish, was offered at a traditional German restaurant. Notice how it was served on a wood plate or platter. It included a kind of Bavarian meatloaf that does not taste at all like American meat loaf, 3 Numberg-style sausages and one regensburg-style sausage. The Numberg-style sausages have a lot of flavor as they are typically spiced with ginger, nutmeg, chilies and cloves. What is interesting about the Regensburg sausages is that supposedly they are made like a restaurant in Regensburg, Germany makes them that has been open since around 1135 AD. I don’t know if this is really true, but it is an interesting possibility. The meal also included fried potato slices, and sauerkraut in the front. This has so far been my favorite meal here. Continue reading “What’s it like?”

Köln Cathedral

Let me start by saying that I have attended many types of worship services. I went to a conservative Lutheran Church until I was 7. I have worshiped in several different countries, seen charismatic and high liturgical services but no church service or mass that I have ever attended was as amazing as the mass we attended at the Köln Cathedral. By saying this I do not mean the content of the service was amazing as I only understood parts of it, but the grandeur of the service itself was overwhelming. The service involved almost every sense from smell with the incense to sight with how the Cathedral was beautiful and absolutely colossal. It’s a form of worship all by itself. The service was quite different from my home church. My home church is in the inner city on the west side of Chicago. It’s very diverse and much smaller than the Cathedral, not to mention the difference in language, content, worship music and tone of the service – people shout out in our services and that wouldn’t happen in the reverent Catholic mass.

Continue reading “Köln Cathedral”

Wittenberg: The Land that Time Forgot?

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I think it is quite unfortunate that Wittenberg is not a more popular city among the tourists. It’s the hometown of Martin Luther, the man who single-handedly sparked the Protestant Reformation! Not only did the Reformation reshape realign religion as we know it, but some say that the Reformation cleared a path for the Scientific Revolution! Now I’m not saying that Luther invented the Smart Phone, Continue reading “Wittenberg: The Land that Time Forgot?”

Der Kölner Dom

Throughout this trip, we have worshiped in some impressive churches and climbed some very high bell towers. But non of them compared to the Kölner Dom (Cathedral). As we approached the city of Köln by train, it was the one thing that stood out. It towered over the rest of the building and made them look small. The Kölner Dom stands at 157m (515ft), which is absolutely massive

The Kölner Dom
For reference, this is the piece at the tip of each spire.

Worshiping in the Cathedral was quite cool experience. We attended Catholic high mass which included burning incense and singing songs I didn’t know the words to. The accustics were great; the organ sounded so full and chilling.

After the service we were able to climb all 533 steps (I didn’t count, there was a sign) of a spiral staircase to a platform at the base of the spire 100m (330ft) high. The view from the top was amazing, because you could see the whole city. The details at the top of the cathedral were simply mesmerizing. It looked like there was so much thought put in to every statue and design. The cathedral was completed in 1880, when we had at least mostly modern construction methods, but it was hard to imagine how they planned on completing this giant when work began in 1248.

The Kölner Dom has been my favorite cathedral that I have visited.

The Stories of Individual People

Visiting the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp was a crazy experience. I have always felt so removed from the events that occurred during the holocaust so it is hard to actually understand the day to day struggles that people went through. I think something that the museum designers did really well was tell the story of so many individual people. Continue reading “The Stories of Individual People”