Given that I was producing a TV show primarily for secular media (to be broadcast on public television), I couldn't simply end with a theological high-five and say, "Hooray! But I was determined that this project would have a much broader audience — and, I think, an audience that would gain more from our work than simply preaching to our Lutheran choir.
I'm really thankful that a DVD of "Rick Steves' Luther and the Reformation" will be sent to each ELCA congregation, and that it will air across our country as we raise awareness of the importance of 1517 in 2017.
To me, it's a kind of stewardship not to waste such opportunities when they present themselves.
And, considering that, this project was a gift from heaven. I hit it off with ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton when I first met her, and I knew I'd have her support in this undertaking. I'm really thankful this has come together and pleased that virtually every public television station in the country will air our work several times. " when covering something as tumultuous as the Protestant Reformation and the horrific period of wars it ignited.
These days there are many "Christian voices" in our public who don't speak for me and whose values don't match my Christian values.
As much as giving their agendas a voice distorts the general secular view of our American Christian community, I hope this documentary helps balance that by illustrating — in a viewable and accessible way — the reasons why we as Lutherans are proud of our progressive Christian values and how they are rooted in our Reformation heritage.Sharing it at home with friends and family explains things we feel and believe that we may have had a tough time verbalizing.And sharing it as a congregation is like strengthening our roots with history that is still an inspiration.Rick visits key sites relating to the Reformation (including Erfurt, Wittenberg, and Rome) and explores the complicated political world of 16th-century Europe — from indulgences to iconoclasts, and from the printing press to the Counter-Reformation.It's a story of power, rebellion, and faith that you'll never forget.Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther kicked off the Protestant Reformation, which contributed to the birth of our modern age.In this one-hour special — filmed on location in Europe — Rick Steves tells the story of a humble monk who lived a dramatic life.One of the more powerful passages from the special is when you summarize the events by calling it a story of progress, and how it's with great struggle that societies earn freedom as they evolve. I happen to be an enthusiast of the advent of humanism, the Renaissance, and the Reformation.I'm equally inspired by the –style heroics of French Revolutionaries and the civil liberties struggles of our time.Did your approach to this special differ in any notable ways from how you typically create your shows?My regular shows are 30-minute episodes simply featuring a particular travel destination. It's weightier in subject matter, more delicate in things to consider (being a strong witness in secular media without proselytizing), and tougher to make easy to view (as there is no action and the script is much harder to "cover" with images).