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The HINGE International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church

The 2011 Moses Lectures Instructions for Body and Soul: 18th Century Moravian Care of the Self Notes from the Editors..........................................1

Katherine Faull....................................................3 Responses Jeff Coppage...............................................................29 Truman L. Dunn......................................................31 Judy Knopf................................................................33 Jane Williams ...........................................................34

The Author Responds..........................................37 Book Review............................................................38 Letters to the Editor.............................................42

Vol. 18, No. 2: Spring 2012

The HINGE Volume 18, Number 1: Fall 2011 The Hinge is a forum for theological discussion in the Moravian Church. Views and opinions expressed in articles published in The Hinge are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board or the official positions of the Moravian Church and its agencies. You are welcome to submit letters and articles for consideration for publication. One of the early offices of the Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pa. was that of the Hinge: The office of the Hinge requires that the brother who holds it look after everything and bring troublesome factors within the congregation into mutual accord without their first having to be taken up publicly in the congregation council. — September 1742, The Bethlehem Diary, vol. 1, tr. by Kenneth Hamilton, p. 80. The Hinge journal is intended also to be a mainspring in the life of the contemporary Moravian Church, causing us to move, think, and grow. Above all, it is to open doors in our church. The Hinge is published with the assistance of the Center for Moravian Studies of Moravian Theological Seminary, 1200 Main St. Bethlehem, PA 18018, and all rights are reserved. Recent issues of The Hinge may be found at www. Articles in The Hinge may not be republished or posted on the Internet without the express permission of the author and the editor of The Hinge. Articles may be duplicated according to “Fair Use” rules, which allow for discussion in church classes and similar forums. The hinge illustration was provided by Todd Tyson of Kernersville, NC. Cover design was provided by Colleen Marsh of Bethlehem, PA.

The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church


Notes from the Editors The well-attended Moses Lectures by Katherine Faull on October 13, 2011, offered the community and friends of Moravian Theological Seminary a deeper look into one of the most distinctive features of 18th century Moravian life: the choir system that grouped members of the community by age, gender, and marital status. Today’s Moravians know the system mostly through its artifacts—some stillstanding choir houses, some colored ribbons on caps worn by museum docents. Our cozy familiarity with these artifacts risks obscuring the highly radical nature of the choir system, especially as practiced in Bethlehem, where the system was more fully developed than in any other Moravian community. Not only single brothers and sisters, but husbands, wives, and children all lived in separate choir housing; for some twenty years (1742–1762), the so-called nuclear family, which many today uphold as a societal norm, did not exist in Bethlehem. The Bethlehem Brüdergemeine would have taken no part in today’s cultural debates on “family values.” The values of the Brüdergemeine had a different focus. They were deeply held spiritual values based on an understanding that Jesus’ humanity had sanctified every aspect of our own. Zinzendorf grafted this understanding onto his enthusiasm for the Pietistic “ecclesiolae in ecclesia” (churches-within-a-church—what today we would recognize as “small groups” in a church setting) to create a system designed to support intense spiritual focus on every stage of life. In their choirs, men, women, and children had continuous opportunity for worship, religious study, and deep conversations about a relationship with Christ that grew and changed as they grew and changed themselves. In her Moses Lectures, Katherine Faull helps us to share in those deep conversations—the “speakings” (sprechen) in which members of the Gemeine opened hearts and souls to their choir helpers. Through Faull’s research and translations we hear the voices of men and women of the Bethlehem community, who in their memoirs described their spiritual struggles and the care they received from their choir helpers in the speakings. Faull also looks closely at the Instructions compiled for the choir helpers, in which she finds evidence of a highly developed system of pastoral care that would not be unfamiliar to today’s pastoral counselors. It is a remarkable history, but not an uncomplicated one. The Instructions made it plain that matters of the soul were inextricably connected with those of the body, and both soul and body were subjects of the speakings. What was it like for an anxious teenager or a newly married man or woman to discuss the most intimate matters with a choir helper? Certainly in some ways, the Instructions push hard against modern notions of privacy. We might well marvel at the apparent sophistication of the early Moravians’ pastoral care; at the same time, in some ways our ancestors’ practices are as radical today as they were in the 18th century. Few of us today would hold family ties so loosely; at the same time, in our intimate conversations we might expect tighter boundaries.


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

In these Moses Lectures readers (like the respondents in these pages) will likely find much to admire and, at the same time, much to question about the Bethlehem Gemeine and its pastoral practices. Certainly we can all appreciate the depth of Faull’s research and her generosity in sharing it with today’s Moravians in this issue of The Hinge. Does Faull’s research have implications for the 21st century Moravian Church? Could recognizing and reclaiming our history of pastoral care bring new life into our denomination? Stay tuned for the next issue of The Hinge, in which Lanie Graf, assistant archivist of the Northern Province, proposes “Ideas for a 21st Century Choir System.”

Young Moravian Girl. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church

The 2011 Moses Lectures Instructions for Body and Soul: 18th Century Moravian Care of the Self Katherine Faull Thank you for the invitation to deliver this year’s Moses Lectures. It is a great honor to address you, not least because my training is not in theology or the history of religion but in the rather old-fashioned sounding subject of philology, Germanic philology at that. And my path to the Moravians came not through my heritage but rather through the study of German Romanticism, in particular Friedrich von Hardenberg, better known as Novalis, and the theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher. Both of these influential thinkers were educated in the Moravian tradition, and in some of my work I have traced the influence this education had on their subsequent work, most clearly in their notions of the feminine and women and their concepts of community.1 What I am going to talk about today concerns both these topics, especially as they play a role in the praxis of Seelsorge, literally the “care of the soul,” in the Moravian church of the 18th century. In the first lecture I will outline the Moravian practice of pastoral care in that era, especially focusing on the monthly “speakings” that were held with each choir member prior to Holy Communion. I will discuss the origins of the speakings, their praxis within the church, the complexities of implementing a theology of sacralized personal life, and the reason for the cessation of the speakings in the early 19th century. In the second lecture I will focus on specific instances of the intersection of care for the body and soul within the Instructions, manuscript guidelines circulated to every congregation. I will focus especially on the sections of the Instructions that deal with puberty, marriage, marital relations, pregnancy, childbirth, the nursing of a child, bereavement, and the subsequent sublimation or redirection of sexual energy towards Christ. I will also discuss the contemporaneous Instructions to the Choir Helpers of Heathen Congregations, how European Moravians theorized the sexuality of non-Europeans, and how its perceived essential difference was “managed” by the choir helpers.

The Care of the Self

The 18th century in Europe, as in North America, might be called not only the age of enlightenment but also the age of self-enlightenment. As the middle class was exhorted to “sapere aude!” (dare to know!) by its philosophers, the direction of scrutiny was not

Katherine Faull is Professor of German and Humanities at Bucknell University.



The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

only pointed outward, to the world and its wonders, but also inward, to the self. And the Moravian Church was no exception to this movement of self-examination. Peter Vogt has argued that Pietism, the religion of subjective experience, stands seemingly in contrast to the demands of reason; but in fact Pietism could be seen as the precursor of Enlightenment, and especially Kantian, Kritik (criticism). How so? Given that Ludwig von Zinzendorf called on Moravians to be kopflos—headless—in their devotion to Christ, it might seem rather far-fetched to argue that radical Pietism could have given rise to the practice of Kritik that characterized the literature and philosophy of the later 18th century. But it is precisely this argument that I am going to undertake through an examination of the Moravian practice of Seelsorge and its resultant discourse.


One of the German tradition’s best known contributions to world literature is the genre of the Bildungsroman or novel of development, in which the hero (occasionally a heroine) takes the steps needed to move from dependence to independence, from immaturity (or Unmündigkeit) and childhood to maturity and adulthood. Following the path of the archetypal hero’s quest, the protagonist of the German Bildungsroman, most famously portrayed by the eponymous hero of Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship), passes through stages of self-discovery, each of which is recognized as necessary even if painful on the road to maturity. In the secularized “fiction of humanity,” as Michael Beddow has called it, the telos of this trajectory is full integration into bourgeois society (a far cry from the return of the hero to the world of mortals in the classical and mythological hero cycle). 2 The modern precursor to the Bildungsroman has long been identified in the Pietists’ process of self-scrutiny. For Zinzendorf ’s teachers, Philipp Jakob Spener and August Francke, this involved the Bußkampf, a struggle that ended in a sudden confession of sin and conversion to a life with Christ. The Moravians, more concerned with joy than with penance, saw this process more as a walk with God and Jesus than as a sudden “turning” or conversion. Hence the Moravian method of self-scrutiny and pastoral care is gentle and probing, leading the religious subject to revealing insights about the self and soul rather than forcing a confession. This more gradual process of self-discovery, I argue, belongs as much to the tradition of the Bildung as the confessionals of Francke; and Goethe clearly thought so too. In Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, he places the famous “Bekenntnisse einer schönen Seele” (Confessions of a Beautiful Soul) at the very center, a pivotal point of the novel. Long recognized as based on the Moravian Lebenslauf, and modeled on the figure of Goethe’s aunt Susanne von Klettenberg, the Bekenntnisse provide readers with what has been interpreted as a female model of Bildung or self-development to act as a foil to the male path of Wilhelm Meister. Whether meant as a positive dispositive or not, the Bekenntnisse represent one internalized route to a life with Jesus. But I would argue that Goethe’s “schöne Seele” offers readers one model of Moravian self-scrutiny.

The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church


But, the quiet, introspective existence of the “Stillen im Lande” (Quiet in the Land) needs to be juxtaposed with the lives of discovery and action, activity and service that the Moravian men and women enjoyed, especially those who lived in North America and the other mission communities around the world.

Conceiving of Life in Stages

As is well known, Moravian life in the 18th century was dominated by the organization of the choirs. Zinzendorf argued that men and women could best experience God’s grace when living together in community. In his Berliner Reden (1738) Zinzendorf stated quite clearly that “the difference in class, temperament, life, age all make an immediate difference to the way in which the individual serves the Savior.”3 Choirs were groups of Moravians who lived together in units based not on their degree of piety, but rather according to their gender, age, and marital status. The choir structure recognized that creation, redeemed by Christ, was blessed and that to maintain the natural order was the way best suited for the mutual development of piety. The choir system originated in Herrnhut in February 1728 when a group of unmarried men moved to their own dormitory in order to worship, live, and work together. In 1730, the unmarried women made a similar move and founded the first single sisters’ house. Eventually, there existed choirs of boys, girls, single men, single women, married men, married women, widows, and widowers—not all with their own house, however. This abundance of distinct groups of the faithful gave rise to a multiplicity of religious services as each group celebrated its own communion and pedilavium (footwashing). The choirs also instituted more informal forms of worship, such as the lovefeast, Singstunde (singing meeting), Chorviertelstunde (choir quarter hour), and cup of covenant. It was within the choirs that the spiritual counselor, known as the choir helper or sometimes as the “laborer” or “laboress,” spoke with the choir members about their “path through life.”

Thinking of Life Stages

In keeping with the notion of development or Bildung that would later form the pattern of experience in the fictional novel, Moravians in the 18th century recognized that one’s spiritual and physical needs were in keeping with one’s stage in life. With an almost shocking frankness, the conversations with the laborer or choir helper therefore had to recognize that the spiritual needs of a teenage boy or girl differed from those of a married man or woman, and again from those of a widower or widow. But in all these life stages, there is one underlying principle: Jesus’ humanity blesses our own. Jesus was born of woman; therefore the woman’s body is blessed and to be treated with respect, whether she is a teenage girl who has started to menstruate, a new bride who is to participate in marital relations for the first time, a new mother who needs her rest after giving birth and learning to nurse her child, or a widow who is


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

grieving the loss of her husband. Similarly, Jesus was made incarnate as a human male; he was circumcised, he felt the temptations of the flesh, he would have suffered “night emissions.” His incarnation sanctified male sexuality. He was the eternal Bridegroom of all Moravians, male and female, and single brothers were to look to him as a model of maleness and the object of desire. Married brothers were to conduct marital relations, sexual intercourse, as his viceroy, in his place. The manner in which this sacralization of the sexual was to be experienced was the topic of what were known as the speakings. It should be clear by now that in the Moravian church of the 18th century complete self-enlightenment was not to be achieved alone. This idea is in keeping with Michel Foucault’s description, in The History of Sexuality, of the shape a regimen of self-cultivation might take.4 Here Foucault points out that the care of the self necessitates not only time that is to be taken out of the business of the day and rather become the business of the day; it also requires company. Because, unlike the image of the solitary ascetic, tucked away in the woods or the tower, entering into the realm of self-examination, the modern pupil of the self needs an interlocutor. The examination of the self is a discursive process. “Taking care of oneself is not a rest cure,” argues Foucault. “There is the care of the body to consider, health regimens, physical exercises without overexertion, the carefully measured satisfaction of needs.” There are meditations, readings, and spiritual exercises. And then there are the conversations, “the talks one has with a confidant, with friends, with a guide or director. Add to this the correspondence in which one reveals the state of one’s soul, solicits advice, gives advice to anyone who needs it— which for that matter constitutes a beneficial exercise for the giver, who is called the preceptor, because he thereby reactualizes it for himself. Around the care of the self there developed an entire activity of speaking and writing in which the work of oneself on oneself and communication with others were linked together” (emphasis added). 5 Foucault provides us with the important insight that the care of the self is a “true social practice”6 in that it involves not only a formal structure of “professional” caregivers but also a network of friends, kinship, and mutual obligation or reciprocity. And in this self-relation manifestations of the maladies of the soul and body are intertwined: “in fact the focus of attention in these practices of the self is the point where the ills of the body and those of the soul can communicate with one another and exchange their distresses: where the bad habits of the soul can entail physical miseries, while the excesses of the body manifest and maintain the failings of the soul.”7 Within the 18th century Moravian Church, this social practice of speaking about the self ’s body and soul is fundamental to the creation of both a group and an individual identity. Speaking, investigating, questioning, relating the experiences of the body and the soul to a confidante constitute a central moment in Moravian lives.

The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church

The Speaking


From the very beginning of the Renewed Church—that is, from 1722 on— each member of the Gemeine participated in a monthly speaking or Sprechen prior to communion that was designed to invite the individual to reflect on his or her own path or Plan. Initially, according to historical accounts, Zinzendorf himself counseled the men and married couples in Herrnhut, and Anna Nitschmann counseled the single sisters. However, as the Gemeine grew and new congregations were formed around the world, the office of choir helper was established for the choirs of the single brothers, single sisters, married persons, and widows and widowers. This office holder was privy to the most intimate details of individuals’ lives: their spiritual and emotional state, their physical condition, and for the married persons, even their economic status or health. As a confidante the choir helper had to be a person of the highest integrity, with the ability to keep confidences and the discretion to avoid prying too deeply into the private emotions of individuals (doing so might cause resistance). He or she needed tact and a friendly and trustworthy demeanor that invited people to “open a window to the soul.” The earliest mention of the “speaking” is in Christian David’s Beschreibung und zuverlässige Nachricht von Herrnhut in der Oberlausitz of 1735. A brief mention of the “speakings” can also be found in Johann Martin Dober’s Verfassung der Herrnhutischen Mährischen Brüder-Gemeine, of 1733, where he states, “Before Communion Day all persons are accounted for by the Laborers examined, and their condition reported to the Pastor.”8 The speaking, as conceived, was the result of a process of close self-examination of the soul. In 1775, Spangenberg wrote, “It was observed incidenter that the speaking that takes place before communion should not be taken for the actual examination which actually should occur beforehand.”9 This notion is long lived in the Moravian community, as we find in the minutes of the Provincial Conference held with the “laborers” of the Moravian Church in Great Britain in 1795. The minutes record the explicit statement, “No communicant should imbibe the idea that self-examination is less necessary when there is speaking, or more, when there is none: because our conversation with our Savior can never be supplied by the activity of any human being.”10 In other words, self-examination is conducted with the Savior prior to the speaking, where the condition of the body and soul are inquired upon. The speakings are to be conducted in the following manner: If Brn and Srs come to Speak with their laborers, glad to have a bosom-friend, appointed by our Savior himself, with whom they are indebted to converse in a confidential manner, and desirous to obtain the aim of Speaking with their respective laborers: then none will have occasion to lament that the Speaking does not answer the purpose. This regulation in the Unity of the Brethren is both a privilege and a duty. And the whole Prov. Conference is so fully convinced of the essential blessings to be derived from it, that we resolved, that whoever neglects coming to the


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

Speaking (to be Spoken with) previous to the H. Communion without mentioning before the Communion some urgent (sufficient) reason for this neglect, is to be informed that he or she cannot be admitted to the Communion for that time.11 Despite both its prevalence and its importance for the spiritual life of the members of the Moravian Church, the speaking as a practice in Moravian pastoral care has hardly been discussed in the secondary literature. The only scholarly investigation in English of this particularly Moravian practice is a master’s thesis by George Lloyd from 1983, in which the author is primarily concerned with the reintroduction of the practice into today’s church.12 Lloyd is clearly an advocate of the practice of the speaking, even as he reveals the abuse of the practice in the mission field, where all too frequently it served primarily as a means to elicit money from communicants before they were allowed to take communion. In German, a recent study by Christine Lost on the Moravian memoir (or Lebenslauf) briefly discusses the practice of the speaking as Lost examines the role of communication in the Moravian Church.13 In her work on the role of education in the development of children in the Moravian Church, Lost describes Moravian pedagogical philosophy as imbued with a thoroughly holistic thinking about children. She identifies three distinguishing marks in Moravian methods of education: 1) the unifying idea of body, soul, and spirit; 2) the consideration of the developmental stages of each individual; and 3) an agreed-upon process of education within the Moravian community.14 Lost discusses the various means implemented in the community to bring children into fellowship with their peers to, among other things, provide the opportunity to record and also to hear autobiographical reflections in letters, memoirs, and diaries. According to Lost, these oral and written forms of communication came together with the gender-specific structures of the community, through the choir system, to underscore the Moravian notion that the human being is not divided into realms of mind/body/spirit, but rather is one. In addition to the letters, memoirs, and diaries identified by Lost, the speakings should be taken into consideration as an important form of communication within the Moravian communities and a crucial factor in the process of shaping conceptions of self, identity, and Christ’s presence in the world.

Moments of Crisis

What kind of moments would have been discussed in the speakings? What conditions of soul and body would have been deemed appropriate objects of study? From the memoirs of individual Moravians in the 18th century we can piece together some evidence that one form of crisis is the maintenance of belief. Perhaps exemplifying Foucault’s notion of the social nature of the care of the self, Brother Nicholas Lorenz Bage (1732–1789) consults and converses with multiple people as he goes through his Erweckung or awakening to the condition of his soul.

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He writes, One evening, as the schoolmaster was closing the school day with singing, the Holy Spirit awakened my heart and my pitiful state stood before me in such a lifelike way that I thought I must be lost. I cried a lot and could not stop.15 Unable to tell either the schoolmaster or his parents about what had happened to him, he asks his parents to leave him alone for a while, and he goes out into the fields. “They allowed me, and there I was able to talk to the Savior about all this, I gave myself up to Him completely, and told him that it was impossible for me to stay here and that I had to leave.” He finds comfort in the apprentice blacksmith who works for his parents, as he too has been awakened. “He took me everywhere and I poured out my whole heart to him.” In 1746, after his father has sold all his property to join the Moravians with his son, he is accepted into the Boys Choir in Herrnhut and trained as a nail smith. While in the Boys Choir he is taken into spiritual care by Brother Metschel, who interviews him about his life in the world. Once he has told Brother Metschel everything, he receives forgiveness with the words of the hymn “O You Precious, Worthy Bridegroom.” Valentin Führer (1724–1808), the later keeper of the inn on the Lehigh River and collector of bridge tolls, writes of his own spiritual crisis in 1747, a year after having been accepted into the Bethlehem congregation, in the following terms: For a long time I could not go to communion because of the confusion in my soul, because I always got stuck in my sorrow and sin. I complained to the Savior in tears, and He was so gracious and made it clear and certain to me in my heart, that He had done enough for me and gave me a bloody impression of his blood and wounds.16 Not only single men have visions of Christ and relate their spiritual distress. In the case of Anna Boehler, we see the same kind of spiritual paralysis, except that this crisis leads her to avoid her choir helper. She writes in her memoir: On March 25 of the same year I was accepted into the Great Girls’ Choir. During this time I strayed a great deal. I really just lived from day to day and forgot what the Savior had done for my heart during my childhood years. Yes, I thought that my having been born and raised in the Congregation was the clearest proof that I could not be lost. I was not wholly unaware of my bad condition but I tried with all my might to suppress this reminder. But the faithful Savior pursued me tirelessly and in my 17th year He gripped my heart so strongly that I became very frightened. I felt myself to be lost and damned, but at the same time He gave me a childlike trust in Him so that I could confidently believe that


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

He still had thoughts of peace about me and the door of grace still stood open for me; but it cost me much anxious pounding of the heart and hot tears to think about the time that I had spent in indifference, since in my childhood years I had already loved, tasted, and felt Him and now once again had to pray from the heart and sigh, “Oh, where do I find Jesus?”17 Anna Boehler does not seek help from her choir helper and therefore suffers greatly. It is not until she is in the single sisters’ choir that she explicitly refers to coming to confidence in her choir helper there, and seeing their honest relationship as a “blessing.”18 In her memoir, Rosina Brunner describes in vivid detail her crisis of faith during her years in the older girls’ choir. Brunner joins the congregation in Bethlehem at the age of 12 and enters into the single sisters’ house, not as a single sister, but as an older girl. She describes her initial path of faith as being made immeasurably more difficult by her shy and foolish nature. She writes: Often it would come to pass that I felt myself encouraged to empty out my heart before my choir helper and set out to go to her. But when I got to her door, I did not dare go in but rather turned around again. In this way I finally ended up being very confused. The choir house was too restricting for me; I did not like the sedentary way of life. I therefore decided, as soon as I was 18, without saying anything to anyone, to go to my most distant friends and separate myself from the congregation.19 However, before she carries out her intention, she considers suicide, as her isolation from the choir helper constitutes the main reason for her desperate state. She continues: Now I was horrified at the abyss before which I stood, to the brink of which my lack of trust in the choir helper had brought me, and I gathered the courage to reveal myself to the same. She tried to lift me up and console me with heartfelt love and bade me turn like a trusting child to the Savior with all my sorrows. He would definitely take pity on me, for in His wounds were comfort, grace and freedom from all sin to be found, also for me. I followed this advice and turned to him as well I could with all my complaints and cried out to him all my sorrows and felt his comfort in my heart.20 Although Rosina seems to have found comfort in the Savior, her choir helper does not think that she is truly happy and contented, so she is sent home to her mother in Gnadenthal. Only after three years away from the choir house does Rosina finally gain admission to the single sisters’ choir. Before she is admitted to Holy Communion (which did not happen for a further three years), Rosina experiences

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another period of hopelessness and depression, and has visions of spirits at night around her bed. Finally, as she puts it, Christ releases her from her torment. Her final words describe her attainment of true peace after an unforgettable communion on August 13, 1771, at the age of 23. After communion, as though she is standing before the throne of God in the knowledge of God’s peace, she stops abruptly on the street. Passersby ask her if she is all right. At that moment her first person narrative breaks off; the married choir helper later finishes her memoir by adding that Rosina marries and has eight children. Widows and widowers, married men and women, children and adolescents all speak of spiritual crisis that is alleviated only by the help of a spiritual advisor.

Instructions 1784

The incidents related above are clearly rooted in the doubt of the individual Moravian as to his or her spiritual state. All the persons quoted above were single at the time that these crises were experienced. However, among the married people such crises might not have been related to a spiritual advisor, as married couples lived, especially after 1760 and the dissolution of the General Economy, in their own households that could lie far afield. The death of Zinzendorf and the confusion caused by the Seven Years’ War in Europe (played out in its North American theater as the French and Indian War) are the ostensible reasons for the decision at the series of synods in the 1760s, ’70s and ’80s to codify the principles behind the choirs and especially to focus on the manner and content of the spiritual conversations with each of the choir members. Zinzendorf ’s successor, Bishop Spangenberg, recognized the pressing need to closely examine and codify the choir system. In 1769, the Choir Principles were composed to this end, fulfilling the work of a committee of choir helpers constituted already at the 1764 synod. In the minutes to the synod held at Marienborn, we find the following: [T]he central principles of the congregation and choirs … we must defend with our bodies and souls. These all revolve around one central point: the sanctification of the body and the soul by means of Jesus’ incarnation and death. They vary only in the way in which they are applied to the various sexes and classes, but must have only this one purpose—the main principle must operate with all the children of God, whether in the Diaspora or in the congregation.21 In the third supplement to the minutes of the 1764 synod we find the choir helpers’ discussions of the Choir Principles, which were later written up and approved at the 1769 synod. While the Principles revolve around the central idea of the role of Christ in the life of the individual and the relationship of the former to the corporeality of the believer, Bishop Spangenberg spent the next five years, until the


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

1775 synod, occupying himself with the composition of specific instructions to the choir helpers who held the monthly speakings with each choir member. One of the most important questions to be addressed here is, of course, the reason why the Instructions were written. From the primary and secondary sources, it is clear that the choir system faced a range of challenges—social, ideological, financial—in the 1760s. And these were only further exacerbated in North America by the distance from European centers of the Moravian Church, the dissolution of the General Economy in Bethlehem in 1762, and the chaos leading up to the Revolutionary War. As was noted in the minutes of the 1775 synod, the physical distance between the American settlements and the central point of Herrnhut led to concerns about the faithfulness with which the choirs in North America were functioning. With the dissolution of the General Economy, the education of children had moved to the parental home, with the concomitant loosening of oversight as to what the children were actually being taught.22 Furthermore, the disbanding of the choir houses for the married men and women, and the establishment of family households, created a potential source of alternative doctrine about the relationship between the body and the spirit. As the education of children moved into the parental home, the need for clear guidance in the practice of the speakings increased, as did the difficulty of monitoring the practice of Moravian sexuality. Clearly, when children and adults spent their lives in the formalized and ritualized physical and spiritual space of the choir and its house, the need for codified spiritual instruction was not as overt; but as the individual choir members moved into the economic and social structures of the “family economy” the importance of instruction in one’s spiritual life was heightened. Spangenberg clearly recognized the dangers of unregulated domestic space, as the introduction to the Instructions records: [I]t was well known even then what kind of damage was often sustained when awakened womenfolk would enter into intimate discourse with menfolk about their inner and outer condition.23 The primary location for this “damage” to occur was considered to be Bethlehem and the other North American congregations. The Revolutionary War had a significant effect on the social organization of Moravian settlements. American soldiers were billeted in Moravian towns, soldiers slept in dormitories once intended only for young men, communication between settlements (such a crucial part of maintaining Moravian spiritual community) was disrupted, and Moravian householders were separated from the centers of their religious life.24 The disruption of Moravian lines of communication, whether physical or metaphysical, was a cause of great concern to the Unity Elders back in Germany. Of particular concern was that North American Moravians might be moving away from the principles of the German church. Therefore, at the synods of the period directly after Zinzendorf ’s death, choir helpers from all the European settlements (no

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Americans attended these synods) put together a spiritual handbook for all the choirs: the Instructions. The Instructions constitute fascinating and illuminating reading. They are a singular example of the praxis of eighteenth-century pastoral care.25 In detail quite breathtaking in its simplicity and honesty, the Instructions offered guidelines to the choir helpers on how to understand the workings of Christ within what would seem to be the most practical of corporeal concerns. The pervading tone of the Instructions was not one of stern self-castigation, but rather love and compassion. All of human existence, all worries, pains, aches, illnesses, imagined and real, could be understood within a framework of the contemplation of Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice. All pain, physical or emotional, was compared to that of Jesus on the cross; all anguish could be alleviated by Jesus, all physicality understood in the context of service to God. These documents, the contents of which were highly confidential and passed on only by permission of the Unity Elders of the Church in Herrnhut, contained explicit and detailed instructions on how to apply Moravian theology to the spiritual and physical growth of men, women, and children. The Instructions themselves constituted what today might be called a manual for spiritual counselors on how to guide men, women, adolescents, and children through the speakings. In these sessions, the choir helper was to ascertain the condition of the individual’s soul and his or her readiness for communion. In the Instructions we see that the helpers were not expected to give prepared answers to commonly posed questions or situations, but rather to provide a theological context in which to redirect the concerns of the individual to a focus on Christ. The next lecture will focus on the substance of the Instructions, the frank and surprising detail in which spiritual conversations were to go into the physical and spiritual state of the subject, perhaps most clearly delineated in the discussion of sexuality. This, for the married choirs, became the greatest bone of contention, not least within the mission field. For, in addition to opening up the discourse of the choirs, the Instructions also help to reveal the substance and nature of the speakings between the Moravian missionaries (brothers and sisters) and, for example, Native Americans. Whereas the extant diaries of these missionaries (almost exclusively written by men) do include mention of speakings and visits among the native peoples, without the Instructions one could not begin to reconstruct what was actually discussed. However, the difficulties inherent in administering the speakings in the North American context and their perceived intrusion into the structures of authority within the patriarchal family led the North American congregations, in 1818, to ask that the General Synod abolish the speakings in North America.26 The request was refused.27

Lecture 2

I ended the first lecture by discussing the demise of the speakings in the early 19th century, a demise that was directly linked to the perceived intrusion of the Moravian Church, and specifically the married choir helpers, into the most intimate


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

realm of human co-existence, the marriage bed. In this second lecture I therefore wish to focus far more on those specific instances of the intersection of care for the body and soul within the Instructions, instances that might have caused the most contention within the Moravian Choir system in the 18th century. I will focus especially on the sections of the Instructions for both Moravian men and women, single, married, widowed, and Moravian adolescents, that deal with puberty, marriage, marital relations, pregnancy, childbirth, the nursing of a child, bereavement, and the sublimation or redirection of sexual energy towards Christ.  I will also discuss the contemporaneous Instructions to the Choir Helpers of Heathen Congregations, briefly showing how the sexuality of non-Europeans was theorized by the Moravians and how its perceived essential difference was “managed” by the choir helpers.


If today’s teenagers were living in the Moravian world of the 18th century, they might well receive a far better emotional, spiritual, and sexual education than any “health class” I have encountered in our present educational system! This education was provided in the Moravian church through the practice of the speakings and is articulated in the Instructions for the single brothers and the single sisters. Specifically, the Instructions for the single sisters began with a short history of the choir and emphasized the fact that the Seelenarbeit (work on the soul) was recognized as a central part of the work of the choir from its very outset. If any of these souls were not tended, “harm would extend to the whole congregation” (SS ¶19). As I mentioned in the first lecture, a foundational principle of both the single brothers’ and single sisters’ choirs and their “speakings” was the question of marriage. In order to prepare a brother or sister for marriage in a Moravian sense, the brother or sister had to be spoken with and educated in theory and discourse of Moravian sexuality. The actual description of sexual intercourse and its practice within the church was reserved for the married choir helpers to share after marriage. However, the preparatory work of molding each brother’s and sister’s virginity to the service of the Savior was done by the helper of the single brothers’ or sisters’ choir, who explained that each single sister should be a “fruitful branch on the vine” (“eine fruchtbare Rebe dem Weinstock,” SS ¶14) and each brother a “good tree that cannot bring forth bad fruit” (SB ¶13). How should this cultivation of the soul take place? In the Instructions to the Choir Helpers of the Single Brothers, the choir helper is reminded that, in the spiritual conversations with each choir member, he must emphasize that “through faith in Christ our bodies will become temples of the Holy Spirit and our organs will be Christ’s organs” (SB ¶9). Therefore each brother must “maintain all our organs in his honor, our eyes, ears, tongue, hands, feet, and not use them for sinful purposes.” The opening of the body to inspection, introspection, and the dangers of potential passion is encouraged during the speakings. In paragraph 10, for example, having been reminded of the catechism of the Moravian Church, the choir helper “must ask

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for God’s help so that the Brothers do not find reason to be shy around him or hold back, but open a window in their breast so that the Choir Helper might see in” (SB ¶10). In addition to echoing some of the German late medieval devotional depictions of the breast as a window to the soul,28 this image also might well allude to Moravian devotional art, in which the side wound acts not only as a frame to the domestic scene of piety but also as a window to the soul. But the opening of this window on the soul of the single brother is not to be forced. Should the window have the potential to reveal a “wound,” a place of spiritual suffering, then its opening must be voluntary: If someone has a thorn in his foot, and he is crying out in pain, he will gladly allow it to be pulled out. However, if he has a secret wound that he does not really want to expose and someone rips open his clothes, he will become angry and will not allow himself to be bandaged [SB ¶32]. The speaking is a vital moment in the reinforcement of the notion that the men are acting as “vice Christs” for the Gemeine. In paragraph 18 of the Instructions, the intention of the spiritual conversation is clearly described: Before each Communion, the Choir Helper usually has the custom of speaking to each communicant separately. It is assumed that each Brother has the task of examining himself at this time to cleanse himself of those things that would make him unworthy of partaking of Holy Communion. However, the Speaking has the purpose of allowing each and every Brother to talk fully about his heart, his behavior and his whole walk through life. It is probably good, if those matters that are not in accordance with Christ’s purpose and His love are not ignored when Communion is so close. However, if this has happened then it must be smoothed out and dealt with before one goes to Communion, and if this is not possible then the Brother who is at fault or both Brothers should stay away from Communion. The substance of the conversation between the brothers and their choir helper, then, is usually this: that they let him know how they stand with the Savior, whether they experience joy at the thought of joining the others for communion. They then also talk to him about how things have gone since the last communion in regards to the care of their souls, their bodies, their senses and their members. If something has occurred that is not in accord with the Brethren’s love and Christ’s intention, then it is reported [SB ¶18]. Paragraph 35 of the Instructions reiterates the importance of the young boys’ maintaining a consciousness of themselves as performing a role for Christ. During the meeting of the Quarter Hour for the Renewal of the Choir Covenant, for example, the choir helper must remind the single brothers that the full purpose of each one of


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

them is “not to live for himself, not to do the will of his flesh, nor to make reason into his guide, but rather to live for the Lord, to be a joy to Him only, to live according to His word in all things, and to allow himself to be led like a child by his Holy Spirit.” Furthermore, the sacrifice of Christ for all sinners means that each brother must take “holy care of the soul and body.” In paragraph 21 of the Instructions to the Choir Helpers of the Single Brethren, the necessity of addressing “the sin of self-abuse” is underscored. Reflecting an almost neoAristotelean concept of the makeup of semen, the Instructions state: “God put a seed in the male sex which consists of the noblest juices of the body and which matures in adults. This is destined for the holy purpose of a husband giving it to his wife,” and is therefore not for spilling in “night emissions.” But how is the adolescent brother to avoid such “irregular sensations in the organs”? How can he avoid the organ’s becoming erect and occasionally the seed’s leaving it during the day or night? It may not always be the fault of the brother: What is a choir helper to say to this? In regard to the first matter, the following is to be noted, that such a thing can happen without cause from either the soul or the diet. The cause of this is often a sickliness in the body or, again, if the same is too vigorous or strong. If the brother is not aware of any cause for which he should be ashamed before his Lord, he should not dismiss it lightly but rather commend himself with body and soul to the Savior. He should not rid himself of this alone, however, and even less should he attempt to rectify everything by touching his body with his hand. In both ways this sensation can become stronger. If, however, the heart and soul fix on another object and gaze at the crucified Savior in particular, then the erection dissipates by itself [SB ¶21]. What is to blame for such a physical reaction? In keeping with the Galenic notions of the body that still dominated Moravian medicine in the 18th century, the cause might be found in a stimulus from food and drink. [T]he choir helper must advise the Brother to abstain from whatever is causing him this trouble; otherwise he not only makes it harder for himself than he needs to, but it can also have other doleful consequences for his body and soul. Sira says, examine what is good for your body. Some people cannot digest any milk products in the evening, with others, it’s the coffee, others—the wine or the strong beer that have the effect of causing disorder in the body. Just as one can give no general rule in this matter, so also a Brother cannot follow the example of another, but must learn from experience what agrees with him and what doesn’t. A choir helper must warn his Brothers very carefully about brandy and other similar strong drinks and must take care that these

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do not find a way into the choir house. Other than this, such sensations arise if one does not keep one’s soul pure, and gives way to images and fantasies, or encourages them and in this does not listen to the reminders and punishments of the Holy Spirit [SB ¶21]. On the topic of masturbation, the choir helper to the single brothers states quite clearly that “whoever is attached to sinful fantasies or desires, and undertakes to spill his semen himself, is doing the will of the flesh and serving sin, and the Holy Spirit will abandon him.” The Instructions continue, “The choir helper must be quite firm with such a person, and may not admit him in this condition to Communion, until, after thorough examination, he has seen that a true change of heart has taken place and that he has sought anew forgiveness of his sins in the blood of Jesus and has received grace and freedom from the same.” Equally deserving of immediate attention is the single brother who seduces another brother (either boy or grown man) or a sister “to sin in the flesh.” Such a brother is to be considered “to be like a plague” and must be expelled from the choir immediately (SB ¶23). The speakings of the greater girls follow a parallel path. Up to the age of 12 girls are in the children’s choir and are carefully supervised in their interactions with the other sex as well as with each other. The choir helper is clearly warned not to allow two girls to go to the latrine together, or to disappear into a quiet corner, or go off on a walk alone together; at night they are to be supervised to ensure that they are lying “properly” in their beds (presumably with both hands visible). Once a girl has reached 12 she is accepted into the greater girls’ choir, usually on the choir festival day of June 4. At this ceremony the girls are reminded that they are leaving a stage of their lives behind and are entering into the so-called bedenkliche Jahre, the “years that give concern”—to the girls themselves and also to the choir helpers. In these years, the physical changes in the girls’ bodies can make them susceptible to corruption. For this reason the girls should commend themselves to the Savior even more. To receive instruction in how their bodies will be changing, about six months after their reception into the greater girls’ choir, the girls are divided into smaller groups. Here they receive “detailed instruction regarding those things that belong to the ordinary course of human nature at their age” (SS ¶19). They are also instructed about the ways in which puberty can lead to corruption in both their bodies and their souls. They are taught that to remain faithful to Jesus they must allow themselves to be cleansed with Jesus’ blood. The “detailed instructions” about the changes to their bodies include information about the growth of pubic hair, the development of their breasts, and the onset of menstruation or their “monthly cleansing.” The girls are then given the opportunity to speak to the choir helper individually about matters that they may have heard about in secret from others. It is clear that the overwhelming concern of the instructions at this point is to prevent the dissemination of false information that the girls may have received from home or from a member of the other sex at some point.


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

At this same meeting, six months after acceptance into the greater girls’ choir, the girls are brought together and receive a blessing as a group. They fall on their knees with the choir helper and call out to the Savior for guidance in their path through this life stage. The connection between the body and soul, as manifested in the health of one affecting the health of the other, is maintained throughout the greater girls’ time prior to entering the single sisters’ choir (usually six years). What is interesting is that the choir helper’s role, according to the Instructions, is to help each teenager understand that the changes in her body are not to be hidden or viewed negatively, but rather should be welcomed as a sign that “the wise Creator has so ordered it.” For example, in paragraph 22 we find the following: If … a girl comes and tells her choir helper confidentially that she has noticed the above-mentioned growth of hair or expresses her dislike of it, the choir helper will give her more detailed information, namely that the wise Creator has so ordered it and that she therefore has no reason to be alarmed or have doubts about it; […] since He Himself became a man, thus by His holy birth He has blessed this important member in the same way He has blessed all members of our bodies. It should therefore be a girl’s concern to treat this part of her body with respect, not to undertake anything frivolous with it, anything which could not come to light or appear without hesitation before the Savior’s presence. Then, on what is called the monthly cleansing or menstruation, the choir helper should offer the greater girls the following advice: When girls reach the age at which their nature tends to change, it will be necessary for the choir helper to give them more detailed information about the change that takes place when her cleansing begins. When this occurs for the first time and they report it properly, the choir helper will take the opportunity to talk with them sincerely and to explain to them that, due to this circumstance and their physical condition, they are now counted among the virgins. They should therefore, because of this important change, place themselves very especially in the care of the Savior, the true physician for body and soul, and should implore Him to sprinkle them with His blood and to bestow upon them and preserve in them a pure heart, directed to Him alone. As the most reliable counsel, she will commend them to look daily up to Jesus in His image as reconciler, in order that their eyes, ears, and other senses can best be protected from everything that is defiled [SS ¶23]. The onset of menstruation marks then a new stage in the greater girl’s life, a stage where her physical and sexual maturity make her “a virgin” for the Savior. Her

The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church


physical state is closely linked to her spiritual state, and as such, must also be taken good care of. [The choir helper] will not neglect to tell them at the same time what they need to observe regarding their health, as much as their external circumstances allow, for example, to protect themselves now from extreme cold and heat, as well as from emotional states such as vexation, wrath and so forth; because these can have a doubly harmful influence on their health. It is a good idea for the choir helper to inquire from time to time of such a girl whether she is having any problems with her cleansing and to advise her concerning medical assistance as she thinks fit. If, each time, girls accept this particular condition of their nature from the Creator’s hand, commending themselves to Him, then they will receive grace and blessing. At the conclusion of such a conversation, a girl will be blessed by her choir helper with laying on of hands and, with a verse or prayer, will be affectionately commended to the Savior in this new stage of her life. It goes without saying that such treatment is not applicable for girls of a secretive nature; it should be made clear to them what kind of blessing they are responsible for bringing upon themselves. Thus a Moravian teenage girl in the 18th century would be instructed to regard all the manifestations of puberty as something God-given, healthy, and blessed. She should be encouraged to share her physical and spiritual state of health with her choir helper and to recognize that the sins of the body exist in a reciprocal relationship with the spirit. As she progresses through her teenage years and nears the time when she will be admitted to the single sisters’ choir, other concerns manifest themselves: a proclivity to vanity, an interest in the other sex, “stirrings perceived in body and soul” that are linked to more than a Schärfe des Geblüts (sharpness or acidity of the blood). If there are bodily sensations linked to impure imaginings and fantasies in the soul, or which arise from a forbidden inclination, then these are things that disgrace a virgin of Jesus and are displeasing to the Savior, and a sister who is aware of such things has reason to be alarmed. She should immediately look to Jesus on the cross and seek to be cleansed from this by His blood [SS ¶25]. The blood of Christ can cure impurities in her blood and in her imagination, if the young woman looks to him as her doctor. Similarly, the physical condition known as “der weiße Fluß” (clear vaginal secretions) should be seen as a natural manifestation of the young woman’s changing physical state; however, if they become too excessive, it may also be an indication of sinful corruption of the body and soul. Such corruption need not come from stirrings towards a member of the opposite sex. Toward the end


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

of the section on the physical changes during puberty, paragraph 31 of the Instructions describes the vigilance that a choir helper must have about relationships between the young women. As pleasing and blessed as it is when a special, warm, and close friendship exists among a group of sisters, a friendship that is edifying as well as grounded in the Savior, it is also important to be on guard lest beneath this show of friendliness a false relationship should develop. One can find examples that show that when a devoted love exists among persons of the same sex, even if it doesn’t come to coarse temptations, defilements of the flesh and spirit can occur. A conscientious and vigilant Room Overseer [Stuben-Vorgesezte], observing the sisters’ association with one another, will soon become aware of the type and character of their conversation [SS ¶31]. Therefore the room overseer must keep a watchful eye on the younger single sisters and their daily association with one another, particularly when they are dressing and undressing, and assure that they are respectful towards each other. Another wayward influence might come from outside the choir house, as some single sisters lived in service. Not only might these sisters bring in knowledge of the opposite sex from observation; they might also have been the object of unwanted advances from their employers. Regular discussions with the married choir helper help allay fears about unhealthy relationships between the sister and the woman of the household in which she is serving.

Moravian Marriage

Both sisters and brothers received copious instruction in the meaning of holy matrimony before they were married. The single brothers’ instructions on this point are actually somewhat longer than those of the single sisters, with each facet of marriage (other than physical relations) being mapped onto a desire for Christ. Paragraph 25 summarizes: The main goal with each Brother must be that he give himself over in spirit, soul, and body to belong to the dear Savior without exception. I only want what Jesus, my Bridegroom wants, I want to be clay in your hands, out of which you may form what you want to your praise. From this comes the second idea: I want to become a complete person in God at the rank at which God has called me for His pleasure and enjoy that which as a single Brother He has won for me through His incarnation, through His meritorious life, through His position as a single brother and through His martyrdom and death. I want to be like Him, I want my purpose to be like the purpose of the Lamb and so remain unspotted

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through His martyr’s body, soul and body and spirit on Earth. Oh, when this becomes reality in a Single Brother’s heart, then 100 and 1000 fantasies and fleeting thoughts disappear and he only looks to how he may please the Lord. It is well known that Zinzendorf ’s theology and metaphorical language powerfully dominated the lived faith and marital discourse of Moravians in the first half of the 18th century, and a quarter of a century after Zinzendorf ’s death, the Instructions to all the choir helpers clearly retain the central notion of Christ as the Bridegroom of the Church. However, perhaps the most important legacy of Zinzendorf in these pastoral texts is his positive valorization of human sexuality. The influence of Zinzendorf on the Moravian understanding of marriage can be seen in the first paragraph of the Instructions where it is pointed out that at the very outset of the Renewed Church in 1722, as the refugees arrived in Berthelsdorf, the institution of marriage was itself a point of concern. Those who were already married, worried at their spiritual state, decided to live together no longer as husband and wife but rather as brother and sister. Only after the choir helpers had spoken to each member of the married persons’ choir individually did the married couples come to a “true,” that is, sacralized, notion of marriage. The Instructions, divided into 45 paragraphs, are an expansion of both the Ehereligion of the earlier 18th century Moravian Church, and also a longer compilation of the comments of the brothers and sisters who had been entrusted with the composition and discussion of the Principles of the married choirs at the 1775 Barby synod. The difficulty of the task of regulating sexuality is reflected in the amount of text in the Instructions that is devoted to marital relations. It is little wonder that the introduction to the Instructions (¶2) ends with an invocation to God for his help in such matters!

The Instructions to the Married Choir Helpers

In these 45 paragraphs the Instructions aim to guide the choir helpers through the complex and delicate task of tending to the physical, spiritual, and pastoral needs of the members of the married choir in their Gemeine. After a brief history of the married choirs and an invocation to God for help, the initial paragraphs of the text proper (¶3–8) address the office of the choir helper, stressing that it is ordained by God and his Gemeine, that it is an office of particular sensitivity and delicacy, and that it is of great importance to the health of the whole Gemeine. Described as “arduous and certainly not easy,” the office requires that the helpers monitor the spiritual and sexual lives of the married persons, which, in 1786, is difficult as the married people in North America do not live in choir houses but rather in their own households, scattered around the countryside. During their visits it is the duty of both the brother and his wife to speak with the married couple and to offer “advice, comfort, admonition, warning and reproof.”29


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

In order to conduct a speaking or a pastoral visit, choir helpers therefore have to arrange visits to the homes, which can lie far apart. Once this call on the home has been arranged, the choir helpers need to consider the following points: the welfare of each person in the household; the behavior of the husband and wife towards each other; the upbringing of the children; the treatment of the servants; and the health of the trade or family economy. Thus the commission of the married choir helpers reflects the early modern conception of the family: not a nuclear unit but rather a household, an “oeconomy,” in which adults, children, domestic servants, and agricultural and manual laborers living within it are considered to be integral parts of the economic and (for the Moravians) spiritual unit.30 The welfare and proper upbringing of the children is a matter for concern of the married choir helpers. Through questions about the children’s routine, their bedtimes, mealtimes, hygiene, and dress, the physical and spiritual well being of the children is monitored. Similarly, domestic servants, who are frequently members of the single sisters’ choir, are objects of the married choir helpers’ scrutiny, although the single sisters will have speakings with their own choir helper, and therefore the two sets of helpers must hold regular conferences. Relations between masters and servants in the household must be “healthy.” Complaints from the servants are therefore taken seriously and passed on to the single brothers’ or single sisters’ choir helpers. The success of each family household is integral to the success of the Gemeine as a whole; hence trade, children, servants and the married couple must reflect the order of the spiritual realm. Just under half of the Instructions (¶8–17) pertain to what might be called the “externalities” of Moravian marriage, the origins of which are to be found in the Principles and Spangenberg’s own Idea fidei fratrum, to which the choir helpers are directed for further reading. The importance of gaining an intimate knowledge of the lives of the married couples is repeatedly underscored, along with suggestions for ways to gain the trust and frankness of the couples. In the next section of the Instructions (¶18–30) the means by which a brother and sister may enter into the married state and the betrothal and wedding are discussed. Alluding to the commandments concerning marriage, incest, and menstruation in the Books of Moses and the subsequent reinterpretation of these by Christ and Paul in the New Testament, Spangenberg appears to be setting up both a context and precedent for what is to follow, namely detailed instructions for the selection, approval, betrothal and marriage of a brother and sister. Paragraphs 31–34 deal directly with that which is peculiar to the married state, namely marital relations, that liturgical action deemed so central in its spiritual meaning from the very earliest days of the Renewed Church. The manner, frequency, and meaning of sexual intercourse are discussed in simple, plain language. The reason for such frankness is that for the Moravians, sexual intercourse is a blessed action. Though misused by many, it is an action accompanied by grace if undertaken in God’s name. Also because of the strict segregation of men and women in the Gemeine, “one

The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church


often deals with persons who know nothing of such things, and they must be regarded as children.” To this end paragraph 34 describes how marital union can take place. The couple can choose either the lying or sitting position—one is not preferred over the other—and the married choir helper provides either a cushion for the former position or a chair and a cloth for the latter. The married couple is left alone and encouraged to be patient with each other, not to force anything. The couple is also told that the brother may not be able to have intercourse with his new wife and if he is unable to have an erection then he will place his hand on his wife’s head and give her a blessing from a verse. The next paragraph asks why the Moravians go to such lengths to order marital relations. The answer lies in the very “naturalness” of the action. For the very reason that so many can perform this act without thinking of God, the Moravians have to make it their own through clear and precise instruction for its performance. Paragraphs 36–43 discuss the frequency of this liturgical action. For example, on communion day, if the couple has partaken of communion then they have already tasted the body and blood of Christ and have no further need of intimate communion with Him in marital union. Women should not enjoy marital relations with their husbands during their monthly “cleansing” (menstruation), but once these days are over, they may remind their husbands of this service to the Lord. Pregnant women may enjoy marital relations until the seventh month of their pregnancy, and relations should not be resumed until the child has been weaned. The reason for this was medical, according to the authors of the Instructions, in that a further pregnancy at this point would be bad for the child and the mother. The mother should be given as much rest as possible during this period of the child’s life, and she should be allowed peace to nurse her child. Thus the frequency, method, cessation and resumption of marital relations during pregnancy and after childbirth, and the question of whether a married sister can breastfeed an infant and run the risk of becoming pregnant again, are discussed in detail. The Instructions end with two paragraphs stressing the confidentiality not only of the document but also of the practice of Moravian marriage. “The foregoing Instruction contains nothing about which we should be ashamed,” concludes Spangenberg in the final paragraph. Only those who have been instructed in the sacralized notion of marital relations may know of this document and can practice the way of Moravian marriage. If those outside the congregation or those in the “heathen congregations” ask about the “arrangement, practices, and methods” of Moravian marriage then “we will not make them known.” The consequences of so doing are “sorrowful”(¶44).


Of particular interest to historians of gender and religion are the Instructions to the Choir Helpers of the Widows in that they constitute rare guidelines for the spiritual care of widowed women. In offering their advice to the choir helpers of the widows,


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

the Instructions recognize their varied backgrounds and the effect that these may have on their ability to live with their bereavement. Some may come from the congregation, but not many. Some may have their own assets; many do not. Some may have children, many have stepchildren; some do not. Some are widowed old, some young, some once, some several times, and so forth. Some marriages were cheerful and happy; some were not. Some widows may continue the trade of the husband after his death, and raise the children themselves; some do not. The reason for the establishment of the widows’ choir differs from that of the others because it is based not only on the physical and spiritual care of the widowed sisters but also on their psychological well being. The belief that lies behind all the choirs is that people living together in the same stage of life can foster spiritual growth. So, too, in the widows’ choir, living together can help each widow through her grief and a possibly radical change in material circumstances. The Instructions recognize that each widow has gone through her own school. The choir helper has to deal especially compassionately with a sister who had a merry and blessed marriage with her dear husband, and is now recently widowed. The memory of her marriage often renews the pain, and the choir helper must be mindful of this and think of the words, “Weep with those who weep.” So how does the widows’ choir helper comfort the widows? First she reminds the widow that her husband has gone home to Christ and will be eternally by him, in unspeakable joy and blessed light. She no longer has her husband with her because the Lord has taken him to be with him. And it is certainly the Lord’s right to deal with what is his, as he wants. Therefore the widow should not be dissatisfied with God’s acts, and not complain. The Savior comes down to us and sees all our circumstances as an open book before His eyes. He looks upon you as a widow, doing so not with indifference but rather with a tender, compassionate, and sympathetic heart. All our desires are known to Him. By this you can be especially comforted in your present situation, which grieves you so [¶9]. The Instructions advise the choir helper to remind the widow to remember what the scripture says: Let us love Him, because He has first loved us. If you do this, then you will also share in the promise: All things must work for good for those who love God. Your beloved husband’s death will also work for good for you, and you will be thankful to God that He has taken him to Himself. We then have Him to thank for everything. While this advice might seem harsh, the death of the earthly husband means that the widows have a special right to Jesus: “Now that your dear husband has completed his course, you are the Savior’s widow and you have a special right to Him.”

The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church


The choir helper tells each widow that Christ loves her much, much more than she loved her late husband, and she will always be able to have intercourse with Him much more intimately than she could ever have had with her husband. Pure bliss lies in dealings with the Savior. Indeed, You are now miserable and forlorn and are therefore privileged before your Heavenly Father, because His eye and heart are directed especially toward whatever is poor, whatever is humble, whatever is despised, whatever is suffering. For that reason He is called the God and Helper of widows and orphans. Therefore, Christ’s words apply especially to you: Whatever you ask the Father in my name, that I will do. Interestingly, as a point of comparison, the Principles for the widows’ choir are preceded by a set for the widowers’ choir.31 The widower, like the widow, once bereaved, is considered to be a type of single person. However, he is a single person with the experience of having been Christ’s viceroy in an earthly marriage. His first task, as a new widower, is to examine the path of his marriage and to ask for forgiveness for all his sins. He is then to carry himself in a priest-like fashion, aware of the role he has played for Christ in his marriage; but at the same time he must be careful not to dwell on the “fantasies and frivolous thoughts and images” in his heart.32 Like the widow, the widower should think of this time as a Vorsabbat (pre-Sabbath) and not dwell on what has passed, but look forward to what is to come. Should a widower be called to marriage again, he should accept this call with grace. The principles for the widowers’ choir recognize the difficulty of living with bereavement and old age and, like the principles of the widows’ choir, recommend that the widower look with thanks to the Savior as a role model. Furthermore, like the principles for the widows’ choir, these few paragraphs on the widowers employ the tropes of the Ehereligion (the husband as Christ’s viceroy, the husband as the priest of the wife) to distinguish between the sexual experience of the widower and the physical virginity of the single brother. Although the term “virginity” is not explicitly employed to describe the spiritual purity of the single brother, it is clear that the widowed brother has become like Christ again in this aspect also.

Life Stages Are Universal (Almost)

One of the most remarkable features of the Instructions for Moravian Women is that they applied not only to European and Euro-American women, but also to the converts in the Moravian missions worldwide. In other words, contrary to the mainstream notions about racial difference in circulation in the 18th century, Moravian women and girls were all counseled with the same instructions—with one major exception. In a document titled “Report of the Unity Elders in Regards to the Matter of Marriage in our Heathen Congregations” (“Gutachten der U.A.C die Ehesache in unseren Heiden-Gemeinen betreffend”) composed in Herrnhut


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

in 1786, the Unity Elders expound on the impossibility of regulating marriage and sexual intercourse among the heathen congregations in the same way that it is done in the European and Euro-American congregations. The reason for this exception is complex. First, it would seem that the Unity Elders subscribe to the hierarchical concept of the perfectibility of human races that places at its pinnacle the white European and at the bottom the African and Native American. Such a schema was put forward by contemporary philosophers in Germany, such as Immanuel Kant in his lectures on Anthropology (begun in 1772–3 and continued until his death) and Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752–1840) in his de generis humani (1775). However, Kant’s anthropology was not empirical, that is, he never ventured far from his home of Königsberg. Blumenbach’s anthropology was based on deductions from his work in comparative anatomy, especially the measurement of cranial size. The Moravians’ judgments on the differences between the races in the 1780s was based on 40 years’ experience in the mission field. The “anthropological” data that had been collected was of the order of Christian Georg Andreas Oldendorp’s 3,000 pages of information about the West Indies in 1767–8, a wealth of information about the flora and fauna and indigenous people of the Caribbean, as well as the cultures and languages of the newly transported African people, enslaved on the plantations33; or David Zeisberger’s and John Heckewelder’s accounts of the North American Indians.34 And this empirical knowledge was what informed the judgments of the Unity Elders’ Conference concerning the expectations for the congregations of the heathen. Citing a lack of knowledge of the Bible, a lack of a well policed, middle class state (bürgerlicher Staat), and the fact that these persons have grown up in an environment based on fundamentally different principles from those of a European society, the elders claim that the Instructions for the Married Persons’ Choir, especially as they pertain to the choice of marriage partner, frequency and method of marital relations, and the nursing of children, do not apply in heathen congregations. Instead, when wishing to marry, the heathen should be instructed in the basic outlines for a Moravian marriage, which the Unity Elders point out could be found in Spangenberg’s Idea fidei fratrum, paragraphs 202–205 (1778). Here we find almost the almost word-for-word original of what is found in the Instructions for the Heathen. Spangenberg writes there on the subject of Moravian marriage: This institution, according to which everyman has his own wife, fulfills still even among the most savage nations. But it has notwithstanding, been accompanied with so many sinful and scandalous proceedings, that it is scarcely possible to enumerate them all, and very thought of them is horrible.35 I would like to conclude these lectures by returning to the notion of the discursive nature of Moravian lived faith in the 18th century and asking us to think together about two questions. Whether through a memoir, through the speakings,

The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church


or through the regular and public report of the activities of the Gemeine, Moravians during the long 18th century were presented with multiple opportunities to reflect on their lives as aesthetic and verbal constructs. How does having these opportunities change their concept of themselves as spiritual beings?  And what, if anything, can we learn from this today? At this point we might again cite Foucault, reminding us that the care of the self is a social act; that although we might think of ourselves as autonomous subjects, we actually achieve our full humanity through ethical interaction with others. Friedrich Schleiermacher would take this up again in his Sittenlehre and hermeneutics in the early 19th century, arguing for the necessity of a dialectic between the individual and the universal, das individuelle Allgemeine. I would like to argue that this central insight of the most important theologian between Luther and the present is deeply rooted in his own experience of the speakings as a pupil at the Moravian schools of Niesky and Barby. It was there that Schleiermacher came to know the importance of community and the role of discourse within the process of self-discovery. Not for nothing are his early works presented frequently in the form of speeches, monologues, dialogues; and he is known to be the father of homiletics as a subject of formal theological study. From my lectures I hope you have been able to gain insight into the internal world of the Moravians of the 18th century, how the relationship between body and spirit, or soul, as they would call it, was a central concern to those who founded Bethlehem almost 300 years ago. Perhaps through listening and learning about their spiritual conversations we might all, like Schleiermacher, become Moravians of a higher order.

Endnotes 1. See, inter alia, Katherine Faull, “Schleiermacher—A Feminist? Or How to Read Gender-Inflected Theology,” in Schleiermacher and Feminism: Sources, Evaluations, and Responses, ed. Iain G. Nicol (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1992), 13–32; Faull, “Beyond Confrontation? The Early Schleiermacher and Feminist Moral Theory,” New Atheneum/Neues Athenaeum 4 (1994): 41–65; “Novalis,” in Encyclopedia of Literary Translation, ed. Olive Classe (London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000); Faull, “Schleiermacher and Transcendentalist Truth-Telling: Ethics, Gender and Speech in 19th Century New England,” in Schleiermacher’s Influence on American Thought and Religious Life (1835–1920) (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, forthcoming). 2. Michael Beddow, The Fiction of Humanity: Studies in the Bildungsroman from Wieland to Thomas Mann (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982). 3. As quoted in Otto Uttendörfer, Zinzendorfs christliches Lebensideal (Gnadau:Verlag der Unitätsbuchhandlung, 1940), 16. 4. Michel Foucault, The Care of the Self, vol. 3 of Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage Books, 1988), 50.

5. All quotes in this paragraph from Foucault, The Care of the Self, 51. 6. Foucault, The Care of the Self, 51. 7. Foucault, The Care of the Self, 56. 8. Johann Martin Dober, Verfassung der Herrnhutischen Mährischen Brüder-Gemeine (1733), 131. 9. “Incidenter wurde angemerkt, dass das Sprechen vor dem Abendmahl nicht für die Prüfung müsse gehalten werden, die vor dem selben vorhergehen soll.” Protocoll des Synodi der Brüder-Unität 1775, R.2.B.46.1.c, Unity Archives, p. 461. 10 . Minutes of the Provincial Conference Held with the Labourers of the Brethren’s Congregation, Fulneck, 30 Sept. – 13 Oct. 1795. The University of Bristol Archives, DM 451 Box D Item 53, pp. 20–23. 11. Minutes … Fulneck, p. 23. 12 . George L. Lloyd, “‘Speaking’ in the Moravian Church: An Inquiry into the Historical and Religious Significance of This Practice and Its Implications for Pastoral Care and Counseling,” MA Thesis, San Francisco Theological Seminary (San Anselmo, Calif.),1983. 13 . Christine Lost, Leben als Lehrtext: Lebensläufe aus der Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine (Herrnhut: Herrnhuter Verlag, 2007), 10–11.


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

14. Christine Lost, “‘Kinder in Gemeinschaft bringen‘: Zu Konzept und Praxis der Kindererziehung in der frühen Brüdergemeine,“ in Josef N. Neumann and Udo Sträter, eds., Das Kind im Pietismus und Aufklärung (Halle and Wittenberg: University of Halle, 2000). 15. All quotations in this paragraph are taken from the memoir of Nicholas Lorenz Bage (1732–1789), MemBeth 304, Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, PA. Translations mine. 16 . Memoir of Valentin Führer (1724–1808), MemBeth 505, Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, PA. Translation mine. 17 . “Anna Boehler, née Rose,” in Katherine M. Faull, trans. and ed., Moravian Women’s Memoirs: Their Related Lives, 1750–1820 (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1997), 70–71. 18 . “Anna Boehler, née Rose,” 72. 19 . Memoir of Rosina Brunner, manuscript, no. 645, MemBeth, Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, PA. 20 . Memoir of Rosina Brunner. 21 . Marienborner Synode 1769, MAH, R 2B 45 1, p. 821. 22 . On the Revolutionary War and the move of children out of the choir houses and into the parental home, and the subsequent problems, see Gillian Lindt Gollin, Moravians in Two Worlds: A Study of Changing Communities (New York: Columbia University Press, 1967), 108f; and Beverly Prior Smaby, The Transformation of Moravian Bethlehem: From Communal Mission to Family Economy (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988), 113f. 23. Instructions for the Single Sisters. The Instructions for both the Single Sisters and the Single Brothers are in the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem. Hereafter these Instructions will be cited as SS (Single Sisters) or SB (Single Brothers), by paragraph number within the text. All translations are mine. 24 . See Joseph Mortimer Levering, A History of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 1741–1892 with Some Account of Its Founders and Their Early Activity in America (Bethlehem, PA: Times Publishing Company, 1903), 426–535. 25 . For a critical introduction to the rise of the advice manual and pastoral care see Foucault, The Care of the Self, in which he examines the Roman corpus on moral reflections on the uses of pleasure and sexuality. On the “training” of the body in the German context, see Heikki Lempa, Beyond the Gymnasium: Educating the Middle-Class Bodies in Classical Germany (New York: Lexington Books, 2007), and Heikki Lempa, “Techniques of Epicurean Masculinity: The Playing Method in German Education, 1774–1820,” in Katherine M. Faull,

ed., Masculinity, Senses, Spirit (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2011). 26. J. Taylor Hamilton and Kenneth G. Hamilton, History of the Moravian Church: The Renewed Unitas Fratrum, 1722–1957 (Bethlehem, PA: Moravian Church in America, 1967), 233. 27 . J. E. Hutton, A History of the Moravian Church (London: Moravian Publication Office, 1909), 467. 28 . Jeffrey F. Hamburger,  Nuns as Artists: The Visual Culture of a Medieval Convent (University of California Press, 1997). 29. See “Instructions for the Laborers of the Married Choir,” ms., Gracehill 1819, Bristol University Archives, Bristol, UK. 30 . See Otto Brunner, “Das ‚Ganze Haus‘ und die alteuropäische ‚Ökonomik,‘ in Otto Bruner, Neue Wege der Verfassungs- und Sozialgeschichte, 3rd ed. (Göttingen: Vandenhoek und Ruprecht, 1980), 33–61. 31. Principia des Wittwer-Chores, in Verlaß des im Jahr 1775 zu Barby gehaltenen Synodi der Evangelischen Brüder-Unität, 37–39; ms. in most Moravian archives. Although a set of principles exists, I have been unable to locate a set of Instructions for the widowers’ choir. 32 . “Ein solcher Bruder tritt gewissermassen in die Umstände eines ledigen Bruders, hat also den Heiland auf eben die Weise wie ein lediger Bruder zu seinem Original und läßt sich aufs neue aus des Heilands Verdienst alles das schmecken, was ihm in diesem Stande zu einem seligen Gottes-Menschen gestaltet. Das wird ihn auch vor allem Phantasien und unnüzen Gedanken und Bildern in seiner Seele und deren unseligen Folgen bewahren.” Principia des Wittwer-Chores, par. 3–4, p. 39. 33 . C. G. A. Oldendorp, C.G.A. Oldendorps Geschichte der Mission der evangelischen Brüder auf den caraibischen Inseln S. Thomas, S. Croix und S. Jan (Barby: C.F. Laux; Leipzig: Weidmanns Erben und Reich, 1777). 34 . David Zeisberger, The Moravian Mission Diaries of David Zeisberger: 1772–1781, eds. Hermann Wellenreuther and Carola Wessel (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005); and John Gottlieb Ernestus Heckewelder, An Account of the History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations, Who Once Inhabited Pennsylvania and the Neighboring States (Philadelphia: Abraham Small, 1819). 35. August Gottlieb Spangenberg, Idea Fidei Fratrum (1778), trans. Benjamin La Trobe (1799), ¶202.

The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church


Responses Jeff Coppage Faull asks us what contemporary lessons can be learned from the many discursive opportunities that 18th century Moravians had in which to reflect on themselves as spiritual beings. Gleaning lessons that we may learn is one thing. Actually being able to implement structural changes to church dynamics is much more challenging. Fortunately, the spiritual benefits to structured community life are obvious to any who reads Faull’s works. A commitment to a rigorous community life that is anything like that of the 18th century Moravians is even more radical now than it was then. In particular, a commitment by modern Christians to any significant accountability is very rare. Examples do exist, though. Long ago, I did an internship at the Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. Our weekly small groups focused on both outward mission and inner spiritual vitality. One of the core shared commitments among their dozen or more mission groups was preparing a weekly brief spiritual accountability report for that group’s equivalent of the choir helper. The Gemeinschaft program that was developed by the Southern Province has similar structured accountability in place. Twelve step programs also practice an informal accountability through the use of sponsors. Sobriety, which is inherently rooted in one’s spiritual life, is the goal, but the means is a culture of structured mutual accountability. Examples of residential communities with shared accountability do exist as well. Intentional Christian communities today, such as those developing within the New Monasticism movement, include significant shared commitments. Anthony’s Plot in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is such an example. They identify themselves as a “Moravian community of faith combining residency, community development work, and a socially-relevant and spiritually-hopeful outreach to bring the good news of Jesus to visible reality in our lives, our household, and our neighborhood.” Faull mentions “the complexities of implementing a theology of sacralized personal life.” This certainly applies to the “sacralization of the sexual” that she focused on. The normative expectation that all personal details of one’s life are to be shared because of their implications as a “window to the soul” is both impressive and puzzling. The level of trust required to sustain such candor over a lifetime is remarkable. Faull does not give us information about violations of trust, but they are inherent in confidential discourse with intimate self-disclosure. Did the Moravians have a process in place to address breaches of trust? Was it taboo to speak of such violations? The structured “care of the soul” that Faull addresses here and in other writings is the fruit of the Moravians’ very highly structured communal life. The discursive opportunities helped to shape the “creation of both a group and an individual identity.” In another article, Faull states that “speaking” is institutionalized within the Moravian Church as a form of “therapeutic self-disclosure.” 1 In the Moses Lectures, Faull


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

goes even further to note that the “speakings,” when joined with letters, memoirs, and diaries, were “a crucial factor in the process of shaping conceptions of self, identity, and Christ’s presence in the world” (emphasis mine).2 I find this last observation to be most inspiring. Through the public sharing of the Lebenslauf, every Moravian of a certain age was contributing to the shaping of the community’s conceptions of Christ’s presence in the world.3 Rather than adhering to a congregational authority model for governance, the Moravians were clearly elevating the value of the lived faith of every community member. The implicit task of contributing to the ever-evolving communal understanding of the presence of Christ is a huge privilege and responsibility given to every layperson and clergy alike. The Moravians practiced a radical concept of the “priesthood of all believers.” Each person in these tight-knit Moravian communities contributed to the shared theology of the whole. This is a radical democratization in the venue of receiving God’s self-revelation. This dynamic may explain the emphasis within the memoirs and speakings on frankness and truthfulness (“fearless speech” or parrhesia in the classical tradition).4 Compassionate listening and attentive care on behalf of choir helpers was essential. If protective self-editing was the norm when sharing one’s spiritual life with mentors, then the community’s growing understanding of the presence of Christ was diminished. Do we have the courage today to work at speaking so frankly and vulnerably within the church? How do we move past the self-protected interactions that inhibit self-disclosure? Have we ceded transparent self-disclosure too much to professionals and impoverished the Church in doing so? Can we re-imagine that God’s ongoing self-revelation and Christ’s presence is to be known within shared discourse on the daily lives of every member of the church? As Moravians, we celebrate “religion of the heart.” As Katherine Faull reminds us, our history offers ample evidence that how we structure our faith communities significantly affects our individual and shared awareness of Christ’s immediate presence. We even have a memoir tradition that invites all members to help shape Moravian theology about this dynamic. Good lessons Faull has taught us. 1. Katherine Faull, “Speaking and Truth-telling: Parrhesia in the Eighteenth-century Moravian Church,” in Self, Community, World: Moravian Education in a Transatlantic World, ed. Heikki Lempa and Paul Peucker (Bethlehem, PA: Lehigh University Press, 2010), 152. 2. Faull, “Speaking and Truth-telling,” 158. 3. Faull, “Speaking and Truth-telling,”154; and Gisela Mettele, “Erudition vs. Experience: Gender, Communal Narration, and the Shaping of Eighteenth-

century Moravian Religious Thought,” in Self, Community, World: Moravian Education in a Transatlantic World, ed. Heikki Lempa and Paul Peucker (Bethlehem, PA: Lehigh University Press, 2010), 187–198. Mettele writes, “…the theology of Moravian communities was formed, above all, through communal narration” (190). 4. Faull, “Speaking and Truth-telling,” 148.

Jeff Coppage is pastor of Covenant Moravian Church in York, Pennsylvania.

The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church


Truman L. Dunn I want to extend my gratitude to Dr. Faull for her thoroughly researched and thoughtful lectures. I dare say that while most Moravians are familiar with the idea of the choir system, probably few are aware of how the choirs functioned. And I am certain that most Moravians would be shocked to learn that, had they been living in the 18th century, their sex life would have been subject to full examination. Dr. Faull’s study of the speakings was clearly not intended to shock or even shame the Moravian Church. She sees the speakings as a model for pastoral care of the body and soul. However, I want to suggest that Faull attempts to put the best possible face on a practice which was as much about hierarchy and control as it was about spiritual purity. Dr. Faull traces the origins of the speakings to the influence of German pietism on Zinzendorf and the Renewed Church of the 18th century. The pietistic emphasis on personal devotion and leading a pure and holy life led to the establishment of the speakings as a means of personal examination and accountability. The role of the choir helper who conducted the speakings was to “help” each choir member strive for purity in every aspect of his or her life, including the dangerous and tempting areas of sexual fantasies and unholy marital relations. While this intrusiveness might offend modern sensibilities, understood in their historical context, the speakings were intended as a means of spiritual discipline and purification. I must confess that, while I had some inkling of the examination of sexual practices in the days of Zinzendorf (the infamous blue cabinet*), I was not aware of the speakings and the extent of the examination beginning in the adolescent years. In the section she entitles “Adolescence,” Faull writes: “If today’s teenagers were living in the Moravian world of the 18th century, they might well receive a far better emotional, spiritual and sexual education than any ‘health class’ I have encountered in our present educational system!” Yet, as she describes the “moment of crisis” of young Rosina Brunner, who considered suicide in her struggle to undergo her speaking, it led me to think about the increasing number of gay children and youth today who have taken their lives in an unaccepting culture shaped by the same guilt and shame which the speakings must have brought to countless adolescent sisters and brothers. This is hardly a far better emotional, spiritual and sexual education than any health class today. Faull’s contention that the Moravian examination of the sex life in their communities reflected an understanding of the unity of body, soul and spirit is intriguing and needs more conversation than space here allows. Certainly, the view of every aspect of bodily life as holy, including sexual relations, brings the body and the spirit together and reflects the Hebraic understanding of the unity of body and spirit. Yet, the preoccupation with sex and all its dangers and temptations sounds much more like the Apostle Paul’s struggle with “the flesh,” and the Hellenistic separation of flesh and spirit. It is also difficult for me to imagine Jesus as the Bridegroom and that I am to conduct marital relations as his viceroy (in his place) as a uniting of body and spirit. * See Paul Peucker, “In the Blue Cabinet: Moravians, Marriage and Sex,” Journal of Moravian History 10 (Spring 2011). —Editors


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

Faull devotes much of her second lecture to the “instructions” given to the choir helpers who, in turn, instructed the members of the choirs on the proper method for sexual relations. These instructions are very explicit, even specifying the positions permitted. Faull notes that the explanation given in the Instructions as to why the Moravians went to “such great length to order marital relations” was the very “naturalness” of the action. It is difficult to feel “natural” during sexual relations when you are worried about the proper position and whether you are “thinking of God” during the act. The specificity of the instructions and the authority given to the choir helpers to examine and exclude choir members from communion demonstrates an extremely controlling and very hierarchal understanding of community. I am certain that, lost in their earnest desire to sanctify the entirety of life including the marriage bed, Zinzendorf, the choir helpers and the room overseers did not think of themselves as exercising extreme authoritarian control. They were serving Christ. There is certainly merit in Faull’s assertion that the speakings, which fostered self-examination and self-discovery, are rooted in the pietist movement.  She also suggests that pietism could be seen as a precursor to the Enlightenment.  These assertions are more complex than space allows, but they are, perhaps, the best face which can be put on the speakings. Yet, surprisingly, Faull does not seemed concerned with the highly patriarchal nature of this practice. Nor does she note that “sexual practice” is almost exclusively defined by men. Obviously, 18th century Europe was extremely patriarchal. However, Faull’s lectures would have been more balanced, in my view, had she spent more time answering the question she poses in the very last paragraph of the lectures: “And what, if anything, can we learn from this today?” In addition to the positive values Faull offers from this now forgotten practice in 18th century Moravian communities, there are surely lessons to be learned in asking why the speakings are no longer in use. Here in the North American Moravian Church we have certainly never been as accepting of hierarchy and control as in Europe. As Faull observes, there was great resistance to the intrusiveness of the speakings in North American congregations as early as 1818 when their request that the speakings be abolished was refused. But we might ask ourselves if there are still areas of hierarchy, control and even patriarchy here in our own North American context which need to be looked at critically. Another lesson I believe we can learn from Dr. Faull’s study is the significance of the choir system, which is no longer a part of what it means to be a Moravian other than how we organize our graveyards. Beginning with my years as editor of The Hinge and in the 2001 Moses Lectures, I have long urged us to revive the choir system in our congregations, albeit without the authoritarian control of the 18th century choirs. Moravians were doing “small groups” long before present-day mega-churches introduced their cell groups. We have always understood that care of the self is a social act—that spiritual growth happens most fully in shared community. This is at the heart of who we are as Moravians!

The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church


There are, no doubt, other lessons to be learned from Faull’s excellent study of the speaking for life in our beloved Moravian Church today! Many thanks, Dr. Faull, for helping us begin the conversation. Truman Dunn, the first editor of The Hinge, is pastor of Messiah Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Judy Knopf What a joy it has been to read Katherine Faull’s Moses Lectures! In this past decade I have with great interest read her book containing spiritual autobiographies, Moravian Women’s Memoirs. In reading each Lebenslauf, I’ve often wondered what the specific content of a private conversation or a “speaking” could have been. I yearned for more specific details of the conversations. In Faull’s recent work some of these questions have been answered. We have very informative examples of how the ecclesiola in ecclesia practiced its care for each soul, body, mind, and spirit, in every sitz im leben. It taught the nurturing love and challenging call of Jesus to his followers. No matter what the developmental stage or life stage, there was someone to help. The choir helper directed or redirected the choir member to Jesus’ humanity and therefore understanding and affection for him or her. It is gratifying to reflect on the care of the soul and to consider how the spiritual roots in this community shaped and formed the lives of the individuals. Anna Boehler, who had a heartfelt experience with the Savior in childhood, could not go to her choir helper in the older girls’ choir. Yet, later she gained confidence in the choir helper in the single sisters’ choir. She returned to the Lord due to an earlier heartfelt experience with him. In community, widows were counseled that Jesus knew their every need and circumstance. Friedrich Schleiermacher, born in 1768, was nurtured in a Moravian community. Yet, it has been said of him that he “was forced to break with them and temporarily with his family when he found that his teachers carefully screened from their charges every breath of new intellectual life in Europe.”1 To me, Schleiermacher exemplifies one who purposefully left the community to discover the world; however, in many ways he ended up testing the gemeine’s teachings in the world. Richard R. Niebuhr calls Schleiermacher a leading theologian of the 19th century who defines the “Christian life as a feeling or consciousness whose entire content refers to Jesus Christ as its mediator.” Schleiermacher never seemed to be very far away from his early training in the choir, from the affections of the heart—of knowing a Savior who is near to him. It’s interesting how Zinzendorf believed that “common worship experiences of the community had a greater impact than the experiences of the individual.”2 Yet, as we discover more about the individual care that was available to each community member, a new set of questions arises. If gemeine can be defined in three ways— church, congregation, or community— how can one aspect stand without being


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

interwoven with the other two? Can worship maintain its vitality without nurturing and caring small groups within the congregation? Can nurturing and caring small groups maintain humility without the greater corporate experience? How can the choir system provide a model for Christian community in the 21st century? How can a church that lived together and shared every aspect of life together inform a 21st century Moravian congregation? Many congregants today live miles and miles away from their church building. We’ve moved beyond the fences and boundaries of that earlier communal life and the circle is ever expanding. And yet, some of us yearn for the piety and idealism of it. Since we no longer live in community, might we consider various ways in which to journey in community? I work with the spiritual formation program Gemeinschaft which has been available to Moravians since 1991 and is modeled after the small groups of the renewed church. Gemeinschaft groups commit to journey together in community for forty weeks. In these weeks we experience prayer, silence, sharing of stories, journal writing, and scripture study in tandem with the Moravian Covenant for Christian Living. When we come together each week, we sit in a circle remembering that Christ is with us, present in the center of our lives, loving us and caring for us, challenging us, helping us to love and care for each other. We continue to model after our ancestors in that earlier community who modeled after the early church that shared everything in common. Will our next challenge be to enter into the stream of small group spiritual formation through social networking? 1. Richard R. Niebuhr, Schleiermacher on Christ and Religion (New York: Scribners’, 1964).

2. Douglas H. Shantz, “A Church Ahead of Its Time: The 18th Century Moravian Community on Gender, Worship & Ecumenism, “ The Hinge, Vol. 12, no. 1 (Spring 2005), 9.

Judy M. Knopf is pastor of Good Shepherd Moravian in Kernersville, N.C., and is serving as volunteer coordinator of Gemeinschaft under the Board of Cooperative Ministries, Southern Province.

Jane Williams I had not thought much about why Moravian Theological Seminary is the location of one of the very few master’s degree pastoral counseling programs in the U.S. Nor did I grasp the significance of our Formative Spirituality/Spiritual Direction programs being housed in a Moravian seminary. In Katherine Faull’s Moses Lectures, however, I see how very congruent both programs are with Moravian tradition and theology. The praxis and intent of the 18th century speakings foreshadow in surprising ways the process and healing intent of 21st century pastoral counseling and spiritual direction. Common threads include the character and quality of the helping relationship, the foundational sense of the sacredness of all human experience, and the relational process employed to facilitate growth and maturation.

The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church


Character and quality of the relationship. Eighteenth century Moravians knew the importance of the relational quality of the speakings, and made the character of the choir helper of utmost importance. The choir helper was to embody integrity, emotional intelligence and sensitivity, trustworthiness, tactfulness, warmth, and an ability to keep confidences. The choir helper’s relationship with a choir member was to be gentle rather than probing, and discursive rather than authoritarian. Modern psychotherapy research has shown repeatedly that the empathic, authentic quality of the therapeutic relationship built on the foundations of the counselor’s unconditional positive regard for the other is what leads to healing and personal growth. Pastoral counselors often speak of being called by God to a healing role. Spiritual directors speak of the charism of the work of spiritual direction. Such language recognizes the sacred quality of the relationship with the other. So, too, Moravian choir helpers were to be called by Jesus to this holy lay vocation. The process of gentle guidance and patient facilitation by the choir helper was intended to place primary responsibility for self-understanding and growth on the member via God-graced individual self-examination and reflection before and during the monthly meeting with one’s choir helper. While not a relationship of equals, the choir helper–choir member relationship nonetheless embodied a mutuality within which both choir helper and choir member grew. In similar manner, pastoral counseling and spiritual direction relationships embody a relationship of care, guidance, and facilitation in which the trained counselor or director is in charge of creating a safe container for exploration of any and all of the client’s dilemmas, concerns, and hopes. Although a pastoral counselor or spiritual director may have the benefit of life experience and training, he or she (like the choir helper) would eschew an authoritarian role of telling counselees what to do, how to solve their problems, and how to live. Suggestions, observations, wonderings, and exploration were and are the more appropriate tools in such helping relationships. Sacredness of all human experience. Remarkably, in an age when the body was seen as inferior to the mind and the soul, Moravian Instructions offered a holistic view of human life. All human experience—eating, sleeping, exercising, running a household, having sex, praying, taking communion, the menarche, learning to read and write—were seen as holy and blessed by God in light of Jesus’ humanity. Consequently, all concerns and aspects of human experience were necessarily of concern in the speakings and the focus of guidance and discussion. Choir members learned to see all situations and concerns in a theological context. One of the distinctive elements of pastoral counseling and spiritual direction is theological reflection, a tool enabling the counselor or director to conceptualize and put in theological context what is ordinarily seen in purely secular terms. Used in regular case reflection, theological reflection becomes a rich resource that helps focus the counseling work and ground the therapist in faith perspectives. While the content of theological reflection is not often shared with the client, its fruits infuse the counseling relationship with the conviction that God is at work here and that what happens in counseling and in the client’s life is of ultimate meaning.


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

Process of facilitating growth. The speakings fostered personal and spiritual growth that unfolded over time in developmental stages peculiar to one’s age, gender, temperament, and social location. Physical, emotional, and spiritual maturity was not seen as an automatic process, however. Maturation required unflinching selfreflection, practice of spiritual disciplines such as prayer and scripture reading, and monthly guidance within a trusted personal relationship. Moravian awareness of human development and of the particularities related to gender, class, and so forth at this time may have derived from the lebenslauf tradition and attention to the sharing of one’s experiences in the speakings. The guidance offered a choir member was based not on adherence to doctrine or memorization and assent to a strict catechism, but rather on the community’s understanding of the normative stages of human development that would lead to spiritual, physical, and intellectual maturity. Moravians outlined their knowledge of healthy development in the Instructions to be used as a general outline (rather than rigid script) for the choir helper in his or her interactions with choir members. Interestingly, social science and psychology did not recognize and propose theoretical models for human development until the 20th century. I now have a deeper appreciation for what seemed pure serendipity: namely, that Moravian Theological Seminary houses programs in Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction. Our 21st century programs are rooted in a rich Moravian tradition that nourishes these two healing practices so very necessary in our wounded world. Jane Williams, an Episcopal priest, is associate professor of pastoral counseling and director of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling program at Moravian Theological Seminary.

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The Author Responds Thank you for the opportunity to respond to these thoughtful, challenging, and inspirational comments. My primary field of research is the history of gender and sexuality, into which I have tried to place the rich and mostly submerged discourses of the 18th century Moravian Church, especially as they pertain to questions of selfhood, body, and soul. To find such resonance to my scholarly research in the Moravian Church of today is an unexpected and yet also deeply gratifying gift, far more meaningful in many ways than the dry, scholarly comments of an anonymous reviewer. And I welcome this dialogue between scholarship and ministry as a mutually fruitful and educational opportunity. I have been working on the speakings and the Instructions for over a decade. When the late Vernon Nelson first made me aware of their existence, I was fascinated and surprised by the frankness and honesty of the tradition, and a little unsure of what to make of it. The 18th century in Europe and North America was deeply concerned about the effect that secularization, rationalism, the rise of private reading, and class revolution would have on the avenues available to institutions to regulate, theorize and deploy discourses of sexuality. Were the speakings and the Instructions the Moravian Church’s response to that anxiety? As Truman Dunn rightly points out, the practice of the speakings represents a vast intrusion into the private sphere of the bedroom, with powerful assumptions about hetero-normativity and sexual activity outside the bounds of marriage. And it is for precisely that reason that the Speakings were discontinued in the early 19th century in North America and Europe. Interestingly, they continued well into the 20th century in the mission fields (as we heard during the lively discussions over the lunch after my lectures) as a means to perhaps control the “two church” tensions of those locales. Given the cultural and historical context of the rise and demise of the speakings, could we not still examine this tradition of “spiritual maturation” within Gemeinschaft, as Judy Knopf points out? Can we speak frankly with each other in a way that need no longer be a product of the anxieties about the normative in one time and place, but rather about the development of a community of trust, love, and respect that works together to grow within itself and others Christ’s presence in the world?


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

Book Review: Faull, Katherine M., ed. Masculinity, Senses, Spirit. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2011. Reviewed by Theresa Crater Moravians are well represented in Masculinity, Senses, Spirit, both as authors and subject. This essay collection looks at how masculinity was thought about and embodied, with an emphasis on Atlantic culture in the eighteenth century, but continuing into the present day. Craig Atwood, holder of the Charles D. Couch chair in Moravian Studies at Moravian Theological Seminary, begins the collection with a look at Zinzendorf ’s concepts of gender and the divine, and how those ideas influenced life and worship in the Brüdergemeine and communities that sprang from them. In clear prose as simple and elegant as a beeswax candle, Atwood lays out Zinzendorf ’s scriptural and practical reasons for identifying the Holy Spirit as female, gently pushing aside Kinkel’s assertion that the source was the count’s reading of Luther. Rather Zinzendorf looks at the function of the Holy Spirit as the “comforter and giver of life, which are maternal roles” (13). Zinzendorf ’s religion of the heart is the practical reason to identify this aspect of the Trinity as female. The worshiper is not affected by the abstract language (“a finger, a dove, a mirror”) used to describe the Holy Spirit (13). I remember just this kind of confusion expressed at various times in church or Sunday school when I was younger. For Zinzendorf, identifying the Trinity as father, mother and son is simple, natural and direct—something everyone has experienced in this life and can understand. Atwood suggests a different, rather esoteric source for this down-to-earth, practical label: the writings of pietist Jakob Boehme. Boehme’s sources were spiritualism, growing in popularity in the Lutheran community at the time, and Jewish Kabbalism, which conceptualizes God in both masculine and feminine terms. I remember being in a church in the New Thought movement and hearing the phrase “Mother/Father God.” I thought, “How innovative; we should use that,” not realizing the innovative Moravians had already done so—in the eighteenth century. But the practice was discouraged after Zinzendorf ’s death. Atwood does not suggest a contemporary revival outright; might I? Atwood’s essay continues with a discussion of the leadership roles of women in colonial Moravian society and how this liturgy of the feminine influenced women’s lives. Then he moves on to the practice of the mystical marriage, how the teachings of Christ as Husband comforted people in a direct and practical way, imagining themselves gathered into an intimate embrace at death. This redemption is extended to the body and sexuality. The teachings that intercourse was a liturgy—the reenactment of union with the Husband Christ, in which the male served as Vice-Christ, the

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female as the Church—seemed to lead to liberation, not libertinism (for the most part). Again, a simple, practical and refreshing teaching. Here we have another example of an innovative practice apparently well ahead of its time: Sex is not just for procreation, but also for spiritual uplifting. Atwood’s discussion of the celibacy of the neighboring Ephrata community and Spangenberg’s tendency to favor celibacy, plus outside misunderstanding and reaction to the practice, sheds light on the urge to still push this period a bit under the rug. The discussion of androgyny and the temporary maleness of all men—that the soul is female and Christ is the true male—anticipates the next two essays, but also seems more at home with postmodern discourse of the social construction and performative nature of gender. Paul Peucker’s essay, “Wives of the Lamb: Moravian Brothers and Gender Around 1750,” gives evidence for an unusual series of events in Germany that had previously been suppressed in church history. Peucker is director and archivist of the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem and was previously archivist of the Unity Archives in Herrnhut. He is editor of the Journal of Moravian History and a faculty associate at Moravian College. Christian Renatus Zinzendorf and Joachim Rubusch, a fellow elder, not content to wait for death to become the wives of Christ and experience the soul’s feminine nature, performed several ceremonies for single men in the Unity that declared them to now be women. Peucker briefly discusses Zinzendorf ’s bridal mysticism as it applied to men and married couples, and follows this with a close examination of the three primary sources that relate this gender-changing ceremony. What is particularly striking in Peucker’s essay is the apparent discomfort some men had with the condition of being male and their strong yearning for their true spiritual condition— to be maidens and become the brides of Christ while still on earth. Some few felt real pain at their gender identity. Zinzendorf consoled them with the idea that Christ suffered as they did by assuming male form, although this seems in contradiction to his teachings that Jesus was the only true male. Peucker then agrees with Atwood that it would be a mistake to call Christ female, as Aaron Fogleman argues in his book Jesus Is Female: Moravians and Radical Religion in Eighteenth Century America. While it would be possible to give this interpretation of the idea that Jesus gave birth to the Church through the side wound, along with certain imagery involved in the blood and wounds worship of this time, the liturgy of the period does not call Jesus feminine, but the one, true male. In his afterword, Randolph Trumbach seems to misread Peucker by conflating a homosexual identity with the Moravian single brothers’ new status as women, even after he traces male sexual behavior, the shift from younger men engaging sexually with women and adolescent boys (14–24) to women only. He reminds us, as does Robert D. Tobin in his essay “Twins! Homosexuality and Masculinity in NineteenthCentury Germany,” that homosexuality did not exist as a concept until 1869. Prior to that time, people’s identity did not reside in their sexual behavior. Peucker does not discuss homosexual behavior among the single men who were now declared women.


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

He only refers to the “carte blanche” that Christian Renatus had granted them. In today’s language, these men who felt they were really women might have been called “transgendered,” but again this seems to be another way to misunderstand what was apparently a spiritual experience. Katherine M. Faull, a professor at Bucknell University who has written about Moravian history previously, is the volume’s editor. Her essay, “Temporal Men and the Eternal Bridegroom: Moravian Masculinity in the Eighteenth Century,” begins with another critique of Fogleman, then examines what she calls “vulnerable masculinity,” an identity that Faull says had long been available to men in spiritual communities. She examines how it came to the Moravian community when Johann Nitsche became ill at Herrnhut in 1743 and found great comfort in his visions of “Christ’s wounds and blood as a locus of deliverance” (57). From his utterances was born the Litany of the Wounds used in subsequent worship and important in the religion of the heart for a good while. Faull’s touchstone is Judith Butler’s gender theory, something an average Moravian might not be familiar with. Its use makes the essay a bit stiff, but if one considers Faull’s essay without tying the discussion so tightly to Butler, a beautiful history of Moravian gender construction and its comfort with ambiguity emerges. The choir system, the mystical marriage, and instructions for choir leaders, as well as hymns (of course), are all examined in light of how men especially were helped to deal with culturally induced shame about their bodies and sexual desires. As their choir leaders taught, Jesus was embodied as a male and experienced the same sensations and temptations the men were experiencing. Both Faull and Peucker discuss how Zinzendorf taught men that they had a special duty in their temporary maleness to support women who did more drudge work, but were in a special state of grace. Women did not have this transient male identity, but were wholly female and could give themselves to the Savior unreservedly. Men must be strong and protect the women to allow them this experience. At the same time, Zinzendorf also gave sermons on how the genders were becoming more similar, reinforcing his idea that certain concepts in scripture were not understood or perceived, but are discovered later. In apparent contradiction, Faull points out that women’s gender identity included the possibility of male strength in that “women must act like husbands to their feminized wives” (68). Heikki Lempa, professor of history at Moravian College, follows with his essay, “Techniques of Epicurean Masculinity: The Play Method in German Education, 1774–1820.” The “vulnerable masculinity” discussed by Faull is blamed, perhaps slantwise, for Germany’s loss to Napoleon in 1806. Men had grown too soft because of an Epicurean educational system too focused on pleasure. Toughing up was called for, and the new trend was Stoicism. Yet Lempa argues that Epicureanism remained important in education with its emphasis on play, especially in the teaching of languages. Stoicism replaced much of this play, and soon play could be found only in physical education. In “Engendering the Gastronome,” Philippe C. Dubois, professor at Bucknell University, suggests that the softer side of masculinity found a site of expression

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when the bachelor dandy, perhaps homosexual, found a place in the culinary scene. Robert D. Tobin’s reiteration of the history of homosexual behavior and the creation of homosexuality, and indeed heterosexuality, as an identity I have already mentioned. It is an excellent summary for those unfamiliar with recent work in sexuality studies. Claudia Bruns’ “The Politics of Eros: The German Mannerbund between AntiFeminism and Anti-Semitism in the Early Twentieth Century” provides fascinating insights into the appearance of male societies in post–World War I German society, the near-worship of the elder male leader, and their positioning of women, then of Jews as “not-male.” She traces how these societies influenced the creation of the SS and adulation of Hitler. But I find myself at risk of reiterating the entire essay collection. This is a rich, thought-provoking book, intellectually stimulating and instructive about our unique Moravian history as well as the shifts in how society constructs masculinity. What’s more, it soothed my heart. My childhood was in the 1950s and my church on the south side of Winston-Salem, N.C., where many of the congregants were factory workers and farmers. Gender roles were rigid, giving pain to some. But the civil rights movement and subsequent feminism blew open those doors. It was a happy thing for me to discover my own innovative ancestors had blown those doors open two hundred years earlier. Theresa Crater is professor of English at Metropolitan State College at Denver. She was born in Winston-Salem and confirmed at Trinity Moravian Church.

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The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

Letters to the Editor To the editor: Margaret Leinbach’s article in the fall edition has opened up for the church an avenue for discussing fairly the thorny issue regarding the possible ordination of gay and lesbian persons into the Moravian ministry. I appreciate the article and I offer two observations that may help to enlighten the issue. First, when considering either heterosexual or homosexual acts, we are dealing with an awkward, messy subject. The same was true, I imagine, when the church council, described in Acts, dealt with circumcision. Granted, in that case the issue was theological, not sexual. Yet, in both cases, sex organs are involved, and who wishes to talk about that?! We attempt to honor privacy and respect when it comes to the intimate relationships of others. With this in mind, shouldn’t we expect the church not to legislate in this area, as has already been the case with the remarriage of divorced persons? Let the PEC propose candidates for ordination on the evidence of their professional, intellectual, and spiritual preparation. And let the congregations decide whom they feel led to call. Let the church not meddle in personal affairs unless the person in question has given evidence of acting irresponsibly or disrespectfully of others. Second, lest we forget, we are an episcopal church—we have bishops. The matter of ordination is entrusted to our bishops, who take the recommendations of the PEC and then decide whether or not to ordain. It would seem ill advised for a synod to proceed with any proposal regarding ordination without first hearing from the bishops in whose hands ordination lies. It is high time that we hear from our bishops on the matter of the possible ordination of gays and lesbians. After hearing from them, it should be our hope that we will then make decisions that are reasonable, biblical, faithful, and wise in concert with those whom we have already chosen as our spiritual overseers. —Rev. Dr. Willard R. Harstine Dear Editor: The Rev. Margaret Leinbach’s presentation on a model for discerning the matter of same-sex marriage and the ordination of homosexual individuals has been well studied and is helpful. Her purpose was to help members of the Moravian Church study these matters with a biblical example in hand. Dean Crouch, in his response to Rev. Leinbach, seems to build a defense for those who use experience as a basis for their decision. It can be noted that neither Sister Leinbach nor Brother Crouch referred to the fact that if God wants the church to change major issues, God will direct the church to do so. In the case of accepting Gentiles into the church, God spoke to Cornelius and Peter by visions, indicating that God wanted Gentiles included in the church. In the same way, when Christ spoke to Saul on the road to Damascus, Christ said to him that he was to

The Hinge: International Theological Dialog for the Moravian Church


become a witness to the Gentiles. In later years as Peter and Saul (Paul) spoke of their revelations to the church, the church saw that it was to change and include Gentiles. We can say that if God wants the church to make a major change in what it believes or practices, God will direct the church to do so—in a quite evident and specific way. Until God shows in some obvious, probably dramatic, way that God wants change, change should not be considered. On August 13, 1727, God caused the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s powers to be very evident to a group of believers gathered in Berthelsdorf, Germany. The people were united in expressing what had taken place and how their lives had changed. It was a dramatic moment through which God wanted to speak to that gathering of Christians. As a result, the Moravian Church was renewed and the effects from that day, on the nature and purpose of the church, remain paramount today. God does let it be known when God has directions to be given to the church. We have not experienced a definite revelation from God regarding this matter. Therefore we should not seek change in this matter until the church can say, “Because God has shown to us in a quite definite way, we agree as a united church that change should take place.” “God is doing a new thing” is a term which has been brought into the discussion. I don’t know who has the authority to say that, nor how they can say that God is doing a new thing. The Unitas Fratrum, being among the early Protestant denominations, was often asked to side with this group or that group in matters of theology or practice. It always felt it was called and set apart by God to abide by what had been revealed and earnestly sought to protect that. It never thought “we should be like other churches.” “Unity” is a cherished concept and reality for Moravians. It has held true when wars divided portions of our church. It is obvious from other denominations that the decision to marry same-sex individuals and ordain those who practice similar lifestyles tears deeply into the unity of a denomination. Congregations are lost and members leave. A layman said to me recently that our American provinces continue to lose members, and he fears what will happen if these changes are adopted. Again, as we find in the Book of Acts and the dramatic event of August 13, 1727, God will speak if God wants the Word or major matters changed. With concern, and appreciation for consideration of this statement, I am Sincerely yours, Christian D. Weber


The 2011 Moses Lectures: Instructions for Body & Soul

A New Book Series from the Pennsylvania State University Press

Pietist, Moravian, and Anabaptist Studies The Penn State University Press is pleased to announce Pietist, Moravian, and Anabaptist Studies, a new book series edited by historical theologian Craig D. Atwood. Highlighting the multidisciplinary approaches that have helped transform our understanding of the Atlantic world, books in this series will use varied academic frameworks to examine the history and theology of these related groups and the global reaches of their religious and cultural influence. This series seeks innovative, original works of scholarship that will help bring new perspectives to the study of Pietism and radical Protestantism. The series also welcomes strong edited collections, translated primary source editions, and special translation projects of classic works of foreign-language scholarship for an English-language audience. Maintaining a strong focus on Pietist, Moravian, and Anabaptist research, books in this series will be significant contributions to numerous fields and will help enrich the dynamic and international study of post-Reformation Protestantism.  

Craig D. Atwood Director of the Center for Moravian Studies Moravian Seminary

   Bill Leonard Wake Forest University Katherine Faull Bucknell University A. Gregg Roeber Penn State University Jonathan Strom Emory University Hermann Wellenreuther Georg-August-Universität Göttingen Rachel Wheeler Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

Questions or submissions should be directed to Penn State Press: Kathryn B. Yahner, Acquisitions Editor Penn State Press  N. University Dr. USB , Suite C University Park, PA  kby -- or to the series editor: Craig D. Atwood Moravian Seminary  W. Locust Street Bethlehem, PA  -- Submissions should take the form of a - page proposal outlining the intent of the project, its scope, its relation to other work on the topic, and the audience(s) you have in mind. Please also include - sample chapters, if available, and your updated C.V.

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The Hinge Volume 18, Issue 2: Instructions for Body and Soul: 18th Century MoravianCare of the Self  

The 2011 Moses Lectures

The Hinge Volume 18, Issue 2: Instructions for Body and Soul: 18th Century MoravianCare of the Self  

The 2011 Moses Lectures