It is now commonplace in German Protestant churches to find private, non-liturgical candles burning in wordless prayer. These candles, lit by individuals who might spend little time in church themselves, represent a transformation of classical Protestantism that highlights shifts between public (congregational) and private (individual) religiosity, and perhaps between what we might call “institutional theology” and “individualistic spirituality.” If Martin Luther (1483-1546) were to visit a Protestant church in present-day Germany, he might be shocked to see the new forms of spirituality that have emerged there.
Jörg Schneider is a practical theologian at the Protestant Faculty of Theology at the University of Tübingen (Germany). He is interested in church architecture, sociology of religion, interdenominational and ecumenical questions, and liturgy and homiletics. He translates texts of the Carthusian tradition from French into German. He also advises a religious children's book publisher. His recent publications center on piety and spirituality.