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One of the more powerful passages from the special is when you summarize the events by calling it a story of progress, and how it's with great struggle that societies earn freedom as they evolve. I happen to be an enthusiast of the advent of humanism, the Renaissance, and the Reformation.I'm equally inspired by the –style heroics of French Revolutionaries and the civil liberties struggles of our time.
The more I think about these strands of progress, the more it's clear to me that they are interwoven.
Is that a conclusion that seemed obvious to you immediately, or was it the kind of summation that only became evident to you as you really examined these events and places?
I was concerned that, in an attempt to give my TV special a tidy conclusion, I might romanticize and oversimplify what I consider "the birth of the Modern Age" via Renaissance/humanism/Reformation.
But having finished the project and screened it with many thoughtful audiences, I think the conclusion hits the historical impact of the Reformation on the head. " That would be a fine conclusion for a church audience.
Did your approach to this special differ in any notable ways from how you typically create your shows?
My regular shows are 30-minute episodes simply featuring a particular travel destination. It's weightier in subject matter, more delicate in things to consider (being a strong witness in secular media without proselytizing), and tougher to make easy to view (as there is no action and the script is much harder to "cover" with images).
Sharing it at home with friends and family explains things we feel and believe that we may have had a tough time verbalizing.
And sharing it as a congregation is like strengthening our roots with history that is still an inspiration.
Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther kicked off the Protestant Reformation, which contributed to the birth of our modern age.
In this one-hour special — filmed on location in Europe — Rick Steves tells the story of a humble monk who lived a dramatic life.