#MeToo

See my account of sexual harassment here.

Katie Luther--First Lady of the Protestant Reformation

2017 marks the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther's posting his 95-Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, which, more than any other event, ignited the Protestant Reformation. Luther was truly the Giant of the Protestant Reformation. Without his fierce determination, it is difficult to imagine how the sixteenth-century Reformation would have taken hold in Germany---or anywhere else in western Europe, for that matter. And Katharina von Bora, second only to Luther himself, was the most influential individual of the German Reformation. That's exactly what I say in this book, subtitled: The Unconventional Life of Katharina von Bora (a play on words here, un-convent; she did, after all, escape the convent). Indeed, her escape which has sometimes been summed up as a midnight caper was anything but that: 12 nuns who had taken vows of silence planned with tight-lipped outsiders to carry out a capital crime---the kidnapping of nuns.

Due to very serious physical and mental afflictions, it is doubtful that Luther could have carried out the Reformation without his very strong and competent wife, Katie. She was a shrewd business woman who ran the Black Cloister monastery like a Holiday Inn; she bought farms; raised crops, cattle, swine and poultry; she planted gardens and vineyards, brewed beer, served as a midwife and was mother of six biological children and several orphans.

Before all that came heart-pounding romance---though not with Martin Luther. Words were whispered and a promise was made, that is until Jerome returned home to visit his well-heeled parents and told them he would be marrying an impoverished run-away nun. Her marriage to Martin at age 25 was no romance at all; he was a brutish man who, by his own account, had not changed his sweaty, smelly bedding for more than a year. She was determined to change him, and she did. His friends and colleagues thought her to be a domineering woman, but Martin adored her, and she him.

It's an absolutely amazing story. You'll come to esteem and love this incredible woman who has been all but forgotten in the annals of history.

Here is what the Library Journal posted:


Apart from a few historical scraps, we know very few details about the life of Katharina von Bora (1499–1552), wife of Protestant reformer Martin Luther. With this account, independent scholar Tucker (From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya) has two aims: to provide a fuller expression of Katharina, and to explain why so little of her history is left to us. Tucker accomplishes the former by reviewing letters to or about Katharina and interpolating from the lives of her contemporaries, such as reformation supporters Katherine Zell, Argula von Grumbach, and Renée of Fererra. The result is something of a historical cameo of Katharina and her times, if not a full biography. This prompts Tucker’s second question and the tentative conclusion that Katharina was ignored because she did not fit the mold of a pious wife. VERDICT Tucker’s thoughtful exploration of Katharina von Bora provides those curious about the Protestant Reformation and women’s studies a sympathetic view of a neglected life.—JW

Black & White Bible, Black and Blue Wife

This is my latest book, available on Amazon March 1. An excerpt has been posted on the Zondervan website.

It was a difficult book to write, very personal---not like my others, most of them related to church history. But I hope this one will help other women who are enduring domestic violence or that it will cause women to stop dead in their tracks if the man they love shows signs of abusive behavior.

Without John and his long-suffering patience, I never could have written the book. And Carlton prodded me along as well. He remembered some terrible times that I had forgotten. Both husband and son are standing behind me one hundred percent.

See also Black and White Bible website.

Click for Amazon.

Current Photos


 Here I am in all my guises, the largest one and the picture of me standing against a tree being the most recent. I describe myself as a multi-tasker with a short attention span and a type-A personality.  Thus my wide variety of interests and activities.

Besides writing and speaking, my husband and I have a wonderful gift shop, Carlton Gardens, that features yard art (AND clothes and jewelry and pillows and furniture and collectibles and antiques, etc., etc.).

I'm also an artist, specializing in outdoor art.  Identifying myself as an artist might seem presumptuous to serious artists, but it sells.  So I guess that makes me an artist.



Parade of Faith

Below is my baby---the church history text that I have been carrying to term now for decades. Here are the first two paragraphs of the Introduction:
When Saint Bruno in his younger years was studying in Paris the city was caught up in a sea of mourning.  A renowned monastic scholar, much admired for his holy life, had died. But as the funeral cortege proceeded to the tomb, the dead scholar rose out of the coffin and cried out,  “By God’s righteous judgment, I am accursed.”  Utterly astounded, the officiating clerics delay the funeral until the following day.  But the same shocking episode occurs again, and still again, the day after.  So terrified—and convicted of sin—is Bruno that he goes straightaway into the desert to meditate and soon thereafter in 1084 founds the Carthusians, a cloistered order of monks and nuns.  On September 14, 1224, while praying on the mountain of Verna, Saint Francis receives the stigmata—the very wounds of the crucified Christ.  On July 2, 1505, Martin Luther, having been struck down by lightning, promises Saint Anne he will become a monk. Some two centuries later, American evangelist William Tennent awakens in the night realizing the toes on one foot are missing—snatched by the Devil.

The history of Christianity is a fascinating narrative roiling with legends and lies, facts, figures, daring feats and disputations.  Wild and well-nigh impenetrable, it snares the unsuspecting reader by its captivating content. Indeed, having once started down the rabbit trail of church history, it turns into an exhilarating hunt.  That is why studying the subject is not only a serious enterprise but also entertaining—and addictive.


My husband John Worst, music professor emeritus at Calvin College, often joins me in my speaking engagements. Here we are when someone snapped separate pictures of us when we were speaking at Bethel Seminary in San Diego a couple of years ago.


My writing includes not only books but also articles and columns---and poetry.  Here is one of my poems, still a work in progress.

   Broken Jesus

Ceramic mobile hanging in hallway,
Jesus, rainbow, little children of the world:
Red and yellow black and white
They are precious in his sight.

Reaching to dust,
False move.
Broken Jesus,
Shattered rainbow,
Little children maimed.

News blaring:
Water crisis, parched soil, pitiless sun.
Little children crying for bread.
Broken Jesus.




Below are memories from my childhood--what is left of the farm buildings and below is the boarded-up church west of Spooner where I grew up in Northern Wisconsin.




Here lies the remains of the house in which I grew up. An arsonist decided to have some fun late one night more than 20 years ago now when brother Jonnie was using the house as a weekend get away.








Green Grove Alliance Church where I attended VBS and made many friends, now long closed.