It is a great and mighty day for Lutherans and plastic toy aficionados alike. The Independent is reporting that the new Martin Luther figurine has become the fastest-selling Playmobil toy of all time. The first run of the little figures—34,000 tiny hammerers of theses in all—sold out in less than three days.
Luther made history by kick-starting the Protestant Reformation and permanently changing the face of Christianity. With the smashing success of his posthumous Playmobil, he makes history yet again. The Independent says that the remarkable sales figures have been “confounding” to the toy company, which issued mini Martin in the run-up to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. But it’s now evident that demand for theology-themed toys is hot hot hot.
There are plenty of ways for Playmobil to capitalize. I asked my friend Seth James, a practicing Lutheran and the son of a Lutheran minister, for ideas, and he told me that there would likely be high demand for a Diet of Worms playset. The company could also issue figurines of Luther in the Junker Jörg disguise he wore to hide from his papist foes, and perhaps a companion toy portraying his wife, Katie Luther, who broke her vows as a nun to marry him.
“I like the fact that Playmobil Martin Luther is smiling, because usually he’s portrayed as a crabby fellow, which he was,” James said. “Having him have a cute little smiling face and a cute little hat makes the infamously angry reformer a lot more approachable.” Still, one important accessory is missing: a beer stein. Like any good medieval Christian, Luther was a devotee of suds.
“Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long, does not sin; whoever does not sin, enters Heaven! Thus, let us drink beer!” the reformer once said.
Though Lutherans have faced some tough breaks—in particular, the seemingly inexorable decline in attendance that also dogs other mainline Protestant denominations—today they can take heart knowing that their forebear’s spirit lives on in toy aisles everywhere.