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Dietrich Bonhoeffer realized eventually that he must have a more active involvement in the conspiracy against Adolf Hitler. Bonhoeffer’s good friend, Eberhard Bethge put it this way

Bonhoeffer introduced us in 1935 to the problem of what we do today call political resistance…The escalating persecution of the Jews generated an increasingly hostile situation, especially for Bonhoeffer himself. We now realized that mere confession, no matter how courageous, inescapably meant complicity with the murderers. 

(Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, 358).

Sixth Annual WFPS Conference
October 14-15, 2011

The Sixth Annual Western Fellowship of Professors and Scholars will be held in Manhattan, KS on October 14-15, 2011, Friday afternoon through Saturday early afternoon. This is a preliminary call for papers and presentations.

Dr. Christiane TietzThis year’s theme is: Discipleship and Freedom: Bonhoeffer Then and Now. Dr. Christiane Tietz Professor of Systematic Theology & Social Ethics at the University of Mainz, Germany will be our keynote speaker.

Dr. Tietz is a leading scholar of the life and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. She has served as an editor of the Bonhoeffer yearbook, chairperson of the International Bonhoeffer Society, and director of the International Bonhoeffer Congress.

This is a preliminary call for papers and presentations. As usual, papers will be accepted on a wide range of topics that have a bearing on the practice and understanding of the Christian faith, whether they are closely related to the conference theme or not. Works-in-progress and interdisciplinary projects are welcome. Papers dealing with technical matters should be presented in a way that is accessible to an educated and interested audience who may not have specialized training in technical fields.

For the full page…

I plan to be there to present a paper!

Well, not only did Hitler want every Jew dead…

Just as Hitler had been planning for years to enslave the Poles and kill the Jews, he had been planning to murder every German with a disability…As early as 1929 he had publicly proposed that 700,000 of the “weakest” Germans be “removed” per year. Before the war, the outcry over such actions would have been deafening. But now, with everyone’s attention on the war, this domestic nightmare could begin; the fog of war would cover a multitude of sins at home too,

Preparations for the T-4 euthanasia program had been under way for years. Now they hit the ground running. In August 1939 every doctor and midwife was notified that they must register all children born with genetic defects–retroactive to 1936. In September, when the war began, the killing of these “defectives” began.

In the next few years five thousand small children were killed. It wasn’t until later that fall that attention was formally focused on the other “incurables.”

Incredible! This was the society that Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived in!

(Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, 354).

Below is a re-post of blog when the movie first hit the theaters.

Below is a good read from the Deafening Silence blog about how Dietrich Bonhoeffer was not a character in the movie, Valkyrie…

Valkyrie’s Forgotten Man: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The film Valkyrie claims to tell the story of the ‘July 20’ plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.  Prior to its release I spent some time watching trailers for the film on YouTube.  Among the promotional clips was a featurette describing the conspirators in the plot.

One name was missing: Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Hans von Dohnanyi married Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s sister, Christine. In 1939, after Germany invaded Poland, Dohnanyi began to tell Dietrich things that he had not known before: horrors that Hitler had unleashed on humanity.

This impacted Bonhoeffer.

He now believed that the principal goal was to remove Hitler from power!

(Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, 350-351).

In September of 1939, Germany was in the process of invading Poland. Dietrich Bonhoeffer has a yearlong deferral from military service.

What would he do after the year was up?

He could be a military chaplain! But his application was denied because only those in active duty could serve as chaplains.

The war put Bonhoeffer in a strange position. He has always been a man of seeming contradictions, and the war would magnify them. He knew he could not serve in Hitler’s Germany, but he was extraordinarily supportive when it came to the young men who did not see things his way.

His future decisions would not be easy! He certainly desired to make sure that his actions were in obedience to Jesus.

(Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, 349).

The plan was for the SS, dressed in Polish uniforms, to attack a German radio station on the Polish border. To make the whole thing authentic, they would need German “casualties.” They decided to use concentration camp inmates, whom they vilely referred to as Konserve (canned goods). These victims of Germany would be dressed as Germans soldiers. In the end only one man was murdered for this purpose, via lethal injection, and afterward shot several times to give the appearance that he had been killed by Polish soldiers. 

The deliberate murder of a human being for the purpose of deceiving the world seems a perfectly fitting inaugural act for what was to follow. This took place on schedule, August 31 (1939).

In “retaliation,” German troops marched into Poland at dawn on September 1.

(Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, 347).

Rodney Clapp has written an excellent about Bonhoeffer‘s love for nicotine…

The nicotine journal

This summer I reread Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison in Fortress Press’s extra­ordinary new edition of his collected works. Letters and Papers remains almost endlessly suggestive and stimulating theologically. But in this reading I noticed how often the imprisoned Luth­eran pastor mentioned tobacco. There are, in fact, no fewer than 20 entries in the index under “Smoking.”

“I am very grateful for any smoking supplies,” Bonhoef­fer mentions in one letter. In another he adds his “special thanks for the smoking supplies and to all the kind donors of cigarettes,” and elsewhere he offers gratitude for “cookies, peaches, and cigarettes.”

Bonhoeffer often re­inforces his gratitude with superlatives and exclamation points. “Maria’s and Mother’s cigarettes were magnificent,” he writes. “I thank Anna very much for the cigarettes.” And: “I thank you very much for everything, also for the cigars and cigarettes from your trip!” He praises a Wolf cigar for its “magical fragrance” and on another occasion declares, “I’ve lit the big cigar and am enjoying it immensely—thanks very much!” When his dear friend Eber­hard Bethge delivers a cigar sent by Karl Barth, Bon­hoeffer finds it so fine that he staggers at its “truly im­probable reality.”

For the rest of the article…

After Dietrich Bonhoeffer returned to Germany after spending just twenty six days in New York, he returned to Sigurdshof to resume his work…“But unbeknownst to him, Hellmut Traub had ably taken over where Bonhoeffer had left off. Traub recalled his surprise at seeing Bonhoeffer suddenly returned to them…”

And then one day after a short message that he was returning, Bonhoeffer stood before us. This was quite unexpected–indeed, there was something extraordinary about him, even when the circumstances were quite ordinary. I was immediately up in arms, blurting out how he come back after it had cost so m uch trouble to get him into safety–safety for us, for our cause; here everything was lost anyway

He calmly lit a cigarette. The he said that he made a mistake in going to America. He did not himself understand now why he had done it!

(Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, 344-345).

Dietrich Bonhoeffer attended the Riverside Church in 1939 in New York City where the liberal preacher Henry Emerson Fosdick was the pastor. The sermon was far from Biblical. He could not believe that tolerance was more important than God’s truth. On one Saturday, he wrote in his dairy…

Tomorrow is Sunday. I wonder if I shall hear a sermon!

(Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, 339).

August 2011


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