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An Essay by Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “A Reckoning Made at New Year 1943″

Posted on June 9, 2013 by 

The long run. The lifelong commitment.  The big picture. The foundational truths. These are the elements that feed the reactors that are burning deep within the hearts and minds of those who make a difference, whether or not they are flamboyant as they do it.  Such  people are deliberately self-aware but not self-conscious, because their focus is on what desperately needs to be done in response to what others are doing.

Bonhoeffer1Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy is the title by Eric Metaxas that documents the short life and astounding work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who lived all four of those identities to the full.

It is a mistake to think of Hitler having a meteorically sudden rise to power, and it is a great misreading of events to think that those who actively resisted him did so out of the anxiety of a moment, implementing plans only drawn up under the pressure of we must do something right now.  Bonhoeffer and and others who actively resisted both inside and outside of government and military service, were far more thoughtful than such a perception would suggest.

What follows is a two page excerpt from Metaxas’ 2010 biography and may provide some food for thought as we find our places in our own national mess, perhaps feeling as he did, that we have so little ground under our feet because of the entrenched betrayals and deceptions that are dissolving the world as we knew it.

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“After Ten Years”

Bonhoeffer had written an essay a few months before his arrest, titled “After Ten Years: A Reckoning Made at New Year 1943.”  At Christmas 1942 [he was arrested in April of 1943], he gave copies to Bethge, Dohnanyi, and Hans Oster, and he hid a fourth copy in the ceiling of his attic room.  The essay is an assessment of what they had been through and learned in the extraordinary experiences of the ten years since Hitler’s ascension, and it helps us see more of the thinking that led him and all of them to the extraordinary measures they had been taking and would continue to take against the Nazi regime.  And it confirms Bonhoeffer’s crucial role in the conspiracy, that of its theologian and moral compass.  He helped them see precisely why they had to do what they were doing; why it was not expedient, but right; why it was God’s will.

For the rest of the post…

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