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Photo: Starting to read this worn-out book

Sales of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” manifesto are skyrocketing. But why?

January 16, 2014 

mein-kampfIs it a sign of surging global anti-Semitism, or merely evidence of historical curiosity, enabled by the privacy afforded by the emergence of the “e-book”?

Only time will tell, but one thing is certain — e-book sales of Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler’s anti-Jewish manifesto, are skyrocketing.

“Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic political testament, Mein Kampf, is surging up electronic book bestseller lists, even as sales of the printed version have been stagnant for years,” reported ABC News on January 10th. “As of Wednesday, two electronic versions of Mein Kampfranked 12th and 15th in the Politics & Current events section of the iTunes book store. On Amazon, Hitler’s polemic ranked number one in the Propaganda & Political psychology section.  There are currently six e-book versions of Mein Kampf.”

“One explanation offered for the surge in electronic sales concerns the relative anonymity offered by e-books as compared to their printed counterparts, ” notes ABC. “‘These are things that people would be embarrassed to read otherwise,’ journalist Chris Faraone, who wrote about the trend for Vocativ.com told ABC News. ’Books that people would probably be a bit more embarrassed to read or display or buy in public, they are more than willing to buy on their Kindle, or iPads.’ Faraone believes the phenomenon is similar to that surrounding erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, which in 2012, became the first to sell more than 1 million copies on Amazon’s Kindle e-reader. ’50 Shades of Grey is something you would probably be embarrassed to read in public,’ said Faraone, but added that the anonymity offered by e-readers ensures that readers with a latent interest in controversial subject matter can read the books freely without arousing suspicion. Let’s say you have a latent curiosity, [Mein Kampf] is very present in ebook stores, you don’t have to go out of your way to find it, it’s a no-brainer, Faraone said.”

“Hitler wrote Mein Kampf while imprisoned following the failed attempt of the then-fledgling Nazi party to seize power in Munich in 1923,” notes ABC. “Its anti-Semitic themes and racial ideas became the blueprint for National Socialist ideology.  It became the most popular book in Germany after Hitler became Chancellor in 1933. The book has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years.  In 2005, when it was first published in Turkey, it sold 100,000 copies in two months alone, the Guardian reported, citing the book’s publishers. Jewish leaders have expressed alarm that companies would profit from surging digital sales of Mein Kampf.”

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Breakfast with Bonhoeffer is Jon Walker’s third book based on the life and works of German pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His previous books are Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship” (2010) and In Visible Fellowship: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s Classic Work “Life Together” (2011).

Chapter three of Breakfast with Bonhoeffer is titled, “Double-Minded”.  Below are some quotes from the chapter…

…This morning Bonhoeffer reminds us that as long as we live with our delusions, we hinder ourselves from engaging the Kingdom of Heaven in the now (40).

…This cheap grace, Bonhoeffer says, “is the preaching of forgiveness with requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate” (41).

…we’re like an obese man who can understand the need to exercise, talk about exercise, and even plan to exercise, but who does not actually begin to exercise. It does him no good (42).

…When we aren’t focused on what is real–on Kingdom reality–it’s like we have bipolar faith. We swing from belief to unbelief, from hot to to cold without ever being either. Jesus says our lukewarm faith makes him want to puke (46).

…I borrow this question from Dallas Willard, who asks in his book, The Divine Conspiracy: Have you ever considered that Jesus is the smartest man in the world? Would the very fact that we follow conventional wisdom instead of the commands of Jesus indicate that we don’t believe he is? (50).

From a recent "World" magazine

From a recent “World” magazine

Christian America and the Cruciform Church

January 9, 2014 By  

“Christian America” is that form of American Christianity that operates by way of seeking to show the importance of Christianity for culture at large in terms of its strength, sustainable solutions and resilience to gain and maintain control. But is this the way God in Christ always or even chiefly operates?

Perhaps we can learn from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s approach to German Christianity and the surrounding culture in the mid-twentieth century. Bonhoeffer wrote about being dead to the “God of the gaps” kind of Christianity. “God of the gaps” Christianity seeks to present Christianity as playing a strong savior role whereby it fills the gaps and provides the missing links for all of society’s questions and concerns. This entails the view of God riding into town and miraculously saving the day (deus ex machina). On this view, God delivers his people from their (and his) enemies—in Bonhoeffer’s case, the Nazis. In contrast, in Letters and Papers from Prison, Bonhoeffer writes that God allows us to push him out of the world and onto the cross. For Bonhoeffer, at this stage in his journey, God is weak and powerless in the world. For Bonhoeffer, “man’s religiosity makes him look in his distress to the power of God in the world: God is thedeus ex machina. The Bible directs man to God’s powerlessness and suffering; only the suffering God can help.”

For readers who don’t know it, Bonhoeffer’s story is what really makes the God-in the-gallows lesson come live.

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It has been a hard last couple of days. I received bad news in the family and I received bad news in the church!

I wanted to quit the ministry. Similar thoughts have become more and more frequent in the past few years.

I am 54 years old.

Will I retire as a pastor? The odds are against it!

Yet, God still reigns and I know that trials are part of the game.

One verse I have mediated on recently is Isaiah 26:3…

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” 

Pressing on!

“One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons.” 

Breakfast with Bonhoeffer is Jon Walker’s third book based on the life and works of German pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His previous books are Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship” (2010) and In Visible Fellowship: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s Classic Work “Life Together” (2011).

Chapter two of Breakfast with Bonhoeffer is titled, “Double Vision”. 

…Most of us try to live with one eye on Jesus and one eye on the world. The only thing that does is give us double vision. Following Jesus down the narrow path and through the narrow gate into the Kingdom of Heaven with double vision is more difficult than a drunk trying to stay steady and straight while touching his nose or walking heel-to-toe down the line (33).

…Every step is unstable and unsure. Everything you see is skewed by two images, neither one representing the exact likeness of that at which you are looking (33-34).

…We stumble along, trying to walk a straight line but instead staggering between what is right and what we think is right. And we call this normal; we call this discipleship. I think about this when Bonhoeffer says we should have a singular vision on Jesus. We were never meant to walk with double vision…double vision is unfocused (35).

…Jesus tells us again and again that we have to look past the things of the world into the eternal reality of the Kingdom (37).   

Welcome to the DBCL website, the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Centre London (DBCL). In 2013 an independent centre was founded at the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Church in London to study and promote Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life and writings. The life and work of Bonhoeffer have received global attention in both the Christian churches and in universities. The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Church in London stimulates participation of those interested in Bonhoeffer in a variety of fields. It serves academic research as well as Church related activities both in the United Kingdom and on an international level.

by 

In the WSJ, Alex Kazam writes of a new biography titled “No Ordinary Men” on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and brother-in-law Hans von Dohnayi’s efforts to resist the Nazis during World War II.

3 titles on our nightstand: On Diedrich Bonhoeffer, David Horowitz and the Muslim Brotherhood

Among the books and films this story has inspired, Ms. Sifton and Mr. Stern’s narrative stands out for its elegance, brevity and measured tone: exciting but not sensational, moving but not sentimental, erudite but not academic. It is also enriched by the authors’ connections to some of its central figures and events. Ms. Sifton is the daughter of Reinhold Niebuhr, and Mr. Stern fled Nazi Germany as a child in the 1930s.

Bonhoeffer and Dohnanyi are sometimes celebrated as “martyrs.” But in Ms. Sifton and Mr. Stern’s telling, the two men never allowed themselves to speak of their sacrifices that way. In Dohnanyi’s more modest formulation, they had simply taken “the path a decent person inevitably takes.” And yet, as the authors soberingly conclude, “so few traveled that path—anywhere.”

Over at Frontpage, author Theodore Dalrymple gave a comprehensive analysis of David Horowitz’s new book “The Black Book of the American Left.” Dalyrmple writes:

3 titles on our nightstand: On Diedrich Bonhoeffer, David Horowitz and the Muslim Brotherhood

“Horowitz’s essays collected here, written over twenty-five years, are dedicated to demonstrating that this leftism was not an ‘infantile disorder,’ to quote Lenin, or a mild and mostly harmless childhood illness like mumps, but more usually like a chronic condition with lingering after-effects and flare-ups. Those who suffered it only very rarely got over it fully, the late Christopher Hitchens being a good example of one who did not. He, Hitchens, could never bring himself to admit that he had for all his life admired and extolled a man who was at least as bad as Stalin, namely Trotsky; and his failure to renounce his choice of maître à penser became in time not just a youthful peccadillo of a clever adolescent who wanted to shock the adults but a symptom of a deep character flaw, a fundamental indifference to important truth. With the exception of Hitchens, for whom he has a soft spot and to whom in my opinion he is over-indulgent, Horowitz does not want any of the leftists to get away with it by rewriting not only history but their own biographies.”

Last but not least…

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