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“Sin demands to have a man by himself. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him.”

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Julie Tafel (Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Grandmother)…had inherited the alert critical sensibilities of  her ancestors. She actively participated in discussions on women’s issues and devoted herself to practical and organizational matters, like establishing a home for older women or vocational centers for girls.   

~ Eberhard Bethge, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography (Revised Edition); Chapter 1: Childhood and Youth: 1906-1923, 12.

“Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than they love the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest, and sacrificial.”

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Bonhoeffers had immigrated from Holland (van den Boenhoff from Nimwegen) in 1513 and settled as goldsmiths in Schwäbisch Hall. After the seventeenth century they became pastors, doctors, city council members and mayors. 

~ Eberhard Bethge, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography (Revised Edition); Chapter 1: Childhood and Youth: 1906-1923, 9.

“Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness, and pride of power, and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear … Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now.”

“I have come to the conclusion that I made a mistake in coming to America. I must live through this difficult period in our national history with the people of Germany. I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people.”

An interesting read that goes to show that DB and his teachings can be interpreted differently. BG 

“Dietrich Bonhoeffer mit Schülern im Frühjahr 1932.” On this day in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was sent to the camp where he would be executed. What is his legacy today?Wikimedia Commons

The German pastor and theologian is famous for his rich, profound, provocative writings, and the challenge his own life presents as the pacifist who was killed for his involvement in a plot to assassinate Hitler.

On this day, February 7, 1945, Bonhoeffer was taken to Buchenwald concentration camp, where the Nazis tortured, experimented on and killed tens of thousands of its prisoners. Three months later Bonhoeffer was executed there, just days before the war ended and the Allies liberated the camp. The sombre anniversary provokes a reflection on the legacy of Bonhoeffer for the Church and the world.

As a hero who stood firm for his faith in a time of crisis, Bonhoeffer has often been used as a guide for the political present. Conservative evangelical writer Eric Metaxas authored the Bonhoeffer biography Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy but received criticism for his depiction of the theologian as a close ally of American conservative evangelicals. In the 2016 election, Metaxas implored Christians to vote for Donald Trump, calling the choice a ‘Bonhoeffer moment’ of grave moral significance, and likening Hilary Clinton to Adolf Hitler.

Metaxas was excoriated by Bonhoeffer scholar Charles Marsh, who explained why Metaxas’ appropriation of Bonhoeffer as a “white evangelical family values Republican” was inappropriate and delusional.

As experts on the man and his message, the International Bonhoeffer Society is well placed to explore the relevance of the German theologian to today. Last week the group issued a statement relating Bonhoeffer’s legacy to current political events in the United States. It emphasised that the best way to relate Bonhoeffer to today is not to draw direct political analogies, but to consider Bonfoeffer’s self-understanding “as a citizen in his own times” and draw on that.

Resistance to Trump

“We speak noting that Dietrich Bonhoeffer himself taught the profound relatedness of all human persons and, indeed, of peoples and nations. We therefore feel called to raise our voices in support of justice and peace, and in resistance to every form of unjust discrimination and aggressive nationalism,” the statement began.

“The United States has undergone an unusually contentious, bitter, and ugly election that has brought us to an equally contentious, bitter, and ugly beginning of the presidency of Donald J Trump.” The statement added that “we are gravely concerned by the rise in hateful rhetoric and violence, the deep divisions and distrust in our country, and the weakening in respectful public discourse” and warned: “Some of the institutions that have traditionally protected our freedoms are under threat.”

Life for others

The society highlight the maligning of minorities in America as a key concern: “This election has made the most vulnerable members of our society, including people of colour, members of the LGBTQ communities, Muslims, immigrants, refugees, the poor, and the marginally employed and the unemployed, feel even more vulnerable and disempowered.”

For the rest of the post…

He liked talking to children and took them seriously. He would throw chocolates from his window to his nephews and nieces who were doing their schoolwork in the garden of the house next door!!

~ Eberhard Bethge, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography (Revised Edition); Portrait (1970), xviii

NRL News Today

Driving a spoke into the wheel of injustice

By Dave Andrusko

dietrich-bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Hillary Clinton made her first post-election public appearance yesterday and encouraged her followers to persevere after her unexpected (to the Clinton campaign and the media) defeat.

Unfortunately, rather than contribute to binding the wounds of November 8, Clinton not only chose not to mention Donald Trump in her 20-minute-long remarks but also mined the meme that a country that elects Trump really isn’t worthy of the likes of herself.

According to POLITICO:

“I know this isn’t easy, I know that over the last week a lot of people have asked themselves if America is the country we thought it was,” said the former secretary of state, bringing the midsize Newseum auditorium to a standstill with her emotional address that she capped off by imagining a conversation with her now-deceased mother. “Please listen to me when I say this: America is worth it. Our children are worth it. Believe in our country. Fight for our values. And never, ever give up.”

Here are two quick additional thoughts about her remarks to the Children’s Defense Fund.

First, as reported by POLITICO’s Gabriel Debenedetti

And as the doors opened to Clinton’s event, the song “Lean On Me” began playing, the sound of Bill Withers crooning, “Sometimes in our lives we all have pain, we all have sorrow, but if we are wise, we know that there’s always tomorrow” filling the room.

It is very, very difficult to lose a presidential contest, especially one as close as this battle proved to be. And, agreed, there is “always tomorrow” unless you are one of the one million unborn babies in America whose deaths Clinton would defend with her dying breath.

Second, as President Obama has done often, Clinton quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who wrote, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Again, we would agree 100% in principle, but disagree on destination. Justice is not killing 59 million unborn babies, or trying to multiple the number by eliminating the Hyde Amendment, or working overtime to export the abortion plague overseas, or by mocking the values of people who value unborn life.

Justice is not, in other words, what the more powerful can do to the powerless. It is rather what the more powerful can do on behalf of the powerless.

For the rest of the post…

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” 

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship   

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