You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘resistance’ tag.

Isaiah Colton ThompsonIsaiah Colton Thompson, religious studies and history major

Isaiah Colton Thompson, a senior with a double major in religious studies and history at Cal State Fullerton, discovered his primary subject, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in a most unusual way … courtesy of a trashcan and an engaging professor. (Bonhoeffer was a German evangelical pastor, theologian and anti-Nazi dissident. His influential writings focused on Christianity’s role in a secular society.)

“I was meeting with one of my professors, Bradley Starr, to discuss my broad research interests,” he recalled. “When I mentioned Bonhoeffer, his eyes lit up. He literally reached into his trashcan and handed me a magazine that was advertising a recently published work on Bonhoeffer. I ordered the book, found an area of interest and the rest, as they say, is history.”

Thompson was looking forward to visiting Washington, D.C., this spring as his senior thesis on Bonhoeffer and the lessons from Finkenwalde Seminary had been selected for display at the Council on Undergraduate Research’s annual “Posters on the Hill” event, which takes place in the nation’s capital. It was abruptly canceled in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A virtual poster session is scheduled for Tuesday, April 21 at 9 a.m. on Twitter. For more information , visit the Council on Undergraduate Research.

“I was surprised and incredibly pleased that my poster was selected,” Thompson said. “Sixty projects were selected, from across the nation, out of 400 applications. The point of the event is to demonstrate the research being performed in universities across the country and encourage further funding for these programs.”

Thompson’s project was the only one selected from the state of California for this honor.

At CSUF, there are many programs that benefit from federal funding, including the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, all programs that Thompson is involved in.

“Programs of these kinds are incredibly important as they support low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students who want to complete their degrees in higher education,” he said. “Participating in this event not only would have allowed me to promote my research … but would have enabled me to endorse the very programs that encouraged my research.”

The Problem of Discrimination in Nazi Germany

Thompson was particularly interested in “the lessons from Finkenwalde Seminary.” The focus of the seminary was the problem of racism in Nazi Germany.

“During the 1930s, Hitler called on Nazi-supporting Christians to bring Germany’s churches under the ideals of the Nazi state,” Thompson explained. “This included race. The seminary at Finkenwalde resisted those ideas and taught a counter-narrative to combat targeted discrimination. Bonhoeffer directed the seminary and taught many of the classes.”

Many, including Nazi-supporting Christians, held the people, the land and the leader of Germany in high esteem. They believed Germany was called to a special path of victory and triumph. In pursuit of this path, certain groups of people were targeted because they did not fit “the ideal” that Germans had in mind. Bonhoeffer, however, saw the flaw and addressed it directly in lectures from Finkenwalde.

The Power of Resistance

“Ultimately, the research reveals the power of resistance,” Thompson said. “And it looks at the influence of nationalism on race. Because the Nazis held the ideals of the state in such high regard, they justified sacrificing human beings for those ideals. It also focuses on a deeper issue — the power of ideas.

“Because of my research, I often wonder about the everyday influences that impact my thinking. Where do these ideas come from? Who produces them? Bonhoeffer and the students at Finkenwalde remained cognizant of the ideology of their leaders … and strongly resisted this world view.”

Lessons for Today

Thompson believes that some of the lessons of Bonhoeffer resonate today.

For the rest of the post…

This was fun…

Dorospirit - this pretty much sums me up!

I sometimes talk about Dietrich Bonhoeffer in my services, church meetings etc. He was an inspirational person!

But then I thought sometimes it’s a bit boring to just talk about someone’s biography. So instead, I created a quiz.

These are my questions (and I had fun making up some of the answers!!):

Bonhoeffer Quiz:

  1. Bonhoeffer’s father was
    a) a Lutheran minister
    b) a butcher and an atheist
    c) a psychiatrist and a Christian
  2. Because he was too young to be ordained after he finished his studies in theology (he had 2 PhDs and was a University Lecturer before the age of 25!), Bonhoeffer spent some time studying in:
    a) the USA
    b) the UK
    c) Switzerland
  3. While he was in the States, Bonhoeffer attended and was deeply inspired by
    a) a Presbyterian Church in Texas
    b) a Methodist Church in Florida
    c) an African-American Baptist Church in Harlem
  4. Bonhoeffer was

View original post 142 more words

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

From 1906 to 1945

Born on February 4, 1906, in Breslau, then part of Imperial Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer began his theological education in 1923 at the University of Tübingen. He later trained under liberal theologians Adolf von Harnack and Reinhold Seeburg.

Following what he would later call a conversion experience, Bonhoeffer intensified his focus on contemporary theological problems facing the church. With the ascendancy of the Nazi party in Germany, Bonhoeffer was among the first of the German theologians to perceive the pervasiveness and significance of the looming Nazi threat.

When the pro-Nazi German Christian party won the church elections in the summer of 1933, Bonhoeffer quickly opposed the anti-Semitism of the Nazis in an important article, “The Church and the Jewish Question.” In this piece Bonhoeffer provided a seminal overview of his perspective of the church’s relationship to the state.

His framework was based on a view of the normative worldly authorities, first articulated in his doctrine of “preservation orders” in his early academic lectures and later developed in mature form in his ethics manuscripts of the early 1940s. In these latter documents, Bonhoeffer speaks of four unique and divinely instituted mandates in the world: work (or labor), marriage (or family), government, and church.

The recognition of the legitimate but limited role of government in human affairs enabled Bonhoeffer to oppose the perversion of the state represented by the National Socialists.

 Marriage is not made by the government, but is affirmed by the government. The great spheres of work are not themselves undertaken by the government, but they are subject to its supervision within certain limits—later to be described—to governmental direction. Government should never seek to become the agent of these areas of work, for this would seriously endanger their divine mandate along with its own.

Bonhoeffer’s resistance to the Nazi regime included his support for and pastoral participation in the Confessing Church along with other prominent Protestant theologians like Karl Barth and Martin Niemöller, as well as his intricate association with the broader ecumenical movement.

For the rest of the post…

Hundreds of Christians resisted the Nazification of the Church in Germany…

“Some 807…pastors and leading laymen were arrested of the ‘Confessional Church’ were arrested in 1937, and hundreds more in the next couple of years. If the resistance of the (Martin) Niemoeller wing of the church was not completely broken, it was certainly bent. As for the majority of the Protestant pastors, they like almost everyone else in Germany, submitted in the face of Nazi terror.”  

(William L ShirerThe Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, 1960 ed., 331).

No doubt Bonhoeffer was a great patriot and he loved his country so much that he preferred death to safety. But he was also too astute a political analyst not to see that Germany would be engulfed in the coming catastrophe. The fanatical devilish forces within National Socialism left no alternative. They were aiming at the destruction of Germany as a European and Christian country. By planned political action he hoped to avoid this tragic disaster. As he used to say: it is not only my task to look after the victims of madmen who drives a motorcar in a crowded street, but to do all in my power to stop their driving at all.

Memoir by G. Leibholz in  Dietrich BonhoefferThe Cost of Discipleship1961 edition, 27-28.

Ultimately, it was the allegiance which he owed to God and his master which forced upon him the terrible decision, not merely to make a stand against National Socialism (all the underground movements in the German-occupied countries did that), but also–and this in contradistinction to all the underground movements which appealed to nationalism–to work for the defeat of his own country, since only thus could Germany as a Christian and European country be saved from extinction. For this very reason, Bonhoeffer and his friends were tortured, hanged and murdered. It was Bonhoeffer and his friends who proved by their resistance unto death that even in the age of the nation-state there are loyalties which transcend those to state and nation. 

Memoir by G. Leibholz in  Dietrich BonhoefferThe Cost of Discipleship1961 edition, 28.

That Bonhoeffer, having entered the resistance, became one of its leading figures, is not surprising; he was capable of brilliant leadership, trust and rare courage. 

That he entered the resistance at all is most surprising! 

~ William Kuhns, In Pursuit of Dietrich Bonhoeffer222.

The life and death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer generate the deepest respect because in them he enacted his own Christology with extraordinary power.

~ Larry L. Rasmussen, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Reality and Resistance149.

May 2020
S M T W T F S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Archives

Twitter Updates

Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.