Thursday, June 18, 2009

Heroes: June 18

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an incredible man, pastor, theologian, and writer. It feels strange attempting to describe him--he did so much with his life. He could have escaped Germany in WWII while teaching in the U.S. Yet, he went back knowing that he'd probably lose his life, which he did. He would not set back and take the easy way out in the face of evil.

His words demonstrate more than anything I could say.


There is not a place to which the Christian can withdraw from the world,
whether it be outwardly or in the sphere of the inner life. Any attempt to
escape from the world must sooner or later be paid for with a sinful surrender
to the world. (Ethics)

The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists of listening to them. Just as love of God begins with listening to his word, so the beginning of love for our brothers and sisters is learning to listen to them. (Life Together)

From God we hear the word: “If you want my goodness to stay with you then serve your neighbor, for that is where God comes to you.” (In the anthology, No Rusty Swords)

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 ourselves. (The Cost of Discipleship)

There remains an experience of incomparable value . . . to see the great events of world history from below; from the perspective of the outcast, the suspects, the maltreated, the powerless, the oppressed, the reviled ---- in short, from the perspective of those who suffer . . . to look with new eyes on matters great and small. (Letters and Papers from Prison)

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 rather than too much. 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. Christian should take a stronger stand in favor of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong. (Sermon on II Cor. 12:9)

There is no way to peace along the way to safety. For peace must be dared. It is the great venture. (Address at Fano)

The followers of Christ have been called to peace. . . . And they must not only have peace but also make it. And to that end they renounce all violence and tumult. In the cause of Christ nothing is to be gained by such methods. . . . His disciples keep the peace by choosing to endure suffering themselves rather than inflict it on others. They maintain fellowship where others would break it off. They renounce hatred and wrong. In so doing they over-come evil with good, and establish the peace of God in the midst of a world of war and hate. (The Cost of Discipleship)

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