According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Continuing Debate to Bonhoeffer's German Resistance and Its Implications for Jesus' "Kingdom Ethics"

Bonhoeffer: Was he really involved in the attempt to kill Hitler?

[1] For the “German Christian” (technical expression) movement, see S. Heschel, The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008).
[2] E. Bethge, Biography, 457.
[3]Ethics (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works; ed. I. Tödt; trans. R. Krauss; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2005), and Letters and Papers from Prison Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works; ed. C. Gremmels; trans. I. Best; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2010).
[4] For more continuity in the relationship of Discipleship to the later Ethics, see G. Stassen, A Thicker Jesus: Incarnational Discipleship in a Secular Age (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2012), 175-195. Because of the complexity of the relationship of the middle period to the later period and various versions of sections in Ethics, I have avoided discussion of Bonhoeffer’s Ethics.  Yet it is important to observe that Bonhoeffer did not move from youthful, Platonic idealism in Discipleship to mature realism in the conspiracy years. Instead, it was a (tragic) shift from kingdom realities to this-wordliness realities.
[5] For a full study, the one indispensable biography is the mammoth work of E. Bethge, Biography, e.g., 628, 675-678, 720-721. For Bonhoeffer’s exploratory statement on the relation of church and state, D. Bonhoeffer, Conspiracy and Imprisonment, 1940-1945 (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works; ed. J. Glenthøj; trans. L.E. Dahill; Minneapolis Fortress, 2006), 502-528.
[6]Letters and Papers from Prison, 486.
[7]Letters and Papers from Prison, 52.
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Because I am not a Bonhoeffer specialist, nor have I read his entire works in chronological order ever in my life, I thought it would be wise to check out what I had written with a Bonhoeffer expert. I chose Mark Thiessen Nation, professor at Eastern Mennonite University, and a leading Bonhoeffer (and Yoder) scholar. We had some exchanges, included in which was his telling me that he was at work with two others on a book about Bonhoeffer that would seek to show that Bonhoeffer was not in fact involved in any plot to assassinate Hitler. In other words, that he was not involved in the conspiracy to eliminate the Führer.
I was a bit stunned by his comments, not the least of which reasons was that I didn’t know how else to read the man’s life. But out of respect for Mark’s work, I chose to eliminate the above section and to modify the commentary wherever I had assumed this scheme of reading Bonhoeffer in three stages. The most important element of this scheme was that Bonhoeffer changed his mind from being a pacifist to being a (Niebuhrian) realist. I reasoned, however, that if Nation was going to prove that theory wrong, it would be wise for me to await publication of his book before I both came to a more complete understanding and published anything about it.
Mark Thiessen Nation, along with Anthony G. Siegrist and Daniel P. Umbel, have now published their work: Bonhoeffer the Assassin? Challenging the Myth, Recovering His Call to Peacemaking (Grand Rapids: BakerAcademic, 2013). They ask if Bonhoeffer was involved in the conspiracy to kill Hitler. They conclude he was not. In part two of this review I will sketch their views and respond to their proposal.

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Bonhoeffer and the Conspiracy

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