Posts Tagged ‘pen’
Posted in personalities, tagged art, Benny Thomas, confessing church, ecumenism, Karl Barth, Nazification, pen, plot, Protestant Lutheran Church, The Cost of Discipleship, theology on December 9, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
DIETRICH BONHOEFFER (1906-1945) German
Bonhoeffer was born in Breslau, Germany, in 1906. His family were not religious, but had a strong musical and artistic heritage. From an early age, Bonhoeffer displayed great musical talent, and music was important throughout his life. His family were quite taken aback when, at the age of 14, he announced he wanted to train and become a priest. He knew his calling but had to make his election sure. In the process he would signify through his own life what it was to be a disciple of Christ in the 20th Century.
Ministry for him meant life of service and not to be insulated from life of the oppressed where fascism was alarmingly growing strident across the length and breadth of Europe. In preparation for his ministry his tour across Spain and America broadened his outlook: For example his visit to the US made him see things “from below” — from the perspective of those who suffer oppression. He observed, “Here one can truly speak and hear about sin and grace and the love of God…the Black Christ is preached with rapturous passion and vision.” Later Bonhoeffer was to refer to his impressions abroad especially his stay in Harlem as the point at which “I turned from phraseology to reality.”
In 1931 — at the age of 25 — he was ordained as a pastor of St. Matthew’s Church, Berlin.
Bonhoeffer’s promising academic and ecclesiastical career was dramatically altered with Nazi ascension to power on January 30, 1933. In April, Bonhoeffer raised the first voice for church resistance to Hitler’s persecution of Jews, declaring that the church must not simply “bandage the victims under the wheel, but jam the spoke in the wheel itself.”
At a time Nazification of German Evangelical Church began in right earnest Bonhoeffer refused to be part of it. Instead the 27-year-old Bonhoeffer accepted in the autumn of 1933 a two-year appointment as a pastor of two German-speaking Protestant churches in London.
His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely influential, and many have labelled his book The Cost of Discipleship a modern classic.
Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer became active politically, opposing Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was also involved in plans by members of the Abewehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Hitler. He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and executed by hanging in April 1945 while imprisoned at a Nazi concentration camp, just 23 days before the German surrender.