Thursday, 9 February 2017

Bonhoeffer for our cultural/political moment

"Through all this [his resistance to Nazism and the compromising German church], Bonhoeffer wrote theology - sermons, lectures, circular letters, and books.  In a very great degree his writing is characterized by beautiful iterations of doctrine, a sort of visionary orthodoxy:  'History lives between promise and fulfillment.  It carries the promise within itself, to become full of God, the womb of the birth of God.'  To understand his method, one must remember his circumstances.  He is asserting the claims of Christ in all their radicalism in order to encourage and reassure those drawn to what became the Confessing Church.  At the same time, he is chastising those who use Christianity as an escape from the evils of the world and from the duties those evils imply, and he is chastising those who have accommodated their religion to the prevailing culture so thoroughly as to have made the prevailing culture their religion.  His object is to make core beliefs immediate and compelling, to forbid the evasions of transcendence and of acculturation.  He is using the scandal of the cross to discover the remnant church among the multitudes of the religious."

                                            -   Marilynne Robinson, "Dietrich Bonhoeffer", from
                                         The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought,  p.115-16

Who is doing this today?   How are they doing it?   If no one is, who will and how ought it be done?

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