I have just finished reading “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” by Eric Metaxas. The book is superb. It is about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was a pastor of the “Church of Luther” during the rise and reign of Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
This man of Christ conducted a principled fight against what Hitler and the corrupted Church of Germany were doing, and eventually was imprisoned and executed for his efforts and beliefs. But he was unafraid, because he was doing what knew his God wanted him to do. Regardless of our religious faith or beliefs, how many of us can genuinely say that we are standing up for our principles and Liberty for ourselves and others anywhere near to this degree? This is an inspirational book, and I strongly recommend it to anyone.
There are many lessons from the book for liberty lovers
Many insightful comments permeate the book, which all people who treasure Liberty should be aware of – today and every day. Here are some of them:
- For Hitler, ruthlessness was a great virtue, and mercy, a great sin. This was Christianity’s chief difficulty, that it advocated meekness. (Meekness has its place but, as stated in the musical Camelot: “I find humility means to be hurt. It’s not the earth the meek inherit, it’s the dirt.”)
- Bonhoeffer believed it was the role of the church to “speak for those who could not speak.” (Thus he saw Jesus Christ as a “man for others.”)
- One of Bonhoeffer’s thoughts was “Absolute seriousness is never without a dash of humor.“ (We should never lose the ability to laugh at ourselves.)
- The Nazi regime always cast their aggressions as defensive responses to actions against them and the German people. (Virtually always the justification for war.)
- Bonhoeffer was the principal point of connection between his new “Confessing Church” and the Ecumenical movement, seeing the best and the worst in both. But each saw the best in itself and the worst in the other. (Is this not how the various politically “warring groups” see themselves and others in our country today?)
- Bonhoeffer was quite clear in his convictions, he saw the truth and spoke it out with absolute freedom and without fear. (Bless him, his memory and his legacy!)
- He knew his classics in art, music, literature before he criticized; he knew how to read and listen before voicing his opinion. (Don’t we all wish that all people were more like this?)
It is not always easy to stand up for Liberty for ourselves and others. But Dietrich Bonhoeffer provides great inspiration for doing just that!