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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grassroots or Bourgeois?

"Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God's will." — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, (photo) a German Lutheran pastor theologian and martyr (+1945), lead the grassroots Christian resistance against Nazism. Bonhoeffer was an exceptional pianist, and his parents thought he might pursue a music career. He was also athletic and played such games as tennis and chess with passion. Expected to follow his father into psychiatry, Bonhoeffer surprised and dismayed his parents when he decided by age of fourteen to become a theologian and later a pastor. When his older brother told him not to waste his life in such a "poor, feeble, boring and petty institution as the Church", 14-year-old Dietrich replied: "If what you say is true, I shall reform it!"

In the 2003 movie, “Bonhoeffer”, the filmmakers assert that Dietrich believed that the mainstream church had become bourgeois and thus ineffective in standing up to Hitler. The film produces actual photos of church leaders in handshakes with Hitler that are in an apparent show of support for his errant vision.

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