April 9, 2015

The 70th Anniversary of the Execution of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I have few real heroes in my life.

I define a hero as someone whose "communicated life" has a profound effect on my own life and caused me to emulate behaviors or actions or thought patterns.

My dad and mom are my heroes. My wife, my son, my daughter are my heroes. My brothers and sisters; my brothers and sisters-in-law are as well. But outside of those I know well, the number of people I hold to be my heroes plummets.

To four.

C.S. Lewis is one, not just because he wrote THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA (which served as my initial introduction to his work) but because he wrote passionately and reached across the years to touch my life with his. He used science fiction, fantasy, myth, poetry, allegory, essays and speeches.

Madeleine L'Engle is another. Her writing echoes her life and struggles in the form of fiction, essays, novels, science fiction, fantasy and poetry. I am deeply moved by her observations on the significance of the ordinary.

David Brin is my third hero. His science fiction explores fascinating ideas in entertaining ways. Since the day I read SUNDIVER in 1985, the idea of environmental responsibility and our responsibility to the other living things on Earth took on new meaning for me. As we move forward in technological expertise, we lift up all other life around us, both respecting and optimizing its potential.

My last -- or first -- hero is an actual martyr. Today I remember that seventy years ago Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed at the hands of the Nazis in the Flossenburg concentration camp three weeks before the capture of Berlin by the Soviets; four weeks before the Third Reich surrendered. Bonhoeffer was not Jewish, homosexual or a member of any other group Hitler and his monster squad typically targeted. He was a middle-aged Lutheran pastor who wrote weighty theological tomes that were both profound and dense -- but NEVER political. His politics he ACTED on. His writing emphasized that the cost a Christian who chose to follow Jesus Christ might pay might well be his or her life.

For Bonhoeffer, THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP under the Lordship of Jesus Christ could range from giving up one or two of the pleasures of this earthly life to dying on the path that Jesus called you to follow.

Today, I remember that he counted the cost and paid the price of being a disciple of Jesus Christ and he had the strength to share his thoughts with the world. Below you'll find the link to the WIKIPEDIA site that has not only a short biography, but also a bibliography. The COST OF DISCIPLESHIP is my favorite work, but long and very, very challenging to read!

1 comment:

Jeff said...

A fine choice. The Metaxas biography of Bonhoeffer is excellent.