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Quotes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer 
19th-Dec-2005 11:49 pm
I feel I should repost some quotes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer which were buried in a private thread. I let stand them for themselves. Maybe some UBF lurkers will read them.

“God hasn't created the other as I would have created him. He didn't give me the other as a brother so that I can rule over him, but to find the creator through him. In his freedom as creation the other becomes a reason of joy for me, having been only labour and trouble before. God does not want that I form the other according the image that I think is good, i.e. according to my own image, but in his freedom of me has God made the other in his image.”

“Within spiritual community there is never, nor in any way, any “immediate” relationship of one to another, whereas human community expresses a profound, elemental, human desire for community, for immediate contact with other human souls. . . . Human love is directed to the other person for his own sake, spiritual love loves him for Christ’s sake.

Because Christ stands between me and others, I dare not desire direct fellowship with them. . . . This means that I must release the other person from every attempt of mine to regulate, coerce, and dominate him with my love. The other person needs to retain his independence of me; to be loved for what he is, as one for whom Christ became man, died, and rose again. . . . Because Christ has long since acted decisively for my brother, before I could begin to act, I must leave him his freedom to be Christ’s. This is the meaning of the proposition that we can meet others only through the mediation of Christ.”

“Life together under the Word will remain sound and healthy only where it does not form itself into a movement, an order, a society... but rather where it understands itself as being a part of the one, holy, catholic, Christian Church, where it shares actively and passively in the sufferings and struggles of the whole Church. Every principle of selection, every separation connected with it that is not necessitated quite objectively by common work, local conditions, or family connections is of the greatest danger to a Christian community. When the way of intellectual or spiritual selection is taken, the human element always insinuates itself and robs the fellowship of its spiritual power and its effectiveness for the Church, and drives it into sectarianism.”
20th-Dec-2005 05:18 pm (UTC) - How sad!
During my second period in the Columbus Ohio UBF chapter (June 1987 to May 1992), my 1-1 teacher tried to teach me the basics of philosophy - both secular and Christan - in an attempt to help me learn how to think "independently and more maturely." Bonhoeffer was one of the authors he recommended to me. In reading your selections here, I wonder if my teacher ever bothered to read Bonhoeffer for himself. If he did, he must have been willingly blind to not see himself in Bonhoeffer's negative examples.

Bonhoeffer seems prescient here. It's almost as if he were an ex-UBFer writing about his experiences. This sentence especially illustrates the way that 1-1 teacher did his best to rule over me: "He didn't give me the other as a brother so that I can rule over him, but to find the creator through him."

Thank you for this posting. It was a blessing.
21st-Dec-2005 09:38 pm (UTC) - Another quote of Bonhoeffer's
I guess I'll also make part of the private thread public:

UBF leaders (first and second generation) also seem fond of this quote of Bonhoeffer from "The Cost of Discipleship":

"The only man who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who left all to follow Christ. Such a man knows that the call to discipleship is a gift of grace, and that the call is inseparable from grace."

Bonhoeffer’s view of grace seemed to be shaped more by his experience than by biblical exegesis. "The Cost of Discipleship" was prompted by what Bonhoeffer saw as the German church's accomodation of Adolph Hitler. He saw members of the state church presume that they were going to heaven but not following Christ in their daily lives or opposing a clear evil that was rising.

So, Bonhoeffer's "costly grace" quote came about as he saw Christians not taking a stand against a clear evil, a godless tyrant. So for UBF leaders to use this quote of Bonhoeffer is more than a little hypocritical in light of their having sold their souls and consciences to their own tyrant, and now that he's dead, praising him to the heavens in their effort to revise history. I wonder what Bonhoeffer would have to say about the "spiritual order" teaching still used in UBF to make leaders virtually untouchable and unaccountable.

I guess I should also mention that Bonhoeffer's concept of discipleship, as seen in the other quotes of his, is quite different from UBF's concept of discipleship.
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