"it is not by its overthrowing but by its reconciliation that the world is subdued, it is not by ideals and programmes or by conscience, duty, responsibility and virtue that reality can be confronted and overcome, but simply and solely by the perfect love of God. here again it is not by a general idea of love that this is achieved, bu by the really lived love of God in Jesus Christ. this love of God does not withdraw from reality into noble souls secluded from the world. it experiences and suffersthe reality of the world in all its hardness. the world exhausts its fury against the body of Christ. but tormented, He forgives the world its sin. that is how the reconciliation is accomplished. ecce homo!"

dietrich bonhoeffer

"we are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know; God wants us to realize his presence, not in unsoved problems ut in those that are solved. that is true of the relationship between God and scientific knowledge, but it is also true of the wider human problem of death, suffering, and guilt…in Christ there are no “Christian problems.”"

dietrich bonhoeffer

"in these turbulent times we repeatedly lose sight of what really makes life worth living. we think that because this or that person is living, it makes sense for us to live too. but the truth is that if this earth was good enough for the man Jesus CHrist, if such a man as Jesus lived, then, and only then, has life a meaning for us. if Jesus had not lived, then our life would be meaningless, in spite of all the other people whom we know and honor and love. perhaps we now sometimes forget the meaning and purpose of our profession. but isn’t this the simplest way of putting it? the unbiblical idea of “meaning” is indeed only a translation of what the Bible calls “promise.”"

dietrich bonhoeffer

"the importance of illusion to one’s life should certainly not be underestimated; but for a Christian there must be hope based on a firm foundation. and if even illusion has so much power in people’s lives that it can keep life moving, how great a power there is in a hope that is based on certainty, and how invincible a life with such a hope is. “Christ our hope”- this Pauline formula is the strength of our lives."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Christ Our Hope

Who Stands Fast?

THE GREAT MASQUERADE of evil has played havoc with all our ethical concepts. for evil to appear disguised as light, charity, historical necessity, or social justice is quite bewildering to anyone brought up on our traditional ethical concepts, while for the Christian who bases his life  on the Bible it merely confirms the fundamental wickedness of evil.

the ‘reasonable' people's failure is obvious. with the best intentions and a naive lack of realism, they think that with a little reason they can bend back into position the framework that has got out of joint. in their lack of vision they want to do justice to all sides, and so the conflicting forces wear them down with nothing achieved. disappointed by the world's unreasonableness, they see themselves condemned to ineffectiveness; they step aside in resignation or collapse before the stronger party.

still more pathetic is the total collapse of moral fanaticism. the fanatic thinks that his single-minded principles qualify him to do battle with the powers of evil; but like a bull he rushes at the red cloak instead of the person who is holding it; he exhausts himself and is beaten. he gets entangled in non-essentials and falls into the trap set by cleverer people.

then there is the man with a conscience, who fights single-handed against heavy odds in situations that call for a decision. but the scale of the conflicts in which he has to choose- with no advice or support except his own conscience- tears him to pieces. evil approaches him in so many respectable and seductive disguises that his conscience becomes nervous and vacillating, till at last he contents himself with a salved instead of a clear conscience, so that he lies to his own conscience in order to avoid despair; for a man whose only support is his conscience can never realize that a bad conscience may be stronger and more wholesome than a deluded one.

from the perplexingly large number of possible decisions, the way of duty seems to be the sure way out. here, what is commanded is accepted as what is most certain, and the irresponsibility for it rests on the commander, not on the person commanded. but no one who confines himself to the limits of duty ever goes so far as to venture, on his sole responsibility, to act in the only way that makes it possible to score a direct hit on evil and defeat it. the man of duty will in the end have to do his duty by the devil too.

as to the man who asserts his complete freedom to stand four-square to the world, who values the necessary deed more highly than an unspoilt conscience or reputation, who is read to sacrifice a barren principle for a fruitful compromise, or the barren wisdom of a middle course for a fruitful radicalism- let him beware lest his freedom should bring him down. he will assent to what is bad so as to ward off something worse, and in doing so he will no longer be able to realize that the worse, which he wants to avoid, might be the better. here we have the raw material of tragedy.

here and there people flee from public altercation into the sanctuary of private virtuousness. but anyone who does this must shut his mouth and his eyes to the injustice around him. only at the cost of self-deception can he keep himself pure from the contamination arising from responsible action. in spite of all that he does, what he leaves undone will rob him of his peace of mind. he will either go to pieces because of this disquiet, or become the most hypocritical of Pharisees.

who stands fast? only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principle, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God- the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God. where are these responsible people?

                          dietrich bonhoeffer 

that man was amazing, martyred for the faith by the Nazi regime. he voluntarily returned to his home country to ensure that in the midst of the darkest hours, the light of God continued to shine. his challenges ring true, because he lived and died exactly what he preached. indeed i ask, where are these responsible people? i only hope to be one myself one day.

"in the long run, human relationships are the most important thing in life; the modern “efficient” man can do nothing to change this, nor can the demigods and lunatics who know nothing about human relationships. God uses us in the dealings with others.
-dietrich bonhoeffer"

dietrich wrote this in the midst of world war 2, yet it’s resounds so clear today. a martyr in the nazi regime, bonhoeffer voluntarily returned to nazi germany, despite the fact that he would most likely be killed, because he knew that the only hope for his homeland was the Word of God. as dietrich states, God uses us to do His holy work on earth, and what a privilege that is. it doesn’t always make sense, it often times is uncomfortable, rarely will you feel like life is all it should be; despite these fleeting emotional escapades, never forget that as a child of God, you are His, and He has a plan for you. only you can do that thing He made you for; it is up to you to either be His conduit or run from your destiny; but i’ve learned over the years that even when you think you are running away, like jonah, you just might be running straight to the marvelous adventure He would use to shape your story.