When will we ever learn?
Published: Mon, 01/10/22
still highly regarded today as a work of authentic theology. After the attempt on Hitler’s life in July 1944 Bonhoeffer was held in various concentration camps and was finally hanged by the SS at Flossenburg in Bavaria on the 9th of April 1945, just days before it was liberated by the Americans.
In 1939 Bonhoeffer made a second visit to the USA and Niebuhr was very keen that his friend should remain at a safe distance from the Gestapo who were by now scrutinising his every move. As war became inevitable he had to make a decision whether to remain in America or return to Germany. Here is a quote from some of a letter to Niebuhr in which Bonhoeffer explained his reasons for returning home regardless of the dangers.
‘I must live through this difficult period of our national history with the Christian people of Germany. I shall have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people. My brothers in the Confessing Synod wanted me to go (to America) They may have been right in urging me to do so; but I was wrong in going. Such a decision each man must make for himself. Christians in Germany will face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilisation may survive, or willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying our civilisation. I know which of these alternatives I must choose; but I cannot make that choice in security.’
Sadly Bonhoeffer did not live to take part in the spiritual reconstruction of Germany after his nation was defeated. He did leave behind an essay on the contrast between ‘Cheap and Costly Grace’ which is widely quoted to this day. Bonhoeffer is writing from a explicitly Christian point of view and his writing is a work of profound theology. However, a universal principle is expressed in that grace simply means the authentic life of a human being who lives with genuine love, integrity, and under the direction of conscience. Therefore ‘cheap grace’ is an intellectual assent to an idea of freedom, justice, wisdom, and in Christian terms, forgiveness of sins, without any particular cost to the individual who benefits from the existence of these ideals. Costly grace is the realisation that all the things that really make life worth living come at a price. Being a truly authentic human being costs a person their life because costly
grace gives a person the only true life.
Bonhoeffer had a three way choice. He could have been a hard working pastor within the German Christian church and the actual compromises he would have had to make would probably have been quite minor. Or he could have remained in the safety of the USA. It is likely the allies would have encouraged, and enabled Bonhoeffer to support the Confessing Church with propaganda messages and in other ways. The decision he did make ultimately got the 39 year old pastor killed. I would even suggest that Hitler was not necessarily unjustified in personally ordering the execution of Bonhoeffer as he had openly called for the overthrow of the Third Reich and had supported the attempt on Hitler’s life. In the light of ‘Cheap and Costly Grace’ Bonhoeffer had two cheap options, and one costly one, he chose the costly one. Did Bonhoeffer actually make any contribution to bringing the end of the Third Reich? In political or military terms
probably not. He did keep a flame burning spiritually which has still not been extinguished.
The struggle for the authenticity of ‘Costly Grace’ never ends. Directly after the Third Reich was defeated the British government embarked on a costly, dangerous, and rather pathetic attempt to convince the USA that the UK should be regarded as an equal nuclear partner with America. We still live a world of atomic weapons despite the best efforts of those who questioned and protested against such a policy all those years ago. Bertrand Russel was one public figure who put his position and reputation on the line to campaign against nuclear weapons. Although Bonhoeffer was a committed Christian and Russel a militant atheist I like to think that they had a common concern for the future of the human race.
We now have a situation where about 10% of care home workers were forced to leave their jobs because they chose not to participate in the mass medical experiment commonly known as ‘Covid 19 Vaccinations’. A similar proportion of NHS staff will shortly face a similar situation. There is always a cheap choice, but who is willing to stand with those who have decided to make the costly choice?
Some relevant links:
Please don’t use the word ‘mandate’ it sounds too ‘reasonable’. Call it what it is; persecution country by country https://kfgo.com/2021/12/31/factbox-countries-making-covid-19-vaccines-mandatory-7/
No one needs to provide a reason to refuse the jab, any more than anyone needs to justify a choice to be vegan, celibate, or teetotal. Your body, your responsibility. However, there is something very strange going on and Dr Tom Cowan is always worth listening to https://odysee.com/@kevinboyle:d/Cowan-on-Batches:c
To quote Robert F. Kennedy Jr ‘No one every complied their way out of tyranny.’ So, here are a couple of hopeful stories
In a world armed with atomic weapons it would be nice if there was a bit more effort to maintain peace in the world. A good start would just be keeping promises https://www.globalresearch.ca/six-things-media-wont-tell-you-about-ukraine/5766537