Thursday, 4 April 2013

Bonhoeffer the Celebrity

I'm struck by the standing of Bonhoeffer today. There seem to be three camps: people who encounter his biography, people who've read some of his writings, and people who've never heard of him. I can forgive the last group. I belong to the second group. I want more for the first group.

It seems that the age of the populist book has reduced Bonhoeffer to a mere hero instead of a teacher and prophet. He's more popular as celebrity than as instructor. Perhaps that's because our media saturates us with celebrity rather than with content. We seem to like the idea of Bonhoeffer as the martyr and would-be assassin much more than we want to take the time to read his lasting words.

I like his writings even though I don't agree with all of them. He writes clearly and he writes for the believer. This is especially true with Discipleship. If you have time for only one of his books, it's that one. For a little more chewing try either of his dissertations Act and Being, and Sanctorum Communio. It's well worth the time.
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