Dietrich BonhoefferIf you are in the Philly area this weekend, check out this adventure in radical discipleship:

Saturday morning, February 17
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Project HOME, 1515 Fairmount Avenue

Bonhoeffer is a 93-minute documentary film that tells the dramatic story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the young German theologian who offered one of the first clear voices of resistance to the Nazi regime.  Bonhoeffer openly challenged the church to stand with the Jews, and eventually joined his family in a plot to kill Hitler. His books, Cost of Discipleship, Letters and Papers from Prison, and Ethics, have had an enormous influence on people of faith and conscience seeking to live with integrity in a world of evil and oppression.  We will view the film together and discuss its relevance to our life of faith and witness, with very particular emphasis on the current political realities under the Trump Administration and a world endangered by climate change, increasing wealth inequities, and violence.  Join us for this important time of reflection and discernment.  A light breakfast will be served.  A $10 donation is requested to cover costs (though if you can’t pay, please feel free to come anyway!).

See the Facebook posting here.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Will O’Brien 
at 215-842-1790 or by February 13.
For more information on The Alternative Seminary,

Benevolent Powers

bonhoefferBy Dietrich Bonhoeffer, imprisoned Christmastime 1944

Faithfully and quietly surrounded by benevolent powers,
wonderfully guarded and consoled,
–thus will I live this day with you
and go forth with you into another year.

Still will the past torment our hearts
Still, heavy burdens of bad times depress us,
Ah, Lord, give our startled souls
the grace for which we were created. Continue reading “Benevolent Powers”

70 Years Later: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

bonhoefferTomorrow is the 70th anniversary of the execution of German theologian and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer. During his short time in America, Bonhoeffer was a trailblazer in learning from his African-American brothers and sisters, as reported by James Cone in The Cross & The Lynching Tree (2011):

In contrast to [Reinhold] Niebuhr and other professors at Union Seminary, the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, during his year of study at Union (1930-31), showed an existential interest in blacks, befriending a black student named Franklin Fisher, attending and teaching Bible study and Sunday school, and even preaching at Abyssianian Baptist Church in Harlem. Bonhoeffer also read widely in African American history and literature, including Walter White’s Rope and Faggot on the history of lynching, read about the burning of Raymond Gunn in Maryville, Missouri (Jan 12, 1931) , in the Literary Digest, “the first lynching in 1931,” and expressed his outrage over the “infamous Scottsboro trial.” He also wrote about the “Negro Church,” the “black Christ” and “white Christ” in the writings of the black poet Countee Cullen, read Alain Locke and Langston Hughes, and regarded the spirituals” as the “most influential contribution made by the negro to American Christianity.” Some of Bonhoeffer’s white friends wondered whether he was becoming too involved in the Negro community.

The Feast of Bonhoeffer

We have for once learnt to see the great events of world history from below, from the perspective of the outcast, the suspects, the maltreated, the power-less, the oppressed, the reviled – in short, from the perspective of those who suffer.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Christmas letter to friends and co-conspirators (1942)

Seventy years ago today, just weeks before the fall of Berlin in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was marched naked into the yard of Flossenberg Concentration Camp and hanged with piano wire for being an enemy of the Nazi state. He was 39.
Continue reading “The Feast of Bonhoeffer”