Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) was a Lutheran theologian, writer, poet, musician and educator. Raised in Germany, he was safe in London at the outbreak of WWII. Instead of staying there, he returned to Germany to join the resistance movements and to advocate on behalf of the Jews, including being involved in Operation 7, a rescue mission that helped a small group of Jews escape to Switzerland. His leadership in the anti-Nazi Confessing Church and his work in resistance make his works a unique source for understanding the interaction of religion, politics and culture among those few Christians who actively opposed National Socialism.
He was ultimately hanged in 1945 in the Flossenberg concentration camp as a result of his participation in a failed plot to kill Hitler. With that in mind, take a minute to reflect on his own words regarding this:
“If I see a madman driving a car into a group of innocent bystanders, then I can’t, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe and then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver.”
To what extent can an abhorrence of violence lead you to maybe be an innocent bystander to an impending catastrophe?