A few years back Steve Smith gave me a biography of Bonhoeffer entitled True Patriot that he felt offered some excellent insights to what was happening in the ‘emerging church’.
I finally got to read it and while I’m not sure exactly what Steve was seeing as of value I did find the story of Bonhoeffer’s life to be inspiring and challenging.
Perhaps what struck me most strongly was the fact that Bonhoeffer did not get to simply theorise about how theology gets lived out in tough situations. He actually got to live it out and in the process write about it. His book ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ isn’t simply another book written by a comfortable western Christian hypothesizing about what it means to follow Jesus. His book ‘Ethics’ wasn’t a detached speculation on various difficult situations. It was written from the midst of one of the world’s most horrific periods of history and reflects his own struggle to live with intregity in it.
I can’t remember the exact quote, but it was somewhat disturbing to hear him say that sometimes our choice is not to do right or wrong, but really is the ‘lesser of two evils’. Many of us idealise about doing no evil – but when the choice is to allow Hitler to proceed unimpeded or to kill him there simply isn’t an easy way forwards.
Its not the best read I have come across, but it does include some gem quotes from a number of Bonhoeffers works. It inspired me to go back and read a bit more of his stuff. parasomnia online