Saturday, August 15, 2015

Parallels Between Nazi Germany Under Hitler & What's In Store for Us Are Remarkable.

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Radical Integrity: The Story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Book Review)



On a recent flight home, my wife picked up a copy of Michael Van Dyke’s book, Radical Integrity: The Story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, published by Barbour Publishing, Ohio, 2001. It wouldn’t have been my choice as I thought I had learned as much as I needed to know about the key character having already read The Collected Sermons of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, edited by Isabel Best, and published by Fortress Press, 2012. But I was wrong.
While Bonhoeffer’s sermons tell us much of what he was thinking and believing and communicating, Van Dyke’s book, tells us why. The author takes us from his childhood and youth right up to his death in 1945, just weeks before his dream for Germany (the defeat of Hitler) came to pass. Van Dyke very masterfully shares with us all the things and the people that Bonhoeffer treasured in his life including his twin sister Sabine; later Maria, his fiancée; and solitude. And he covers the young German’s struggles with career choices, army enlistment, the German Church that caved to the Nazis, and his role in trying to assassinate Adolf Hitler, to name but a few.
Throughout the book are woven several themes that express Bonhoeffer’s views, not the least of which are what it means to be a Christian today, what is the role of the Church in world events, and pacifism vs. militarism for the Christian. Finally, there is no doubt Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a prisoner in the various holding camps of the Nazis, after being hung, was remembered by many fellow prisoners and guards as one who lived his life with radical integrity.
At just 205 pages, you’ll find this book fascinating not only because of the insights it presents into Bonhoeffer’s life, and the many quotable quotes that the book is sprinkled with (both Dietrich’s and Van Dyke’s), but also because of the fact that you cannot help, as you read it, but ask yourself, “What would I have done?” or “What do I believe?”  Recommended to help round out your knowledge of this pastor, professor, brilliant mind, and martyr, as well as your own thinking of the various theological and practical Christian issues it addresses.
In fact, in light of what is going on in the world today with ISIL, one would be highly advised to read it and really ask him/herself the question, “What will I do?”  The parallels of what happened in Germany between the end of WWI and the end of WWII, with what may well happen in the decades ahead for much of the West if we, our politicians, and our church leaders remain silent, may strike you as remarkable.
    -- Ken B. Godevenos, http://www.accordconsulting.com, Toronto, Ontario. 15/09/15

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