Thursday, April 12, 2012

A new monasticism

From Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in a letter written to his brother early in 1936:

"Perhaps I seem to you rather fanatical and mad about a number of things. I myself am sometimes afraid of that. But I know that the day I become more 'reasonable' to be honest, I should have to chuck my entire theology. When I first started in theology, my idea of it was quite different -- rather more academic, probably. Now it has turned into something else altogether. But I do believe that at last I am on the right track, for the first time in my life. I often feel quite happy about it. I only worry about being so afraid of what other people will think as to get bogged down instead of going forward. I think I am right in saying that I would only achieve true inner clarity and honesty by really starting to take the Sermon on the Mount seriously. Here alone lies the force that can blow all this idiocy sky-high -- like fireworks, leaving only a few burnt-out shells behind. The restoration of the church must surely depend on a new kind of monasticism, which has nothing in common with the old but a life of uncompromising discipleship, following Christ according to the Sermon on the Mount. I believe the time has come to gather people together and do this ...

"Things do exist that are worth standing up for without compromise. To me it seems that peace and social justice are such things, as is Christ himself.

"I recently came across the fairy tale of 'The Emperor's New Clothes' which really is relevant for our time. All we are lacking today is the child who speaks up at the end. We ought to put it on as a play."

From Eric Metaxas' book, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, pp. 259-260.


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