Monday, 3 November 2008

Deitrich Bonhoeffer

Watching ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ has re-kindled a desire to read Bonhoeffer again. Amongst his many quotable comments, he said ‘action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility’. Here is someone still worth listening to as he lived it out and paid the price becoming a martyr for the cause of Christ. Bonhoeffer was willing when most were not to stand against Hitler and the Third Reich. How do we make sense of this statement, however, in our own context? For me, it has something to do with our taking responsibility for our part in the mission of God. Because I sit as part of our Baptist National Settlement Team, I hear the things Ministers state as their ‘requirements’ to Churches. I hear a lot which mimics our consumerist culture and a lot which mirrors the attitudes Ministers find in too many Churches, but I don’t hear too much which could be construed as taking responsibility. I can’t help feeling we confuse thinking with action. I find a lot of people who agree with the present need to organise our Church life around mission, but little out-working in practice. Not easy, but like the little Church I met with who complained about no one coming to join them for years, we have to face some harsh realities – and at least try and do something! If at first you don’t succeed, then maybe failure is your thing – truth is most people try something once and if it doesn’t work, give it up. 

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