Bonhoeffer Biographer on Bonhoeffer
Trent Gilliss, senior editor
A listener from Greenwich, Connecticut (who asked to go unnamed) picked up on Shane Claiborne’s reference to a German Protestant theologian who participated in a failed attempt to assassinate Adolph Hitler during World War II:
“And Dietrich Bonhoeffer who has been a good teacher for us on community, he says, ‘The person who’s in love with their vision of community will destroy community. But the person who loves the people around them will create community everywhere they go.’ And I think that that’s something that’s held us together is not just to fall in love with a movement or a revolution, but to try to live in radical ways and in simple ways.”
The listener recommended we interview Eric Metaxas, whose biography Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy is currently on The New York Times bestseller list. Well, we did produce a show in 2003 on this great figure called “Ethics and the Will of God: The Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer” and probably won’t be doing another show on him anytime soon.
But, this speech by Metaxas at a Socrates in the City lecture on April 9, 2010, the 65th anniversary of Bonhoeffer’s death, serves as a great introduction to Bonhoeffer’s life. Heads up: the introduction is humorous but long; if you want to cut to the grist of the talk, start at the 14-minute mark.