Posts Tagged ‘Deitrich Bonhoeffer’

Who Am I?

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Most of us I imagine struggle with the concept of identity, struggle with the pressing question of “Who Am I?”

Do we have times where we are sure of identity, firmly planted in a life-giving sense of who we are?  Absolutely.

And yet for many those moments are fleeting, giving way to worry and painful uncertainty.

Deitrich Bonoeffer spoke to those sentiments from a Gestapo prison in Nazi Germany.  And found relief.

Who am I? This or the Other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!


Finding the Will of God

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

I grew in this profession of ministry with a foot firmly in the camp of morality; that ministry and morality were synonymous.  The two unarguably combine in wondrous ways.  And yet the marriage of morality and ministry, if it fails to expand, threatens to squeeze down faith into a very shrill, cramped space more concerned with judgment and social order than with grace.

Deitrich Bonhoeffer phrased it thus.  “Those who wish even to focus on the problem of a Christian ethic are faced with an outrageous demand – that from the outset they must give up, as inappropriate to this topic, the very two questions that led them to deal with the ethical problem: ‘How can I be good?’ and ‘How can I so something good?’  Instead they must ask the wholly other, completely different question: what is the will of God?  This demand is radical precisely because it presupposes a decision about ultimate reality, that is, a decision of faith.”

There is nothing easy in occupying the evolved space Bonhoeffer noted, one where morality clearly incorporates and joins with a primary concern centered on the will of God.  It literally cost Bonhoeffer his life.  Such a space, only discovered in silence, becomes a space of call and thus a space of unfolding courage.

We discover God’s will where we are.  God’s will is our life.  As Emanuel Swedenborg noted again and again … God is all powerful, all present, and all knowing.  And yet God’s will is more than our individual self-satisfied homeostasis.  God’s will vibrates through our lives as that nudge, gentle and not, to center our lives in peace and reach.