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Sunday, 31 August 2008

Reading bonhoeffer - God is no stopgap

Reading Bonhoeffer I have to remind myself again and again that much of his writing was in the context of a totalitarian regime and that in his writing he is attempting a profound critique of the regime and the way the church was responding without spelling out that specific context, an that for perfectly obvious reasons when you stop and think about it.

Much of his reflections about responsibility, for example, were about the ethical underpinning to his approach to the plot against Hitler. If we forget that we will read his writings as a purely academic discourse separate from the context in which he found himself. To do that is to fundamentally misread him and to miss the full stretch and challenge that he was making to theological and intellectual heritage hat he was brought up in.

And in the end he keeps gong with his refrain of the inextricable worldliness of Christianity.

God is no stopgap. God must be known not at the boundaries of our possibilities but in the midst of life, in life and not just in dying, in health and strength and not just in suffering. God wants to be known in action and not just in sin. The reason for this lies in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. He is in the midst of life. Seen from the midst of life certain questions disappear and so do the answers to such questions. (p.253 I want to Spend These Days with You.

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