RonPrice's Journal

 
    
12
Oct 2012
4:21 AM AEDT
   

DIETRICH BONHOEFFER

Part 1:

At the beginning of the Seven Year Plan, 1937 to 1944, the first systematic teaching Plan of the Baha’is of North America, Reinhold Niebuhr arranged a job for Dietrich Bonhoeffer in New York. Niebuhr(1892-1971) was an American theologian, public intellectual, commentator on politics and public affairs, and long-time professor at Union Theological Seminary. I just found this out today while reading an online edition of The New York Review of Books.1 Now, in the evening of my life, I finally have the opportunity to read about things I simply did not have the time to read or the simplicity of access to information as I now have in cyberspace.

Bonhoeffer arrived in New York in late June 1939, more than two years after the beginning of that Plan, a Plan I have little doubt he knew anything about immersed as he was in Germany’s extreme social problems of the late 1930s. To oppose Hitler’s regime was rare, and to do so in order to protect the sanctity of law and faith was rarer still. One exceptional man who from the start of the Third Reich in 1933 opposed the Nazi outrages was that well-known pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

In that summer of 1939, though, Bonhoeffer was in spiritual turmoil: How could he contemplate living in a foreign country like the USA, a country which was at peace, when his own country, Germany, was on the brink of war and desolation? He decided he must go back to Europe. He explained to Niebuhr that:

“I must live through this difficult period of our national history with the Christian people of Germany…. Christians in Germany are going to face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilization may survive, or willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying our civilization. I know which of these alternatives I must choose.”1 He was back in Germany by September 1939 and the outbreak of war.

Part 2:

Bonhoeffer’s writings on Christianity's role in the secular world, in which he called for a "religion-less Christianity", have become widely influential, and many have labelled his book The Cost of Discipleship(1937) a modern classic. It was a study on the Sermon on the Mount. Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer became known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi dictatorship.

Bonhoeffer strongly opposed Hitler's euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was also involved in plans by members of the Abwehr, the German Military Intelligence Office, to assassinate Adolf Hitler. He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and executed by hanging in April 1945 while imprisoned at a Nazi concentration camp. It was just 23 days before the German surrender.2 -Ron Price with thanks to 1Elisabeth Sifton and Fritz Stern“, The Tragedy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans von Dohnanyi” in The New York Review of Books, 25/10/’12; and 2Wikipedia.

I knew nothing about you,
Dietrich back in 1944….I
was just coming into this
world & you were on your
way out. I kept hearing about
your courage and resistance to
evil as I came to read at McMaster
university in the fields of religion
and philosophy in the mid-1960s.

Later in the 1970s, while teaching
in the social sciences, you again
came in to my intellectual life, but
you were always out, way out on
the periphery with so much of the
academic and popular culture on
its way over those last 4 decades,
1972 to 2012, as I taught in high
schools, colleges, & universities.

Today, though, Dietrich, I got an
idea of what you were on about.
I wish you well in your new home
In the land of lights more than 60
years now: what is it like, Dietrich?

�Ron Price
12 October 2012
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    About Me: EMPLOYMENT-SOCIAL-ROLE POSITIONS: 1943-2012 2010-2012-Retired and on a pension in George Town, Tasmania 1999-2009-Writer & Author, Poet & Publisher, Editor & Researcher. Retired Teacher & Lecturer, Tutor & Adult Educator, Taxi-Driver & Ice-Cream Salesman, George Town Tasmania Australia 2002-2005-Program Presenter City Park Radio Launceston 1999-2004-Tutor &/or President George Town School for Seniors Inc 1988-1999 -Lecturer in General Studies & Human Services West Australian Department of Training 1986-1987 -Acting Lecturer in Management Studies & Co-ordinator of Further Education Unit at Hedland College in South Hedland WA 1982-1985 -Adult Educator Open College of Tafe Katherine NT 1981 -Maintenance Scheduler Renison Bell Zeehan Tasmania 1980-Unemployed due to illness and recovery 1979-Editor External Studies Unit Tasmanian CAE; Youth Worker Resource Centre Association; Lecturer in Organizational Behaviour Tasmanian CAE; Radio Journalist ABC---all in Launceston Tasmania 1976-1978 -Lecturer in Social Sciences & Humanities Ballarat CAE Ballarat, Victoria 1975 - Lecturer in Behavioural Studies Whitehorse Technical College, Box Hill Victoria 1974 -Senior Tutor in Education Studies Tasmanian CAE Launceston, Tasmania 1972-1973 -High School Teacher South Australian Education Department 1971-Primary School Teacher Whyalla South Australia ----------ABOVE THIS LINE AUSTRALIA AND BELOW THIS LINE CANADA-------------------------------------------------------------------- 1969-1971 Primary School Teacher Prince Edward County Board of Education Picton Ontario Canada 1969-Systems Analyst Bad Boy Co Ltd Toronto Ontario 1967-68 -Community Teacher Department of Indian Affairs & Northern Development Frobisher Bay NWT Canada 1959-67 -Summer jobs-1 to 4 months each- from grade 10 to end of university 1949-1967 - Attended 2 primary schools, 2 high schools and 2 universities in Canada: McMaster Uni-1963-1966, Windsor Teachers’ College-1966/7 1944-1963 -Childhood(1944-57) and adolescence(1957-63) in and around Hamilton Ontario 1943 to 1944-Conception in October 1943 to birth in July 1944 in Hamilton Ontario --------------------------BELOW THIS LINE-----------------------BIO-DATA----------------------- 2. SOME SOCIO-BIO-DATA TO 2011 I have been married twice for a total of 44 years. My second wife is a Tasmanian, aged 65. We’ve had one child: age 34. I have two step-children: ages: 46 and 41, three step-grandchildren, ages 18, 15 and 1, as well as one grandchild aged 3 months. All of the above applies in December 2011. I am 67, am a Canadian who moved to Australia in 1971 and have written several books--all available on the internet. I retired from full-time teaching in 1999, part-time teaching in 2003 and volunteer teaching/work in 2005 after 35 years in classrooms. In addition, I have been a member of the Baha’i Faith for 52 years. Bio-data: 6ft, 230 lbs, eyes-brown/hair-grey, Caucasian. My website is found at: http://www.ronpriceepoch.com/ You can also go to any search engine and type: Ron Price followed by any one of a number of words in addition to: poetry, forums, religion, literature, history, bipolar disorder, psychology, sociology, Baha’i, inter alia, to access my writing________________________

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