How Bonhoeffer became the type of man who resisted the Nazis and Hitler to the death, when so many of his countrymen did not

German Christian leader and resistance participant Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945) in early to mid 1930s. An outspoken critic of the Nazi regime, the Lutheran pastor and theologian was ultimately hanged at Flossenburg Concentration Camp. (Authenticated News/Getty)

This article is adapted from my book, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Ethics of Formation, about how Bonhoeffer became the man who resisted the Nazis and Adolf Hitler to the death.

Three unwinnable struggles

Last year, here at Arc, Nicholas Grossman addressed developments in the Trump administration’s approach to fighting what has become known as “the Forever War” — the war the United States has been fighting in Afghanistan for almost two decades now.

In doing so, Grossman also helpfully summarized significant elements of the larger global war on terror:

[Trump] defines victory against the transnational jihadists of ISIS and al Qaeda as their elimination, which won’t happen. They’re manifestations of a movement — an idea — which exists on the internet as much as in any physical location. The U.S. and allies can…

Even being in the top 20 percent of U.S. earners doesn’t mean much in the Golden State

In 2015, if your household income was $186,000, you were average. Average, that is, for the upper quintile (20 percent) of earners in the United States, making about 3.5 times the median household income. By all accounts, that should make you rich or really well-off — wealthy, even — according to the standard way we use those terms. You are part of the group that pays a significant amount in taxes, yet you make too much money to benefit from most government programs. You would stand to save thousands of dollars because of the recent GOP tax reform law, and…

“Experience” has become too respected as a source of authority in recent years. This is unwise.

Lorie Shaull

After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL on February 14 — which left 17 people dead and more than a dozen injured — the Boston Globe noted that

many survivors of the shooting have become public activists for nationwide changes on gun control.

The students have quickly risen to national fame, becoming the faces and voices for their community, and speaking out to local and national leaders about the changes they want. …

We have a pressing national problem that neither Trump nor Congress seem interested in solving

As we gaze into the murky future of the 2018–2020 political landscape, the circus that is the Trump administration and the semi-functional theater that is our current Congress have concealed a possibility that could have significant consequences: GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan may retire soon.

After years of resisting the Obama administration and planning for the day he might finally enact his long-dormant agenda, Ryan has finally achieved one half of his core governing vision: the sweeping tax reform bill that passed in late 2017. But his political dreams were never supposed to stop at cutting taxes. …

What if Martin Luther King took over for The Donald?

Even after a contentious and, for many Republicans, disappointing first year of the Trump Administration, Donald Trump’s most reliable bloc of supporters continues to be middle-aged working-class white men. In a recent piece for The Atlantic, Ronald Brownstein cites survey results which show

Trump losing ground over his tumultuous first year not only with the younger voters and white-collar whites who have always been skeptical of him, but also with the blue-collar whites central to his coalition.

Yet, significantly, Brownstein points out that

Trump retains important pillars of support. Given that he started in such a strong position with those…

Is Elizabeth Bruenig right that the rich are the real welfare queens?

In a recent article in the Washington Post, Elizabeth Bruenig argues that, contrary to GOP aims, it shouldn’t be the poor that society requires to work for government largesse, but the lazy rich. After laying out her case, she concludes:

In other words, the well-to-do already do what workfare advocates seem so nervous about: rake in money they haven’t earned through market labor and thrive off the government’s largesse. Perhaps that itself is unfair — so why duplicate it on the other end of the economy? Put simply, it seems ludicrous at best and sadistic at most to start one’s…

In a year that some have described as ‘A Scooter to the Ankle,’ here are some of the highlights

News and commentary are overwhelmingly negative. Views and clicks and advertising money don’t go to the people running the most positive or optimistic websites, after all. Reporters and pundits in this industry are most often rewarded for breaking scandals on Twitter, criticizing the other team with razor-sharp wit and finely-honed insight, or being the first to deliver a blazing-hot take on the latest tragedy. It’s a red meat business, a “will snark for food” business, a “thoughts and prayers” or “anti-thoughts and prayers” business.

But that’s not how the world actually works. People earn degrees, lose weight, get a new…

A meditation on parking tickets in Los Angeles

Sitting on my front porch in the middle of Los Angeles, California, I saw a drama unfold that encapsulates why many of us dislike the ways in which governments affect our everyday lives. In this holiday season, it serves as a parable of sorts of the relationship between an often beleaguered people and their often Leviathan-esque civil institutions.

Every Monday morning, from 8:00 a.m. until noon, cars cannot be parked on my side of the street, according to posted signs. If your car is parked in this zone, you will receive a $60 parking ticket from a parking enforcement officer…

ESPN personalities have become increasingly political. The only problem? They are not good at political commentary.

Bill Simmons was once ESPN’s hottest talent, and now — backed by HBO and Vox Media — he runs his own media empire through The Ringer, its various extensions on social platforms, and its accompanying podcast smorgasbord. Jemele Hill has risen through the ranks of ESPN to become one of its most recognizable faces, especially on the 6 p.m. “SportsCenter” with co-host Michael Smith. Dan Le Batard, who also works for ESPN, (figuratively) owns the radio waves in South Florida, and his sports and culture takes reverberate across the internet and on television.

Countless other ESPN and former ESPN personalities…

Ryan Huber

Co-Founder, Editor-at-Large, Arc | PhD Ethics | Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics @ Fuller Theological Seminary

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store