Review DVD: Bonhoeffer (2003)

6 Star Special, Consciousness & Social IQ, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Religion & Politics of Religion, Reviews (DVD Only)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond 5 Stars–Gripping Good Stuff,

November 19, 2004
Eberhard Bethge
Edit of 20 Dec 07 to add links.

My short notes on this incredible film:

* Possible for 1 man to detect evil early on, and to resist evil

* Bonhoeffer excelled at pointing out that for any man or nation to presume that God takes sides or endorses any particular position is very pretentious

* God is *community* — God is present to the extent that community of man thrives

* If the working poor turn away from the church, it is failing; if the petty bourgeoisie flock to the church it is failing and pretentious

* In times of economic crisis, fascism can be attractive to BOTH the industrial leaders AND the forlorn working poor

* New York fellowship focused him on social ethics, energized him with exposure to writing by black authors, pious singing within black churches

* Purpose of ethics and theology is to change the world for the better

* Adam Clayton Powell Senior made the black church in New York into a political and social force

* Black Christ has rapturous passion, contrasts sharply with white didactic Christ

* Friendships with pacifists taught him that “nothing in scripture permits man to destroy the body of Christ” (the community)

* For every person that is unemployed, 2-5 go hungry

* Hitler called on God, claimed God, Quoted God. For Hitler, God was a “completely ideological God” according to Bishop Wolfgang Huber, one of those interviewed

* Church in Germany was guilty of preparing the way for Hitler, setting the stage for an authoritarian or “acceptance” state

* At 27, Bonhoeffer addressed nation via radio, suggested that the leader as “idol” was sacrilegious. His broadcast was cut off.

* Bonhoeffer brought the Bible alive–taught his student to read the Bible as if God were *here and now* speaking to *you* personally.

* Hitler called on God, but he was actually in competition with God for the role of SAVIOR of the German people.

* Hitler legalized church prejudices against Jews going back to Martin Luther

* Must distinguish between anti-Judaism (conflict of faiths) and anti-Semitism (racism)

* According to Bonhoeffer, Church has three options in times of crisis and state abuse:

1) Ask the State if its actions are legitimate

2) Support the victims (Bonhoeffer is specific in saying Church must support all victims, even if not part of the Church)

3) Oppose the State

His work focused on the ease with which false loyalty (e.g. to a President rather than a Constitution), false Church is a easy path for most.

Catholic Church signed a Concordat with Hitler, agreeing not to resist.

Others did resist–Pastors Emergency League, claimed 7,000 members out of a possible 27,000

Bonhoeffer was so exceptional that he was invited by Gandhi to visit him

“Peace is the opposite of security” (one is actual, the other is enforced)

* Study, service, prayer.

* Oppressed people of color have piety and also have something to teach to all Christians.

* What cost oppression? The cost is the loss of God.

* War, and the persecution of Jews, are injustice incarnate. “One is not true to God when one has a lax conception of war or of justice,” This according to Bishop Albrecht Schonherr

* Bonhoeffer was a double agent, engaged in plot to kill Hitler

* Ethics is situational–will of God has infinite variations. Ethics is less about principles and more about flexibility. Ethics is an act of faith–every minute, every day.

* Hitler dominated Germany for over a decade.

* Bonhoeffer was marched naked to the gallows and hung. His last words, “For me this is the beginning of life.”

* His message: live completely in this world–thus do we throw ourselves into the hands of God–take ALL suffering seriously.

This was a moving DVD. It offers superb organization, superb visuals, and superb choral music in the background. This DVD was so thoughtful I found myself replaying sections 3X to 5X.

This was so good it has focused me on my next book–instead of national security (forced peace)–I am going for INFORMATION PEACEKEEPING: Ethics, Theology, and Collective Intelligence (inherent peace).

If you’ve gotten this far, you need to see this DVD. Available at Blockbuster and also well worth buying as a recurring reflection piece .

See also, with reviews:
Gandhi (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition)
The Snow Walker
The Last Samurai (Two-Disc Special Edition)
March Or Die

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