Jack Jenkins, religion reporter at Think Progress, recently asked his Twitter followers: “what theology are you reading right now to cope?” (Cope with the disturbing presidential election results, that is.)
Many of us are reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), the German Lutheran pastor who devoted his career, and eventually gave his life, to opposing the Nazi regime and the complacent strain of Christianity that chose to accommodate it. The resistance movement that Bonhoeffer and others led is probably most famous for this warning against fascism’s insidious creep:
First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
Bonhoeffer’s writings always offer a bracing dose of courage. During these especially anxious days they also serve as quiet rebukes of the incoming Swaggerer-in-Chief. He was hanged by the Gestapo the year before the PEOTUS was born, yet Bonhoeffer offers antidotes to the odious bombast that surrounds us. In the vernacular of Twitter, in other words, he’s a divinely gifted subtweeter.
PEOTUS: Part of the beauty of me is that I’m very rich.
Bonhoeffer: Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected.
PEOTUS: You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
Bonhoeffer: Strict exercise of self-control is an essential feature of the Christian’s life.
PEOTUS: The world was gloomy before I won – there was no hope. Now the market is up nearly 10 percent and Christmas spending is over a trillion dollars
Bonhoeffer: It is very easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements in comparison with what we owe others.
PEOTUS: Hillary Clinton is the vessel of a corrupt global establishment that’s raiding our country and surrendering the sovereignty of our nation.
Bonhoeffer: Nothing that we despise in other men is inherently absent from ourselves.
PEOTUS: Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream. I’ve spent my entire life and business looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world. That is now what I want to do for our country.
Bonhoeffer: If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.