Bird Droppings March 12, 2011
Actions speak so much louder than words
“You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.” Leo Aikman
With an election being decided literally for 2012 on a daily basis with all of the political hoopla for each little comment made by or not made by this person or that nearly every event in the US is being measured in terms of that up coming election. I was thinking back to one of the most vocal and for me controversial contests in history when hanging chads and ancient punch cards were being blamed for votes and lack of votes for various officials only a few years back. We heard more about the other person than issues, for many weeks before and after and now here we go already controversy on minute details.
“Thou wilt find rest from vain fancies if thou doest every act in life as though it were thy last.” Marcus Aurelius
“Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.” Dietrich Bonheoffer
In 1945 rev. Dietrich Bonheoffer was hanged in a Nazi prison camp for being a member of the resistance. He was a rare Christian clergy in Germany that not only was openly vocally opposed to the National Socialists he as well as physically opposed with his involvement in assisting Jewish families out of Europe. Bonheoffer was eventually arrested, tried and executed by the Nazi’s.
“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.” Dietrich Bonheoffer
“It is the nature, and the advantage, of strong people that they can bring out the crucial questions and form a clear opinion about them. The weak always have to decide between alternatives that are not their own.” Dietrich Bonheoffer
Sitting here this wet, cold, cloudy, nearly spring morning waiting for a couple of students that were to come by to study I was getting absorbed in reading Bonheoffer’s articles. Actually a bit deep for a Friday morning I am also reading a friend’s old theology paper, which is again a bit deep for a Friday. Theology reads easier on Thursday or Saturday I have come to find out. Dietrich Bonheoffer was very controversial in his time, and even now for his thinking, which was not traditional and straight laced.
“It is the characteristic excellence of the strong man that he can bring momentous issues to the fore and make a decision about them. The weak are always forced to decide between alternatives they have not chosen themselves.” Dietrich Bonheoffer
“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.” Dietrich Bonheoffer
Being blunt was not a difficult task for Bonheoffer in his writing or speaking, In a time in history when what you said could elicit a jail sentence and or death penalty h he wrote and spoke prolifically, even the last two years of his life in a German Nazi prison writing extensively on theology and ethics and finally being executed for being involved in a plot to kill Hitler which he had no involvement.
“If you do a good job for others, you heal yourself at the same time, because a dose of joy is a spiritual cure.” Dietrich Bonheoffer
This great theologian believed in living what you believed. These following words were from prison many years ago and published after his death perhaps they provide a window into his thinking and efforts and all that which other men tell of only.
Or am I only what I know of myself,
restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,
yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
trembling with anger at despotisms and petty humiliation,
tossing in expectation of great events,
powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?
Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today, and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
and before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, thou knowest, O God, I am thine.
I find it interesting to be sitting here reading words from a man who died nearly sixty years ago because of what he believed in and lived for. In today’s crazy world it is sometimes difficult to comprehend with profitability of corporations and budget austerity for everyone else as nearly daily news it is almost paradoxical that capitalism ties itself with this same religion as Bonheoffer. Daily I review test scores of reading comprehension I wonder if we also could evaluate life comprehension or ethical comprehension. Do we truly comprehend e life that is about us and in us? Do we even consider the effects on us and around us for our efforts and impacts? So today I am sharing a few words from a man who lived as he spoke and believed and died a martyr to his words. Please keep all in harms way on your minds and in your hearts.