This afternoon I’ll start the first of nine classes on the life and works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer for Project 12. A daunting task indeed! How do I introduce a man to students completely unfamiliar with him when I’ve been reading from him and about him for years and still feel like I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface! Most of what I’ve encountered by way of introductions has been quite disappointing. There is usually no attempt at delving into the nature of his work in the Confessing church, his Christology, or his sense of Calling. The brief narratives ignore everything most important!
But I fear that in my attempt to steer clear of an easy narrative I may bog the students down with postgraduate constructions that leave them staring out the window with blank looks (and maybe a little drool on the chin) thinking, “Huh?” My plan at this point is to try and break down an outline into nine sessions (the first being the two hour film Bonhoeffer: pastor, pacifist, Nazi resister by Martin Doblmeier) that briefly immerse the students in Bonhoeffer’s understanding of what it means to be a Christian in his particular Church and a man for his times, always with an eye toward being Christian in our particular Church and as men and women fully engaged in our time. I’ll try to share the outline once I get it together.