“I know which of these alternatives I must choose, but I cannot make that choice from security.”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian who conspired against Hitler
NATIONAL DUDLEY ON THE RISK OF SAFETY
Bonhoeffer was a German’s German.
From a family of academics, he used his incredible intellect, gifts and writings to teach thousands during his life. As Germany became grim moving into WWII, those who understood his great gifts arranged for Bonhoeffer to leave Germany for a professorship.
But in America, Bonhoeffer wrote this quote to family at home. He was speaking of his choice to actively participate in a plot against Hitler (eventually to assassinate him), or not. As a theologian and great thinker, this must have been excruciating. But in his wisdom, Bonhoeffer knew that with a greater view of eternity/his God/his country/his family, he could not make that decision within the safe borders of America.
To me, this reflects the environment in which we must take risks. Can I plan a business while holding a job or do I need to jump? The very act of falling, of making myself weak is integral to the decision.
Bonhoeffer was hung at Hitler’s order two weeks before the end of the war. His letters and papers have taught millions since. The account of his death in Metaxis’ Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy gives the impression that Bonhoeffer wouldn’t have had it any other way.
What is the risk that you took? Was that the risk or was the risk not taking one at all?
MORE FROM NATIONAL DUDLEY