Monday, November 21, 2016

Bonhoeffer on Truth-Speaking

Today I found this bit of Bonhoeffer both personally challenging and theologically illuminating. It calls for truth-speaking with attention to the particulars of the relationship rather than out of some kind of principled idealism that ends up being an evasive moral superiority.
"Where 'the truth is told' without regard for the person to whom it is said, there it has only the appearance of truth but not its essence.

The cynic is the one who, claiming to 'tell the truth' in all places and at all times and to every person in the same way, only puts on a display a dead idolatrous image of the truth. By putting a halo on his own head for being a zealot for the truth who can take no account of human weaknesses, he destroys the living truth between persons.

He violates shame, desecrates the mystery, breaks trust, betrays the community in which he lives, and smiles arrogantly over the havoc he has wrought and over the human weakness that 'can't bear the truth.'"

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (English) 16: 683.
In context Bonhoeffer seems to be suggesting that our approach to (or avoidance of) confrontation needs to be enfolded in a theology and actual practice of Christ-confession.


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