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Leading like Bonhoeffer

What the German theologian is still teaching me on the 70th anniversary of his death.
Leading like Bonhoeffer

One evening, after his young students at the underground seminary of Finkenwalde had finished their supper, Dietrich Bonhoeffer went alone to the kitchen to wash the dishes.

He began the work alone, then requested the help of his pupils. But the seminarians did not budge, leaving Bonhoeffer alone scrubbing silverware. When no one offered to serve alongside him, he locked the door. When the students realized what he had done, they felt badly and finally offered to help. The door, however, remained locked and Bonhoeffer finished the work alone. His lesson was simple: service and leadership go together, and true service does not stem from lazy pity.

Each of the students at Finkenwalde had a number of these experiences when, because of his intense desire to teach them, Bonhoeffer would do or command something unusual in order to underscore the radical nature of life within the kingdom of God. To make disciples of Jesus in this upside-down kingdom required hyperbole and dramatic expression. ...

May/June
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