Conversations, News, VOLUME 10

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Speaks Powerfully to the Trump Age!


Tomorrow (Feb. 4) is the birthday of Dietrich Bonhoeffer… 

In the Trump era of propaganda (e.g., “alternative facts”) and violence and oppression toward anyone who is not a white heterosexual male, we would do well to return to the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer — not just the wrongheaded spin of some who have written about Bonhoeffer (AHEM, Eric Metaxas), but his actual writings themselves.

Here are 5 stunning passages that shed light on our call to costly discipleship in the present age…


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The Place of Truth is Usurped
by Sophistic Propaganda

“Great convictions” … are now replaced by the line of least resistance and sailing before the wind. In the political sphere the unscrupulous exploitation of the moment now goes by the false name of Machiavellism. The all-or-nothing gamble is called heroism and unfettered action. Whatever is neither Machiavellian nor heroic can now be explained only as “hypocrisy,” because there is no longer any understanding for the slow, laborious conflict between knowledge of right and the necessities of the hour, the conflict which was the genuine political life of the west, with all its voluntary concessions and its authentically free responsibility. Strength is disastrously confused with weakness, and historical continuity with decadence. The absence of anything lasting means the collapse of the foundation of historical life, confidence, in all its forms. Since there is no confidence in truth, the place of truth is usurped by sophistic propaganda. Since there is no confidence in justice, whatever is useful is declared to be just. And even the tacit confidence in one’s fellow-man, which rests on the certainty of permanence and constancy, is now superseded by suspicion and an hour-to-hour watch on one’s neighbor.


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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at:


Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith

"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
-Karen Swallow Prior

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