Prophetic Voices

It’s as if he wrote this quote just for us.

“We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Wheels, spokes, and victims of injustice – the perfect bumper sticker slogan for the FREEDOM TOUR, written by a guy with tons of credibility. If you want Christians to stop and pay attention, Bonhoeffer’s your man.

Everyone respects Bonhoeffer. Brilliant thinker and writer. Stood up and spoke out against Hitler and horrific Nazi brutality. Came to America in 1938, could’ve stayed and criticized in safety but chose to return just as WWII ramped up. Arrested, imprisoned in a concentration camp, and executed.

Everyone respects Bonhoeffer.

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I ran across the “wheels of injustice” quote a few days ago. Couldn’t help wondering – if Bonhoeffer showed up in our present circumstances and offered the sort of withering commentary he directed at the oppressive German regime, how would it be received? Would he be welcomed as a prophetic voice calling the church to confess and repent? Or would he be vilified as a radical leftist agitator?

Worth remembering that our “heroes” weren’t universally popular in their time. We remember them fondly, but men like Bonhoeffer, Wilberforce, and MLK were widely condemned by those with a stake in maintaining status quo. I wonder how their message would play certain segments of present-day cable TV?

Also worth remembering – much of what they did, and advocated, was illegal. Freeing slaves, opposing Nazi systems, sitting at lunch counters…all those violated existing law. The “Law And Order” crowd is more concerned with *order* than justice.

This all reminds me that I need to listen.

I’ve heard Dr. King’s words. I’ve read Letter From A Birmingham Jail – many times. I’ve read some of Bonhoeffer’s books. I quote Wilberforce.

I’ve heard the words, and I’ll bet you have as well. But I haven’t listened. The ideas are uncomfortable, and they were simply too easy to ignore because the impact wasn’t personal.

The voices are out there. We need to open our hearts.

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If you’re seeking one of those voices worth listening to, I recommend this conversation between Carl Lentz and T.D. Jakes. It’s long, but was worth my time.

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