Discussing
Bonhoeffer, Blue Ruin and relinquishing revenge

Josh Larsen

Josh Larsen
May 14, 2014

Blue Ruin is a rough, riveting revenge thriller that’s two parts Coen brothers and one part Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

JS
May 18, 2014

I'm a little confused about equating resistance and revenge. Am I misunderstanding the article? Bonhoeffer carried out acts of resistance in Nazi Germany, but not acts of revenge. Yet, the work of his quoted here seems to equate the two:

"Of course this can only happen when the last ounce of resistance is abandoned, and the renunciation of revenge is complete. Then evil cannot find its mark, it can breed no further evil, and is left barren."

Josh Larsen
TC Staff
May 19, 2014

Great question, JS. This is a central issue when it comes to Bonhoeffer. A helpful consideration of it is the essay <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=10tMAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA15&lpg=PA15&dq=Ronald+Osborn+Bonhoeffer's+Pacifism&source=bl&ots=yDvjQ_-IL3&sig=cIf3PxvZ73eFP3N0OonVJXZU5mU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=oxp6U9WiNNGWqAaRwYLABg&ved=0CFAQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=Ronald Osborn Bonhoeffer's Pacifism&f=false">"Bonhoeffer's Pacifism,"</a> found in Ronald Osborn's Anarchy and Apocalypse. It addresses Bonhoeffer's Nazi resistance directly, and while I'm not sure it completely settles the question in my mind, it certainly creates a space where Bonhoeffer's writings and actions are not in direct conflict.

JS
May 21, 2014

Josh: Thanks. I'll look at that essay and I appreciate the link. Bonhoeffer is familar to me only by reputation, so I look forward to learning more about him.

JS
May 21, 2014

As I'm starting to read this essay, the movie "Machine Gun Preacher" comes to mind. Based on a man who decided that using violence to protect children is justifiable for a Christian, the movie makes it hard for me to judge that choice. In that movie, he saw negative results of using violence just as he would have if he hadn't.

It's really tough for me to fall on one side of this argument or the other.

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