The Readiness is All: Thinking Too Much, Not Doing Enough

Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

We have lived too much in our thoughts; we believed by considering all the options of an action in advance we could ensure it, so that it would proceed of its own accord. We learned too late that it is not the thought but readiness to take responsibility that is the mainspring of action. Your generation will relate thought and action in a new way. You will only think about what you have to answer for in action. For us thought was in many ways a luxury afforded to onlookers; for you it will be entirely subordinated to action. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).

* * *

Our church has been fighting during these years only for its self-preservation, as if that were an end in itself. It has become incapable of bringing the word of reconciliation and redemption to humankind and to the world. So the words we used before must lose their power, be silenced, and we can be Christians today in only two ways, through prayer and in doing justice among human beings. All Christian thinking, talking, and organizing must be born anew, out of that prayer and action.

β€” Letters & Papers From Prison


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