Thursday, August 30, 2012

Theologian Thursday: Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)

This is the last post in my Month of Martyrs series. I hope you enjoyed it!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in Germany to a prominent family--his mother was a countess and his father was a well-known neurologist. He was one of eight children, and he was actually a twin!

When he was 17, Bonhoeffer began studying theology at Tubingen University, and a year later entered the University of Berlin. This began his struggle between the liberal theology popular at the time (and taught by his professors, which included Harnack--who at one point was the director of the Royal Library in Berlin) and the neo-orthodoxy espoused by Karl Barth, to which he had taken a liking.

Bonhoeffer also studied at Union Theological Seminary in New York, and did much work with churches in Harlem. This created in him a deep, abiding love for African American hymns and spirituals.

After various teaching and ministering positions around Europe, when the Nazis came to power in 1933, he became an immediate enemy of the regime, speaking out against Hitler's grab for power, the persecution of the Jews, and the Nazis' effect on the German church.

Bonhoeffer became an integral part of the Confessing Church, and was eventually barred from teaching in German universities or print or publish anything. The Confessing Church was also made illegal in Germany, and many of its pastors were imprisoned. He then began the underground Finkenwalde Seminary, to continue teaching in resistance to the Nazis.

He joined the Abwehr, which was a German intelligence organization that developed multiple plots to assassinate Hitler. His involvement in the organization and their failed assassination attempts is what eventually got him arrested, and after two years of imprisonment he was hanged on April 9 1945 at Flossenburg concentration camp.

Bonhoeffer's prophetic voice and focus on a practical, worldly theology and his emphasis on Christians (of all kinds) living out the gospel of the cross of Christ is what makes him still relevant today. Furthermore, his intolerance for injustice and his bravery in the face of outright evil is something we can all admire.

If you're interested in learning more, I highly recommend the documentary Bonhoeffer. It's on Netflix instant stream!

What you should read:

  • The Cost of Discipleship
  • Letters & Papers from Prison
(To read more about my Theologian Rating System, click HERE)
Gender Equality:
Bonhoeffer taught both men and women at Finkenwalde Seminary, and I'm sure he felt that women had just as much business living the Christian life and following the way of Jesus than men.
Environmental Sensibility:
I think with the influence of liberal theology, Bonhoeffer had a fairly positive notion of the redemption of all creation.
Heretical Tendencies: 
Even though the German "Church" anathemized Bonhoeffer and the rest of the Confessing Church, I think it's pretty clear who the real heretics were.
General Badassery: 
It's hard to do justice to how completely badass Dietrich Bonhoeffer is. He is a true hero of the faith and gave his life resisting real evil in the world.

“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.” 

Monday, August 27, 2012

ModCloth Sale!


ModCloth is having their annual Summer's Last Hurrah sale. Now, this isn't any old sale, where you save a measly 10-20%. We're talking 70% off, people. As in, I bought a $100 dress for $30. As in, a cart that would have cost me nearly $400 (except I never would have spent that much) only cost me about $120.

Check out my haul:

 Something about the beginning of the school year makes me absolutely HAVE to buy new clothes. I really can't help it. And I'm so excited to start the new year with this cute (and cheap!) stuff from ModCloth.

Go check it out yourself!

Your'e welcome, little ModCloth pug. You're welcome.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Caturday: Blog Birthday Edition

Here are some kitties singing Happy Birthday to the blog!

Happy Caturday!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Paper Crane Library DOT COM!

After one year and over one hundred posts, I finally decided to buy my very own domain for the blog.

It's not a huge deal, but I'm pretty excited about it.

Basically I'm saving you 9 keystrokes every time you visit.

But I think if you have me bookmarked or in your reader/rss feed nothing should have changed. Let me know if you're having a problem, though!

I also have an email address. So if you have a blog related question, comment, or suggestion (or if you just want to say hi) you can reach me at

Also, if you are interested in linking here from your blog (you know, because you love me so much), I have a cute little button you can use:

Just copy and paste the following HTML

LASTLY, if it's not too much trouble, and if you like what you read, please consider "following" me using Google Friend Connect over in the right-hand column-------------->
All you need is an email address or a Twitter handle. It's really easy, and it lets me know who's actually reading my blog (which really means a lot to me). I'd really really  appreciate it!

Thanks everybody! I look forward to another fun year of blogging!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Theologian Thursday: Joan of Arc (c1412-1431)

This is the fourth post in my Month of Martyrs series. Stay tuned for the last post next week!

To be honest, most of my previous knowledge about Joan of Arc was from that episode of Wishbone.

Don't judge. You know what I'm talking about.

But really, even though she wasn't exactly a theologian, she was a martyr, and she's a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, and I think her story is important for a number of reasons.

The gist of Joan of Arc's history is that she was born when the French were losing the Hundred Years' War, she received a vision when she was about 13 of Saints Margaret, Catherine, and Michael, who told her that God said to get the English out of France, so despite the fact that she was a girl of rather low standing, she made it into the army, rallied the troops (even captured a fortress by herself), and ultimately increased the morale of the French enough for them eventually to win the war (20 years after her death). She was captured by the Burgudians, purchased from them by the English, and subsequently tried for heresy and burned alive at the stake.

Here's why I think Joan of Arc is interesting: While I admire her determination in the face of adversity and the fact that she did what she thought was right despite the men in charge not taking her seriously, she essentially turned what was a war born of royal family drama into a holy war.

Of course, as a pacifist, I hate the whole idea of "holy war." BUT it's interesting to me that her being so sure that God wanted the French to win was what gave her army the passion it needed to actually be victorious. AND this idea is still prevalent today--everyone thinks God is on their side.

(To read more about my Theologian Rating System, click HERE)
Gender Equality:
Joan of Arc clearly did not let the fact that she was a woman get in the way of her doing what she needed to do. Even though she was at times purposefully left out of important military meetings and rarely taken seriously (especially at the beginning of her involvement in the war), she went ahead with whatever she wanted, which was usually smarter than what the men had planned. She went as far as to keep her hair cut short and dress in men's clothing in order to quit being sexually objectified (this even ended up being part of her heresy charge).
Environmental Sensibility:
Can I skip this one today? She supposedly hung out in the forest around a "Fairy Tree" as a child. So I guess she liked nature OK...?
Heretical Tendencies:
She was tried as a heretic in England, but the heresy she was charged for is based mostly on her experiences of voices and visions, but I'm pretty sure there were English people having visions that weren't tried as heretics. My feeling is that by "heretic" they meant "French patriot."

General Badassery:
I don't think this is really a surprise. Joan of Arc was a badass, plain and simple. When she was imprisoned by the Burgundians, she jumped out of a 70 foot tower to escape. She did her thing. HBIC for sure.

"I am not afraid... I was born to do this."