It would be difficult for me to be less of a poetry person, but I picked up Voices in the Night: The Prison Poems of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (edited and translated by Edwin Robertson) this morning and read this:
Christians and Others ("others" can also be translated as "Pagans")
1. All go to God in their distress,
seek help and pray for bread and happiness,
deliverance from pain, guilt and death.
ALL do, Christians and others.
2. ALL go to God in His distress,
find him poor, reviled without shelter or bread,
watch him tormented by sin, weakness, and death.
Christians stand by God in His agony.
3. God goes to ALL in their distress,
satisfies body and soul with His bread,
dies, crucified for all, Christians and others
and both alike forgiving.
I may have to rethink my distaste for poetry. Holy shit this is good stuff. Bonhoeffer is such a rock star to me. If you don't know who he is, it is worth finding out - he wrote this and volumes of theology while imprisoned by the Nazis (who later executed him) for his involvement in a failed plot to assassinate Hitler. He was a powerful voice of resistance to not only the Nazi Party, but the church in which he was a pastor - a church that was silently complicit in the death of millions.
In the commentary on the next page, Robertson says that soon after writing this poem Bonhoeffer said in a letter that: "It is not the religious act that makes the Christian, but the participation in the suffering of God in the world."
Robertson goes on to say:
By now Bonhoeffer had observed Christians and others, finding, as he said, that it was easier to talk about God with unbelievers than with Christians. One is reminded of the answer given by Jurgen Moltmann to the question, "are you, then, a Universalist?" to which as a good Calvinist he had to say "No!", but he added, "I sometimes suspect that God is."
I'm thinking this will be what we discuss at Theology Pub this Thursday.