Heroes


DIETRICH BONHOEFFER

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a distinguished German theologian, writer and clergyman. Adolph Hitler was savaging his beloved country and much of Europe. He had many opportunities to flee to safer nations where he could have lived comfortably. He chose to remain and to stand against the tyrant dictator. Bonhoeffer went so far as to actively participate in a plot to kill Hitler. It failed. As a result he was jailed, tried and hung on April 9. 1945, just days before the end of the war.

His impact is still felt. I recently went to a meeting sponsored by a group of Christians living in community. Two women who were in their early 20's both had the opportunity to speak to the small crowd who had gathered to support the outreach they were involved in. They both opened books written by Bonhoeffer and quoted from them. His words were published over sixty years ago but are still fresh, vibrant and inspired. He could have protected himself and made a good living on the lecture circuit. No one would have blamed him. Bonhoeffer chose to risk it all. It cost him his life but increased his legacy as a man who placed following Jesus above all else.


SISTER ANTONIA IN HER CELL

Sister Antonia

I first heard of Sister Antonia while I was building a house. I had my radio headphones set on NPR. The interview they aired with her lasted nearly an hour. I was mesmerized by this woman in her 80's. The radio host mentioned the book PRISON ANGEL which told her life story. My children soon bought me a copy after hearing me speak about her in glowing terms.

Sister Antonia had her life changing moment in her early 50's. She was a beautiful blonde, twice divorced, mother of seven and living fashionably in Beverly Hills. She felt called to be a nun but the Catholic church rejected her for being too old and too divorced. Antonia defiantly sewed her own nun's uniform and began helping the poor in Tijuana Mexico. She organized food and clothing drives, contacted dentists and doctors to donate free medical help and eventually moved into the prison so that she could be closer to the prisoners and their families. The stark concrete cell with no hot water became her home for nearly three decades.

Antonia helped thousands. She drove across the border hundreds of times to bring supplies back to her people. She ministered to high level drug runners in private cells as well as common prisoners who could not buy their way out. She became a beloved figure among the poor and destitute. Eventually the pope recognized her and gave her a special order known as the Sisters of the Eleventh Hour. Antonia's greatest lesson is that even one unknown person can change the world.


JOHNNY CASH PHOTO

Johnny Cash

I don't listen to the radio any more. My ears can't take it. The very soul of music has been stripped away. Corporate executives with no feel for art have formatted playlists and forced artists to become commercial pawns. Music is no longer created for the joy of the listener but rather to please those who control the airwaves. It is now being referred to as advertainment. Will the song tie in with product placement? Will it nail the sales demographics?

New artists are created by TV programs which promote them endlessly, pick their songs for albums and market them like ratings driven pimps. Music videos have placed more emphasis on the packaging of the musician rather than on their ability. The secular industry creates the trend and the Christian industry does what it does best...it mimics.

Few artists last more than a year or two and if they do they have to perform stunts to stay in the public eye..Disposable music, disposable artists, mind numbing videos, sell outs, bad lyrics and the love for money and fame more than good art has tainted music.

Johnny Cash recently died. He cut across the grain of the industry. He was a poet, a rock star, a country music icon, a statesman for the poor and outcasts and was not owned. His music defied formats. He was a true artist often stating that he just did songs that please him only. His impact spanned almost half a century.

His death was the end of an era. The outlaw musician who placed art above commerce is a rare breed. Cash was fortunate enough to gain public exposure. Others like him are buried by the current star system. We may never hear them because they don't have corporate backing. It's our loss.

His faith was woven into his art. He sang about God in Las Vegas, in prisons and to a diverse audience. His goal was not to ram it down the throats of the listeners but to simply share his life honestly. He was a drug addict who had been rescued. The faith he walked away from for over a decade of indulgances came back full circle. How could he hide that truth?

Johnny Cash was a big man in many ways. His impact remains. He didn't hide his flaws. He sang about them. He stayed true to his creative vision. He didn't sell out. If he showed up on the music scene as a young man in this era we would never have discovered him. American idol wouldn't like his vocal range or looks. Radio wouldn't find a place for him. The Christian industry wouldn't like his blunt direct manner. He wasn't slick enough for new country music. But he would still sing for whoever wanted to listen because this is why he was put on this planet.

If they played Johnny Cash on the radio a lot of us would turn it on again. It's not going to happen. Somewhere out there is another hair-do with an agressive agent and minimal skills who will fill the spot that should belong to Cash. That's the way things are now. It's wrong. Good art is bigger than the image makers, bigger than the suits that crush creative mavericks, bigger than industry...it's as big as the man in black.


WHITE ROSES



True Believers ~ The White Rose

The WHITE ROSE SOCIETY was a group formed by students Hans and Sophie Scholl and a band of friends, theologians and professors. Their common goals were to stand against the Nazi regime that was terrorizing their country in the early 1940's and more importantly to declare that Christ was the supreme power and not Adolph Hitler. They secretly wrote and printed leaflets behind a church organ. They would then take as many as 2000 of them at a time and randomly distribute this bold writing in cities such as Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Vienna, Frieburg, Saarbreuken and Mannheim.

SOPHIE & HANS SCHOLL



They soon networked with others outside of their environment of Munich and Ulm. They joined forces with the swingkids and other scattered groups of dissidents. They often met in cafes to discuss art, literature, poetry and music. They went on skiing trips, long hikes into the forest and concerts. The distributed an underground magazine called Windlicht which means wind, light, a hurricane or storm lamp. The essays contained in it were an outlet of expression against the political / military machine that was devouring Germany.

CHRISTOPHER PROBST

Sentenced to Death for High Treason

Christopher Probst age 24
Hans Scholl age 25
Sophie Scholl age 22

~ The sentence has already been carried out ~

Eventually the members of the WHITE ROSE SOCIETY were discovered and arrested as enemies of the state. At Sophie Scholl's trial she showed so much faith, strength, courage and dignity that even the Nazi guards were stunned. The courtroom became a platform for her to shine through the heavy darkness that hung like stormclouds.

"I entered a spacious hall...vaulted ceiling black with soot... the hearts of the believers vibrated in unison... One could sense the stirring, the outpouring of souls unfolding after a long and terrible silence, souls that had at last found their way back to their true home... I could have wept for joy, because my heart too was loosing its bonds one by one.

I wanted to love and laugh because I could see that hovering above these defeated people was an angel stronger than the powers of nothingness. Spiritual Nihilism was a major threat to European civilization, but as soon as it underwent its ultimate development in the total war to which we have finally succumbed and as soon as it veiled the mighty sky like a sea of grey cloud, it was vanquished. Nothing comes after nothing, yet kindle the flame and pass it from hand to hand until a new wave of rebirth inundates the land. The veil of cloud is rent asunder, as it were by the sunlight of a new religious awakening."

~ Hans Scholl ~

THE WHITE ROSE SOCIETY

"We Will Not Be Silent. We Are Your Bad Conscience.
The White Rose Will Not Leave You In Peace..."

~ from the 4th leaflet of The White Rose ~




PICTURE OF MOTHER TERESA

Love In Action ~ Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa left the comforts and safety of a wealthy family to devote life to the poor, the sick and the needy. She exhibited grace and courage that are rarely seen in most church leaders today. Her complete devotion to the cause transformed 1000's of lives. She loved the people that she spent time with. She risked her health, her reputation and her protection to be the hands and feet of Christ.

"Everybody today seems to be in a hurry. No one has time to give to others; children to their parents, parents to their children, spouses to each other. World peace begins to break down in the home."

"God has created us so we do small things with great love. I believe in that great love, that comes, or should come from our heart, should start at home; with my family, my neighbors across the street, those right next door. and this love should reach to everyone."

"As far as I am concerned the greatest suffering is to feel alone, unwanted, unloved. The greatest suffering is also having no one, forgetting what an intimate, truly human relationship is, not knowing what it means to be loved, not having a family or friends."

"Ghandi felt fascinated at knowing Christ, He met Christians and felt let down."

"Often we Christians constitute the worst obstacle for those who try to become closer to Christ; we often preach a gospel we do not live. This is the principle reason why people of the world don't believe."

~ Mother Teresa ~

What The World Needs

It is our responsibility to portray to the world exactly who Jesus is. We do not need to prop Him up for He stands on His own. We need not exaggerate for His presence speaks volumes. We do not need to hide Him from the real world for He prefers the streets and gutters to stained glass tombs.

When we begin to live out the words that He spoke the world will come searching for us. When we eliminate ego, selfishness and greed and promote the faith that sacrifices personal need our impact will be stunning.

People are looking for the safe house. When they see it they will enter. Why aren't we building them in every city, in every neighborhood?

Paint a true picture of Christ and people will respond.