To the ecumenical gathering at Fano in 1934:
There is no way to peace along the way to safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross. (page 241)
*** It is worth reading the letter Helmut Rossler wrote, as it seems a reasoned defence of a compromised position, and the kind of thing that we state often *** (page 256-257)
Things do exist that are worth standing up for without compromise. To me it seems that peace and social justice are such things, as is Christ himself. (page 260)
Page 211 tells the story of the meeting that Martin Niemoller had with Hitler to talk about the Riechsbishop Muller, a thug who was doing great damage in the German Church.
There are a few interesting things about this for me. The first is that Niemoller is a very brave man, and yet even he was terrified in this meeting. The second is that he had done nothing wrong, and yet Hitler made this about his failings, all on one thing that he had done wrong. He claimed that this unprecedented, and deliberately exaggerated the wrong on Niemoller’s behalf. The third is that the most important thing was not the initial outcome of the meeting, even though that was the big focus at the start. Also Niemoller was the compromise figure, but it was him that got the worst of it, especially when he tried to appeal to Hitler’s better nature, Bonhoeffer was far less easily intimidated because his mind was already made up on the matter.
Finally, there is Hitler’s demand for a compartamentalised clergy, which sticks to its sermons and leaves the important business of running the state to him.
The story of the Spanish Armada was the story of a bloody failure, almost for all sides, it was the story of British ships being absolutely battered by disease and failure to catch their prey. The sailors afterwards, many of them died from starvation and disease, and my of the Spanish galleons were wrecked on the cliffs of the Celtic isles.
But it fostered two stories. The first was the myth of the English Navy, that this was a nation which could defend itself through the sea, and out of this myth grew a love for the service.
The second was the story that Philip II of Spain had to come to terms with, that perhaps God was not with him in his quest to build empire, and what then of his God, his faith, and Philip as his divinely appointed ruler?