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Although he remained single for most of his life, Bonhoeffer’s friends often pursued domestic happiness through marriage. In a congratulatory letter to his betrothed friend, Bonhoeffer writes against fatalistic thinking and encourages his friend to pursue earthly joy as a sign of faith:

I would like to tell you how greatly I rejoice with you. What always delights me in enws like this is the self-assured glimpse into the future and the confidence that there is a reason to look forward to the next day or the next year, the joyful grasping hold of happiness where God still gives us. This is – don’t misunderstand me – a protest against all false, inauthentic apocalypticism that is becoming so widespread today, and I hail it as a sign of authentic and healthy faith. As earthly human beings we have to take account of an earthly future. For the sake of this future we must accept tasks, responsibilities, and joys and sorrows. We need not despise happiness simply because there is so much unhappiness. We should not arrogantly push away the kind hand of God because God’s hand is otherwise so hard. I think it is more important to remind one another of this in these days than of many other things, and I received your wedding announcements gratefully as a fine testimony to this very thing…May God also prepare you through this divine kindness to bear again the divine hardship if necessary.


I am a contrarian by nature and I often find myself on the opposing side of popular issues and pop culture. Bonhoeffer reminds me to avoid the trap of feigned intellectualism – anyone can naysay and take an opposing view to seem original, but what is his motivation? I know I have taken many stances of opposition for its own sake, and that is wrong.


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