I’ve been reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer; A Spoke in the Wheel by Renate Wind for a few weeks now, and I find myself absorbed by the struggles he faced and how they might apply to my own journey. The writing allows us to sense we’re hearing directly from Bonhoeffer as he processes his internal toil trying to reconcile an upper-middle class upbringing while seeing suffering all around him, the tension between grace and doing the real work we’re called to do, and how the church he served was aligning itself with Hitler and the nationalist movement sweeping Germany in the 1930s. The martyr and author of Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer seemed to be constantly haunted by the realization that others in his church didn’t see – or act upon – the happenings around them. His desire was to help the church change course, but losing ground, he was eventually driven to conceed and part ways with his beloved institution. Bonhoeffer not only decided to part ways, the master theologian helped to facilitate a plot on Hitler’s life – a decision that seems impossible for a christian preacher – and one that cost him his life. Read more
Cultivating empathy in my own children and modeling empathy for the needs of our greater community has consistently been a core strand of both my personal and professional work. Brain scans now tell us that the blossoming and pruning of neurons tied to social responsibility, emotional connection to greater causes and to acting on empathetic feelings is in full swing during middle school and high school years – no suprise to those who work with teens on a daily basis. For these reasons – and because of my internal wrestling match with technology and how it impacts human behaviors – I am fascinated by the RSAnimate video belowed shared by Angela Meiers on her blog today. I encourage you to take 10 minutes to watch the video and consider the hopeful message shared.
Maybe, just maybe… with the right leadership, hard work, and the right use of technology… empathy will evolve us into a global community that lifts up more than tears down… I dare to hope… do you?