Resistance is the Only Human Way to Live

A temptation you face as a teacher when you talk about the stories of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the White Rose is that their stories can come across to students as legends of moral heroism, which can seem divorced from their quotidian lives. So I spend a lot of time talking about resistance as non-conformity.

I'm taking a cue here from William Stringfellow. In his book An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land, Stringfellow describes visiting with members of the various Nazi resistance movements after WW2. What Stringfellow discovered in their stories is how members of the resistance took enormous risks to do very small things, things that, realistically speaking, weren't going to do all that much to stop Hitler. Still, they took the risk. Here's Stringfellow describing this risk/reward imbalance:
[T]he Resistance, undertaken and sustained through the long years of the Nazi ascendancy in which most of Western Europe was conquered and occupied, consisted, day after day, of small efforts. Each one of these, if regarded in itself, seems far too weak, too temporary, too symbolic, too haphazard, too meek, too trivial to be efficacious against the oppressive, monolithic, pervasive presence which Nazism was, both physically and psychically, in the nations which had been defeated and seized. Realistically speaking, those who resisted Nazism did so in an atmosphere in which hope, in its ordinary connotations, had been annihilated. To calculate their actions--abetting escapes, circulating mimeographed news, hiding fugitives, obtaining money or needed documents, engaging in various forms of noncooperation with the occupying authorities or the quisling bureaucrats, wearing armbands, disrupting official communications--in terms of odds against the Nazi efficiency and power and violence and vindictiveness would seem to render their witness ridiculous. The risks for them of persecution, arrest, torture, confinement, death were so disproportionate to any concrete results that could practically be expected that most human beings would have despaired--and, one recalls, most did. Yet these persons persevered in their audacious, extemporaneous, fragile, puny, foolish Resistance.
So, why did they do it, given that the risks were so high and the possibility of success so small?  Here's Stringfellow's answer:
The answer to such questions is, I believe, that the act of resistance to the power of death incarnate in Nazism was the only means of retaining sanity and conscience. In the circumstances of the Nazi tyranny, resistance became the only human way to live. 
Resistance became the only human way to live. That's the message I'm preaching to my students.

In the imagination of the Bible, the world is ruled by the devil, who is described as the "god" and "prince" of this world (John 12.21; 2 Cor. 4.4). All around us, we see this force of dehumanization constantly at work.

Resistance, therefore, is refusing to be conformed to the dehumanizing pattern of this world (Rom. 12.2).

Resistance is non-conformity, rehumanization in the face of dehumanization.

Resistance is living in this world as a human being.

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