(PDF version available here.)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was gay!? It’s suggested in Strange Glory, Charles Marsh’s new biography of the heroic theologian killed by the Nazis. A University of Virginia religious studies professor, Marsh zeroes in on the unusually close relationship Bonhoeffer had with his student, Eberhard Bethge.
One response is histrionics from an ex-Religious Right winger who jabs at his old cohorts who’re Bonhoeffer fans: “Bonhoeffer Was Flamingly Gay – Deal With It!” Some seize onto an obfuscating conflation of “just friends” and “erotic love”. In a Christianity Today review, Wheaton’s Timothy Larsen states: “Marsh makes a convincing case that Bonhoeffer harbored feelings for Bethge that extended beyond friendship.” Indeed, as Marsh puts it: “Bonhoeffer’s relationship with Bethge had always strained toward the achievement of a romantic love, one ever chaste but complete in its complex aspirations.”
The two shared a bank account and spent many hours in each other’s close company. Marsh suggests that Bonhoeffer’s prison engagement to a woman he’d known for years was an attempt to stay a “soul mate” of Bethge who’d became engaged to Bonhoeffer’s niece. Bonhoeffer left only a memento to his fiancée while leaving all the rest of his property, including his money, to Bethge.
Contemporary Christian composer and performer, Vicky Beeching, has come out as gay and the response has ranged from “How could she do this to us?” to “God bless her!” She tells of many years of turmoil when she prayed without ceasing that God would take away her same-sex attractions and even sought “deliverance” from the “demons of homosexuality” at a big healing crusade. After over three decades of struggle and denial, she’s still an evangelical believer who happens to be gay and she now understands that God is fine with that. She’s received strong support from the evangelical Archbishop of Canterbury and his family with whom she’s been friendly for some time. She will be a keynoter at the 2015 Gay Christian Network’s conference in Portland in January. Read more →