I Watched “Taking Sides”, a 2001 movie telling the story of the investigation and trial of Wilhelm Furtwangler, the famous conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, who naively or willingly helped to support Hitler by giving a civilised, respectable, artistic face of Nazism to the world with Nazi hierarchy attending concerts – just like other civilised peoples.
Art/music has nothing to do with politics Furtwangler said. And so he was silenced and was silent in a time of crisis.
But it would have been better if, at some point during a broadcast concert, for him to have suddenly stopped and condemned Hitler and the others to their faces.
He says he didn’t know but the fact is that he also did not want to know.
He knew that people who disagreed disappeared.
Could such a stand have alerted the world and the German people earlier? Could it have resulted in a wider revolution among the German people? He wasn’t married. Yes, he also might have just “disappeared”. Could he have made such a sacrifice for the honour of his country?
Maybe only if he was a Christian.
What relevance does this have for today with the Church?
Do we need a “Confessing Church” that will resist, confront and even condemn? How best might we do that?
…… Sometimes you just gently teach
…… Sometimes you preach with invitation
…… Sometimes you confront and challenge
…… Sometimes you have to condemn
…… Sometimes you have to drive the money-changers out of the temple
…… Sometimes you have to walk with Christ to Calvary.
How, in the context of the sometime, do we make such choices?
How do we evangelise when we fail to tell truth?
How do we evangelise when we fail to warn of approaching danger to our kids? When we fail to protect?
SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO MAKE CHOICES.
Do I remain silent in this situation?
Do I say “this is wrong”?
Are there times when I have to say “this is evil”?
And if I am unable to make such declarations (for myriad reasons) then can I hold up the need for choices? Here is a crossroad – I have to make a choice in my own mind as to which is right and then when it becomes necessary in my speech and behaviour. (Sex, drugs, stealing, abortion, suicide etc)
But then we need to know what and where the crossroad is. Where there are crossroads in Christian behaviour we need to know what they are and we need teachers/mentors/pastors to inform us and in a changing world continue to inform us – the watchmen. And we need to know the principles on which we can make such choices. And we need to be equipped, prepared and strengthened to face the consequences of those choices – to lose our family, our friends and to be hated as Jesus was hated.
The King of Kings is born in Bethlehem and the heavens are open to wide-eyed shepherds.
Sing, dance, exchange gifts and good wishes. Forgive, be at peace with one another. There is something bigger than ourselves.
The King of Kings is born in Bethlehem.