Thursday: Keynote Panel + Q&A

Friday: Teaching Workshop and Roundtable Discussion

All are welcome!

In our fraught times, 20th century pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer offers moral guidance and courage. He challenges us to consider the impact of our actions for the future. In his famous essay, “Account at the Turn of the Year 1942-1943,” he wrote, the “ultimately responsible question is not how I extricate myself heroically from a situation but [how] a coming generation is to go on living” (DBWE 8:42). 

As we wrestle with our own questions of responsibility and responsible action in our 21st century context, faith leaders and scholars are also disturbed by distorted and myopic readings of Bonhoeffer’s life and work that undermine his significance for today or are used to bolster Christian nationalism here and abroad. 

In light of the pending US presidential election, challenges to democracy globally, the climate emergency, and more, the stakes for cultivating courage are high. 

Join Bonhoeffer scholars, Lori Brandt Hale and Stephen Haynes, and German television journalist and theologian, Arnd Henze, for an evening keynote panel discussion focused on democracy and discipleship (July 11th), a morning workshop about reading and interpreting Bonhoeffer with integrity in classrooms, congregations, and public spaces (July 12th), and an afternoon roundtable discussion exploring public and political discourse and options for action – all for the common good (July 12th).  

Three events in two days!

Keynote PanelTeaching WorkshopRoundtable Discussion
Thursday, July 11th,
7:00pm – 8:30pm
Friday, July 12th,
9:30am – 12:30pm
Friday, July 12th,
1:45pm – 4:00pm
Democracy and Discipleship: Lessons from Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Polarized TimesReading and Interpreting Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Polarized Times: Strategies for Classrooms, Congregations, and Civic SpacesReading Bonhoeffer with Integrity: Cultivating Courage in our Polarized Times
All events are at Augsburg University in the Oren Gateway Center, Room 100.

Keynote Panelists:

About the panelists and discussion leaders:

Lori Brandt Hale, Professor of Religion at Augsburg University. Trained in philosophical theology and philosophy of religion, Brandt Hale currently serves as the President of the International Bonhoeffer Society – English Language Section Board of Directors. She is the co-editor, with W. David Hall, of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Theology, and Political Resistance (Lexington Books, 2020). It was the second volume in a series by Lexington’s series “Faith and Politics: Political Theology in a New Key” which Hale and Hall now co-edit. Her chapter in the political resistance book is a constructive read of Bonhoeffer titled, “The Interfaith Imperative: How Bonhoeffer Compels Interfaith Action.” Brandt Hale is also the co-author, with Stephen Haynes, of Bonhoeffer for Armchair Theologians (Westminster John Knox, 2009).  She has written numerous book chapters and articles as well as offered webinars and podcasts on Bonhoeffer’s political resistance, understanding of vocation, and relevance in contemporary times, including work addressing the now perennial question, “Is this a Bonhoeffer moment?”

Stephen Haynes, Professor of Religious Studies at Rhodes College. Haynes holds a Ph.D. in Religion and Literature from Emory University, the M. Div. from Columbia Theological Seminary, an M. A. from Florida State University, and a B. A. from Vanderbilt University. Haynes has been at Rhodes since 1989 and offers courses on the Holocaust, the Bible and its reception, mass incarceration, and religion and addiction. In addition to these subjects, he has research interests in Jewish-Christian relations, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the biblical justifications for slavery and segregation. Since 2016 he has directed the Rhodes Liberal Arts in Prison Program at West Tennessee State Penitentiary. He has published and spoken widely on topics in theology and on Bonhoeffer, including The Bonhoeffer Phenomenon: Portraits of a Protestant Saint (Fortress Press, 2004); The Bonhoeffer Legacy: Post-Holocaust Perspectives (Fortress Press, 2006); Bonhoeffer for Armchair Theologians (co-authored with Lori Brandt Hale); and The Battle for Bonhoeffer: Debating Discipleship in the Age of Trump (Eerdmans, 2018).

Arnd Henze, German television journalist at WDR, writer, and Protestant theologian. He has worked as a foreign policy editor and reporter for German public television, has traveled to numerous conflict zones, and produced several award-winning documentaries. Henze is also an appointed member of the 13th general synod of the Protestant Church in Germany and gives lectures and participates in social-ethical debates on topics such as war and peace, climate protection, democracy, and anti-Semitism. Henze has written and spoken widely about Bonhoeffer and the role of the church in democracy. From 1993 to 2012, he directed the “Dellbrücker Forum,” which, with a total of 111 panel events, developed into a nationally recognized venue for social debates. At the Protestant Church Congress in Stuttgart in June 2015, he moderated the event “Die Welt ist aus den Fugen”  (“The World is out of Joint”) with Kofi Annan and Frank-Walter Steinmeier in front of more than 11,000 participants. His 2019 book on the church and democracy, Kann Kirche Demokratie? Wir Protestanten im Stresstest, deals with the anti-democratic legacy of Protestantism and its current susceptibilities to authoritarian temptations. More recently he has been giving talks and writing about the use of Bonhoeffer by the left and the religious right. This spring he gave talks in New York, Washington, and Yale on “Weaponizing Bonhoeffer.” Last fall, he gave lectures around Germany, including at the Dachau Symposium, on the topic, “Who owns Bonhoeffer?” 

These events are co-sponsored by Augsburg University, the Augsburg Department of Religion and Philosophy, Augsburg University’s Christensen Center for Vocation, Gustavus Adolphus College’s Bernhardson Distinguished Chair of Lutheran Studies, St. Olaf College’s Center for Faith, Values, and Community, and the International Bonhoeffer Society – English Language Section.

Organized by Marcia J. Bunge (Professor of Religion and the Drell and Adeline Bernhardson Distinguished Chair, Gustavus Aldolphus College) and Lori Brandt Hale.

Questions: Marcia J. Bunge ([email protected]) or Lori Brandt Hale ([email protected])




The English Language Section is dedicated to advancing the theology and legacy of German pastor-theologian and Nazi resister, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in the academy, church, and world, and has been on the forefront of this work for the last fifty years.

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