Trevin Wax has posted this review on The Gospel Coalition on the subject of a new biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer called Strange Glory by Deckle Edge (Knopf, 2014). In this biography, Edge suggests that Bonhoeffer may have been gay (even though he died a virgin), and experienced sexual attraction toward his close friend Eberhard Bethge. The gist of Wax’s post: such a fixation on Bonhoeffer’s sexuality probably says more about the biographer and his audience than about Bonhoeffer himself. This focus on sexuality—which is endemic within our 21st-century Western culture—rests on a number of faulty assumptions:
- Life lived to the fullest must include sexual fulfillment.
- Affectionate male friendships must be romantic in nature.
- Sexual attraction must define one’s identity.
The fact of the matter is, Bonhoeffer’s sexual orientation is pretty much irrelevant, and has no bearing whatsoever on his influence on the Christian world today. So let’s keep the main thing the main thing, and not fall for our culture’s postmodern fetishes.