Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed by the Nazis on April 9, 1945. Bonhoeffer was part of a failed plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. While in a prison cell in the final year of his life, he wrote the following:
The church is only the church when it exists for others. To make a start, it should give away all its property to those in need. The clergy must live solely on the free-will offerings of their congregations, or possibly engage in some secular calling. The church must share in the secular problems of ordinary human life, not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men (sic) of every calling what it means to live in Christ, to exist for others (Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, 1997, 1953:282)
What if we heeded this prophetic word? What if: churches sold their property, and pastors got jobs outside of the church? These are catalysts that would bring dramatic change, and maybe transformative change.
How would the church in the United States be different today? How different would denominations be? What would seminary training look like?