“Marx’s criticism of existing conditions and the fetish of money…and in the end people over-valuing money is something I learned from Marx. Theology, as well as Marx, is saying ‘faith and money have been exchanged. Money is only a means to an end and not the end itself.’ Why are we devoted to money and not the person who has given us the things that money can buy? The thing that I learned as a child is a primal sense of trust. That the world behind the world around us is a good world because this is the world that God has given us. God is, for me, benevolent… God is the one, without whom, I do not want to live.”
I never had a desire to visit Berlin. It was too wrapped up in my understanding of the Holocaust. I grew up in a family that did not buy German goods. I even remember when I had to give back a Honer harmonica I once got as a birthday present. These cultural norms run deep and can imprint deeply, especially in children. So while I went to Frankfurt fairly often for business, Berlin carried a much heavier weight. But these are also cultural biases and norms that need to be confronted with healing in order to move forward. I finally went to visit the city of the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, the Berlin Wall and conducting Portraits In Faith interviews was a perfect way for me to experience this great city. The experience was uplifting and generative. Gottfried Brezger is the pastor of a German Lutheran church. While his father was a pastor as well, he walked away from religion as a young adult in reaction to his disappointment in the Church not resisting enough during WWII Nazi / Holocaust era. He even jokes that he and his wife were both reading Karl Marx on their honeymoon! It was eventually through his deep concern for the well-being of others and his understanding that some of the most resistant leaders were religious, that Gottfried returned to the church and became a pastor. Enjoy hearing from a man who has grieved and re-conceived his relationship with God.