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Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s  The Cost of Discipleship puts it this way…

Our hearts have room only for one all-embracing devotion, and we can only cleave to one Lord (176).

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While Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a theology professor at Berlin University, he also had the opportunity to teach a confirmation class of fifty boys in Wedding, a tough neighborhood in North Berlin. Up for the challenge, Bonhoeffer took the extra steps to get to know the boys and their families…

It also fell to the patrician young pastor to visit the homes and parents of every one of the fifty students. Wedding was a squalid, poverty-stricken district, and many of the parents allowed him into their homes only because they felt they must…Bonhoeffer did not shrink from the task. Indeed, to be closer of all of these families and spend more time with the boys, he moved into a furnished room in the neighborhood at 61 Oderbergstrasse.

(Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, 132)

You have granted me many blessings; let me also accept what is hard from your hand. 

Prayers from Prison

The Empire State’s Moral Revolution: New York State Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Last Friday was a sad day for marriage and, if the advocates of same-sex marriage are right, it was also a sign of things to come.

Monday, June 27, 2011 by Albert Mohler

The legal, social, moral, and political maps of America were redefined last Friday night as the New York State Senate voted 33-29 to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. The State Assembly had already approved the measure, leaving the Republican-controlled Senate the last battleground on the marriage issue. Shortly after the Senate approved the measure, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. It will take effect in July, thirty days after the Governor’s signature was affixed.

It will be difficult to exaggerate the impact of New York’s move to legalize same-sex marriage. The statistics tell part of the story. New York State becomes the sixth state to recognize same-sex marriage, but its population is greater than that of the other five combined. When same-sex marriage is legal in New York next month, fully one in every nine Americans will live in a state or jurisdiction where same-sex marriage is legal. By any measure, this is a massive development in the nation’s legal and moral life…

For the rest of the blog post…

There seems to be an endless number of great quotes in Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s  The Cost of Discipleship. Here is another gem…

If our hearts are entirely given to God, it is clear that we cannot serve two masters; it is simple impossible–at any rate all the time we are following Christ (176).

Posted by Michael Brown on Saturday, February 26th, 2011 Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas is a phenomenal book.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Pastor, felt it was not right for him to live in the safety of the United States after WWII, and returned home to help rebuild. He ended up assisting in a plot to assassinate Hitler; because of that, on April 9th, 1945 he was hung.

Eric Metaxas’s biography gives us a never-before-seen view of Bonhoeffer, his family and friends (we learn that his twin sister marries a half-Jewish husband and has two children by him), the challenges they face in Kaiser Germany, and the rise and fall of the Nazi regime.

This biographical journey through his life begins in London on July 27, 1945 – at his funeral. It sounds weird to start there, but honestly seems like the perfect beginning for the book. You then head back to his younger years – learning about his love of music and the great outdoors.

For the rest of the review…

Dietrich Bonhoeffer  in his classic book, The Cost of Discipleship that true disciples of Jesus will look to Jesus and Jesus alone…

The life of discipleship can only be maintained so long as nothing is allowed to become Christ and ourselves–neither the law, nor personal piety, nor even the world. This disciple always looks only to his master, never to Christ and the law, Christ and religion, Christ and the world. He avoids such notions like the plague. Only by following Christ alone can he preserve a single eye. His eye rests wholly on the light that comes from Christ, and has no darkness or ambiguity in it.

As the eye must be single, clear and pure in order to keep light in the body, as hand and foot can receive light from no other source can save the eye, as the foot stumbles and the hand misses its mark when the eye is dim, as the whole body is in darkness when the eye is blind: so the follower of Christ is in the light only so long as he looks simply to Christ and at nothing else in the world (173-174)

As a theology professor at Berlin University Dietrich Bonhoeffer wanted to teach by both notes and example…

One student said she learned about the concept of guilt and grace from  the way Bonhoeffer treated them. On one retreat in 1933, Bonhoeffer and a group of students were hiking in some woods when they came upon a hungry family obviously looking for food. Bonhoeffer approached them warmly and asked whether the children were getting hot food. When the man replied “Not so much,” Bonhoeffer asked if he could take two of them along. “We’re going home now to eat,” he said, “and they can get something to eat with us, and then we’ll bring them right back.”

(Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, 130)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a university lecturer in theology at Berlin University. One of his goals was to make sure that classroom instruction translated into life transformation…

Taking students on weekend trips into the country for retreats was another element of his practical instruction method. Sometimes they went to Prebelow, staying in the youth hostel there, and a number of times visited the cabin he bought in nearby Biesenthal. On one hiking trip, Bonhoeffer had them meditate on a Bible verse after breakfast. They had to find a place on the grass and sit quietly for an hour and meditate on that verse. Many of them found it difficult, as Bonhoeffer’s Finkenwalde ordinands would find it difficult. Inge Karding was among them: “He taught us that the Bible goes directly into your life (to) where your problems are.”

Bonhoeffer was working out the ideas that would find their way into their way into illegal seminaries of the Confessing Church in a few years. For, such things as meditating on Bible verses and singing formed integral parts in theological education.  

(Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, 129)

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer
June 2011
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