You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2014.

You cannot hear Christ because you are willfully disobedient. Somewhere in your heart you are refusing to listen to his call. Your difficulty is your sins.

Dietrich BonhoefferThe Cost of Discipleship1961 ed., 76.

Chapter 4 of Jon Walker’s book, Breakfast With Bonhoefferis called “Dishwater Disagreements”. 

Bonhoeffer says only Jesus can break through our petty tyrannies, our demands to live life on our terms, and our delusions about what is important in life. To enter the Kingdom, we must come not only to the end of ourselves but we must alter our lives in obedience to the Word of God, Jesus. Only then do we enter God’s grace…  (55).

Bonhoeffer taught me that the free gift of grace also carried costly responsibilities. Think of it like this: Grace is an orchestra you are invited to join. Your membership is free. It is a gift from the maestro who sees a talent in you no one else sees. But joining the orchestra will cost you everything because you have to leave other things behind as you focus on following the maestro and becoming the musician God made you to be (56).

In order to follow Jesus, it will cost us everything!


Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.

Dietrich BonhoefferThe Cost of Discipleship1961 ed., 64.



Dietrich Bonhoeffer held that “silence in the face of evil is itself evil. … Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

The German theologian, martyred trying to stop Hitler, scorned “cheap grace” — faith that requires no sacrifice.

The ideals Bonhoeffer acted on profoundly impressed his biographer, a Yale-educated Manhattanite who attends an Episcopal church.

After researching Bonhoeffer’s life and times, “I found myself forced to speak out for religious freedom,” Eric Metaxas said in a telephone interview last week as he prepared for a March 12 Lancaster Literary Guild lecture.

Metaxas identifies two “hot-button issues” that he believes threaten one of this country’s most important founding principles.

For the rest of the post…

Marion Countess Yorck Von Wartenburg, who died April 13 in Berlin at 102, was among the last survivors of the Kreisau Circle, the group of intellectuals opposed to Adolf Hitler from which sprang the attempt to kill him with a bomb in July 1944.

“Not hero worship, but intimacy with Christ.” 

Dietrich BonhoefferThe Cost of Discipleship

When our will wholeheartedly enters into the prayer of Christ, then we pray correctly.

February 5, 2014 By 

Maria von Wedemeyer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

By Wendy Murray

Yesterday, February 4, what would have been Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s 108 birthday. A Lutheran pastor and theologian, Bonhoeffer was executed by hanging, age 39, in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945. He and small-but-fierce contingent of devoted Protestants actively resisted the Nazi encroachment in both church and state. They founded the Confessing Church movement to mount active resistance to government-sponsored efforts to nazify German Protestantism. His writings have influenced subsequent generations who struggle with the role of Christian devotion in a hostile culture. The Cost of Discipleship, a modern classic, is widely known for Bonhoeffer’s haunting statement: “When Christ calls a man he bids him to come and die.”

He was engaged in January 1943, at age 36, to Maria von Wedemeyer only to be arrested by the Gestapo three months later in consequence of his involvement in plans to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Bonhoeffer was executed (April 1945) while imprisoned at Flossenbürg concentration camp only weeks before Hitler killed himself and the German surrender.

During the two short of years of his engagement to von Wedemeyer (and what ended up to be the last two years of his life, 1943 – 1945), the two exchanged letters that were amorous and wrenching. Published for the first time in 1995 as Love Letters From Cell 92, edited by Ruth-Alice von Bismarck and Ulrich Kabitz (Abingdon), this intimate correspondence reveals a side of Bonhoeffer that is generally not known. I reviewed the book for Christianity Today magazine when it was released. I include a portion below :

“Wait with me, I beg you! Let me embrace you long and tenderly, let me kiss you and love you and stroke the sorrow from your brow.” This is not an excerpt from a Harlequin romance but the impassioned longings of the champion of radical discipleship.

These sentiments—and more like them—present a new aspect of Bonhoeffer, showing him to be surprisingly amorous, but in a way altogether consistent with his theology of costly grace. His love for Maria was “costly” because Bonhoeffer was forced to relinquish it; it was “grace,” because after 37 years of heady bachelorhood, he tasted of the wellspring of romantic possibility. Bonhoeffer's Love Letters

Maria von Wedemeyer has been duly acknowledged as the true love of the gifted German theologian. But before the publication of this volume, Bonhoeffer’s devotees had not been given such a glimpse of the force of this relationship and the passion this man felt, and then sublimated during his hard years in prison.

He loved her, longed for her, and she for him. The tenderness and optimism behind this collection of letters causes the reader to languish with them as week after week, into months, into years, the couple anticipates the time when they will sit together on the couch at Patzig (Maria’s family estate) and hold hands. The reader also knows the tragic ending to this tale, while the writers themselves do not. A constant theme echoes throughout: “Don’t get tired and depressed, my dearest Dietrich, it won’t be much longer now.”

Maria entrusted this collection of letters to her sister, Ruth-Alice von Bismarck, just prior to her death in 1977. For years before that, Maria would not allow the letters to be published. Eberhard Bethge, Bonhoeffer’s close friend and biographer, writes in the postscript: “I had resigned myself to never seeing this correspondence.”

It took the subsequent 15 years for von Bismarck to complete the task of sequentially collating the correspondence with the aid of Ulrich Kabitz, who added the necessary footnotes and historical data. Consolidating such fragmented, at times incomplete, material into a coherent narrative was no simple task. But, overall, it works: the reader is pulled into the drama and tedium that these two lovers experienced during their years of waiting and hoping.

For the rest of the article…

The earthly body of Jesus underwent crucifixion and death. In that death the new humanity undergoes crucifixion and death.

~ Dietrich BonhoefferThe Cost of Discipleship


Today in the United States is the federal holiday known as Washington’s Birthday (not “Presidents Day—see item #1). In honor of George Washington’s birthday, here are 9 things you should know about America’s foremost founding father.

1. Although some state and local governments and private businesses often refer to today as President’s Day, the legal public holiday is designated as “Washington’s Birthday” in section 6103(a) of title 5 of the United States Code. The observance of Washington’s birthday was made official in 1885 when President Chester A. Arthur signed a bill establishing it as a federal holiday.*

2. Washington was actually born on February 11, 1732, under the Julian calendar in effect at the time he was born. But his birthday is considered to be February 22 under the Gregorian calendar which was adopted throughout the British Empire in 1752.

3. Although Washington wore false teeth, they were not made out of wood. One set of teeth created by his dentist, included a cow’s tooth, one of Washington’s teeth, hippopotamus ivory, metal, and springs.

4. Washington also never wore a wig, chopped down a cherry tree, or threw a silver dollar across the Potomac River, which is over a mile wide. (He probably threw the dollar across the Rappahannock River, which is much narrower.)

5. Although his religious beliefs are still a topic of heated debate, evidence of Washington’s religious life would warrant calling him a “deistic Christian.”** Although he was raised in the Anglican Church and frequently attended services, Washington was never confirmed and consistently refused to take Holy Communion. He often used deistic language in reference to God and never used the terms “Jesus” or “Christ” in his correspondence or public communications. (The most famous reference came in a 1779 letter to a delegation of Indians, but the letter was in the handwriting of an aide and most historians argue that the letter was written by the aide rather than Washington.)

6. Washington operated the largest liquor distillery in the country during the 18th century. In 1799, Washington’s distillery produced almost 11,000 gallons of whiskey, valued at $7,500 (approximately $120,000 today). The average Virginia distillery produced about 650 gallons of whiskey per year which was valued at about $460.

7. During the French and Indian War, Washington had two horses shot out from beneath him and found four bullet holes in his coat. However, despite many close calls he was never injured in any of the military actions he served in.

8. Washington was the only founding father to free his slaves. In his will he freed all 124 of his slaves and left enough money in his estate to care for all of them for decades after his death.

For the rest of the post…

February 2014


Twitter Updates

Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.