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“Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes.”

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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“May we be enabled to say ‘No’ to sin and ‘Yes’ to the sinner.”

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“In the Christian community thankfulness is just what it is anywhere else in the Christian life. only he who gives thanks for the little things receives the big things. We prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts. He has  in store for us, because we do not give thanks for daily gifts.” 

Dietrich BonhoefferLife Together29.

“Because God has already laid the only foundation of our fellowship, because God has bound us together in one body with other Christians in Christ Jesus, long before we entered into common life with them, we enter into that common life not as demanders but as thankful recipients.” 

Dietrich BonhoefferLife Together28.

“Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously doing God’s will.”

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Plot to Kill Hitler; Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Spy, Unlikely Hero by Patricia McCormick; HarperCollins, 192 pages, $18.99. Ages 8 and up.

28594377Patricia McCormick, a two-time National Book Award finalist, tells the fascinating true story of the German pastor and theologian who was executed for his role in the plot to kill Hitler in this suspenseful, beautifully written and meticulously researched book. McCormick paints a vivid picture of “a big rambunctious family,” a happy household of eight children, in a home in Breslau, the family’s pet goat with free run of the house. Dietrich was the dreamer in a family of overachievers (his father was a psychiatrist, his oldest brother a genius at physics).

The death of his brother Walter in World War I was the driving force in Dietrich’s interest in theology and big questions about Christianity and the meaning of life. McCormick offers a clear explanation of Bonhoeffer’s theology and his belief that the church was not a building or a dead institution but a living force for good in the world, a belief that would later involve him – despite his pacifist beliefs – in the conspiracy to kill Hitler.

McCormick brilliantly combines the “big picture” historic and political backdrop with the anecdotal, as Bonhoeffer struggles in vain to convince his fellow Lutheran pastors of the threat posed by Adolf Hitler and then his role in establishing the breakaway Confessing Church. A particularly interesting chapter documents Bonhoeffer’s study at Union Theological Seminary in New York and his friendship with African-American classmate Frank Fisher, who took the young German to the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. (McCormick notes that Winston Churchill, alerted to the possibility of an effective plot against Hitler, dismissed Bonhoeffer with “I see no reason whatever to encourage this pestilent priest.”)

For the rest of the review…

“Just as surely God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves. By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world.” 

Dietrich BonhoefferLife Together26-27.

This holds true in America today, given our own holocaust of abortion, where 60 million innocent babies have been destroyed in gas chambers called abortion clinics.

Like Bonhoeffer, we can’t turn a deaf ear to the cries of the innocent among us. We must speak up!

Proverbs 31:8-9 says: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice” (NLT).

The only way those who cannot speak for themselves will get justice is if those of us who can speak actually speak.

A report last week by National Public Radio highlighted the importance of this. It was headlined, “Down Syndrome Families Divided over Abortion Ban.” The report discussed a bill in Ohio that would ban selective abortions for Down syndrome babies.

Of course, destroying innocent life in any situation is wrong, but what caught our attention was a comment by the mother of a Down syndrome child who said she never even considered ending her pregnancy when she found out.

She told NPR: “He’s still a baby. He’s still worthy of life just like everybody else.”

To that we said, “Yay and Amen!”

But this mother went on, speaking of the Ohio bill that would ban abortion for children like hers, saying: “I try not to bring this up, just because people are so passionate. And I value my friendships with people.”

So, on the one hand, she said Down syndrome children are “babies deserving life just like everybody else.

And on the other hand, she said she doesn’t want to talk about a law that would protect them “because she values friendships with people.”

OK, we value friendships with people, too. But it’s the height of apathy (perhaps selfishness) to value personal comfort over protective care. It doesn’t matter how much social pressure you might receive.

To refuse to speak is to speak. Bonhoeffer was hanged by a piano wire for speaking up. Today, we might get a nasty tweet or an angry Facebook post.

Big deal.

The prophet Amos spoke about times like this, saying, “Therefore at such a time the prudent person keeps silent, for it is an evil time” (Amos 5:13).

When the times are evil, it’s natural to want to keep silent. But it’s supernatural to speak up in the face of evil

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2017/12/lets-break-americas-shameful-silence-in-face-of-evil/#78XUImldCmZmW2jD.99

 

“Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a  Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life should be and try to realize it. But God’s grace  speedily shatters such dreams.” 

Dietrich BonhoefferLife Together26.

“In Christian brotherhood everything depends upon its being clear right from the beginning, first, that Christian brotherhood is not an ideal, but a divine reality. Second, that Christian brotherhood is a spiritual  and not a psychic reality.” 

Dietrich BonhoefferLife Together26.

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