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Discussion Forum : General Topics : Bonhoeffer

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 more from Life Together

Within spiritual community there is never, nor in any way, any “immediate” relationship of one to another, whereas human community expresses a profound, elemental, human desire for community, for immediate contact with other human souls. . . . Human love is directed to the other person for his own sake, spiritual love loves him for Christ’s sake.

It is also God’s will that every day should be marked for the Christian by both prayer and work. Prayer is entitled to its time. But the bulk of the day belongs to work. And only where each receives its own specific due will it become clear that both belong inseparably together . . . [When] the prayer of the Christian reaches beyond its set time and extends into the heart of his work, it includes the whole day, and in doing so, it does not hinder the work, it promotes it, affirms it, and lends it meaning and joy.

 2006/1/15 22:09

 from Life Together

“Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. No Christian community is more or less than this. Whether it be a brief, single encounter or the daily fellowship of years, Christian community is only this. We belong to one another only through and in Jesus Christ.” (Page 21)

That we belong to each other in and through Jesus Christ lifts all that we do to a very high plane. When we sing we do not do so as individuals or even independent local groups rather, “It is the voice of the Church that is heard singing together. It is not you that sings, it is the Church that is singing, and you, as a member of the Church, may share its song.” (Page 61)

 2006/1/15 22:04


Since there is much misunderstanding about this man of God, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I thought I would post up a few bits on his walk and life with the Lord:

In 1930 he went to the United States as a guest of Union Theological Seminary, NYC. There he was dismayed at seeing how frivolous American seminarians were concerning the study of theology. His dismay peaked the day a most moving passage from Luther's writing on the subject of sin and forgiveness was greeted with derisive laughter. Bonhoeffer retorted, "You students at this liberal seminary sneer at the fundamentalists in America, when all the while the fundamentalists know far more of the truth and grace, mercy and judgement of God than do you." Quickly he recognized the plight of black people in the US, worked among impoverished blacks in the city, and worshipped regularly at a Baptist church in Harlem. In 1931 he returned to Berlin and resumed his university teaching.

While he was certainly a gifted scholar and professor, Bonhoeffer was always a pastor at heart. Not surprisingly, then, at the same time that he lectured he also instructed a confirmation class of 50 rowdy boys in one of the worst slums of Berlin. His first day with the boys was remarkable. As he walked up the stairs to the second floor room the boys at the top of the stair-well pelted him with garbage and began chanting repeatedly the first syllable of his name, "Bon, Bon, Bon..." He let them continue until they wearied of it. Then he quietly began telling the boys of what he had known in Harlem; how there existed another group of people whose material prospects were as bleak as theirs; how it was that Jesus Christ neither disdained nor abandoned anyone; that no human being, however bleak his circumstances, is ever God-forsaken. Bonhoeffer moved into the boys' neighbourhood and lived among them until the instruction was over. Many of the youngsters remained his friends for life.

 2006/1/15 21:46

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