Monday, May 23, 2011

D. Bonhoeffer

I don't read a lot of books - I try, but it's a rare one that can keep my attention to the end.  So, I have huge bookcases filled with books that I have never read cover to cover.
This one was different.  "Bonhoeffer".  A slow reader I am, but I just kept going.  Nearly every page was significant - a quote, a thought, an idea, significant insights - one after the other.  Truth.  It was a history lesson and a spy novel all in one.  And as it turns out - it is a theological work that's so simple, it's deep - the icing on the cake.  
In my mind, I've been building the list of people I want to meet first, face-to-face, when I get to heaven.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer is on the first page of my long list.  I don't want to just get around to meeting him in a couple of years up there, I'm hoping to seek him out within the first hour - if he'll see me.  Who's on your list?
First, I need to amount to something more than I am now here on earth.  Dietrich was only 39 when the Nazi's killed him - just a kid really.  But by that age he had done so much I can't fathom it.  He wrote books, like 'Nachfolge' (Discipleship), in 1937, when he was 31.  He coined the phrase (from what i can tell) "cheap grace". 
He lived, and died, with PURPOSE.
I'm not an intellectual (dah, stop laughing you guys ...) - but I feel smarter having read this biography.
Bonhoeffer went to the US twice (from Germany).  On one trip he went to Chicago then drove a car to Mexico - way down deep into Mexico.  This was in the 30's.  What a stud.  Once he wrote home saying "In New York they preach everything, only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgivenss, death and life."    Sound familiar now - in 2011?
Here's another quote I like:  "Christianity conceals within itself a germ hostile to the church."  and "If you board the wrong train it is no use running along the corridor in the opposite direction."   good stuff.
When you read through it, you feel as though we are now living through the same situation as they lived in the 30's and 40's in Germany under Hitler - only different.  Now, it's far more cynical, more masked, more devious, more modern and high tech.  Yet, still the same. 

You gotta read this book everyone!


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