Upon completion of a summer semester of school, God has blessed me with a son! Andrew Stephen Bartol was born last Sunday @ 11:42am and is an absolute joy to our lives! Lisa’s in the healing process and the in-laws are in town! Life here is good 🙂
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Life Together” is a revolutionary work that has impacted me tremendously. Do you ever get a quote that just strikes your heart? A single sentence that makes you want to dwell on it for a long period of time? This book offers all of that in abundance. And not only a single sentence here or there, but entire paragraphs that just expound on the Scriptures and pierce the heart. It truly is “grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren.”
It’s about understanding the glue that ties the community of the church together. The gospel is the center, the core focus, of how communal life with the church is even possible. There are great warnings about straying from this, but also great encouragements as to how this can last with His power. It is a great tool for avoiding division.
His Lutheran bent is very blatant, which is probably my only drawback. A number of “should’s” and “oughts” on secondary matters that do not need to be there. But if taken as suggestions I think it would help many (but not all). His passivism also shines through a little bit, but knowing where he ended up theologically at the time of his attempting to kill Hitler should give an indicator that he would probably edit that out in a future copy, had he not been executed by the Nazi regime. Maybe.
Life together under the Word of God, as our great authority, and prayer is what guides us as a community to the very heart of God.
His take on morning devotions was also very convicting. There are numerous examples, throughout the Scriptures, of giving our morning thoughts and prayers to God by godly men. And while it is not a prescription for doing this as law, it does describe the great benefits of being with God before the days begins. “At the beginning of the day let all distraction and empty talk be silenced and let the first thought and the first word belong to him whom our whole life belongs. ‘Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.’ (Eph. 5:14)”
Overall, if anyone were looking for a book that encapsulates what Christian community should look like, this is one of the first books I would offer. It is probably one of those books that gets better with each time it is read.