Boy, I forgot what a marathon it is, teaching all day, every day for a week! I want to blog more, but not when I spend every evening reading and getting ready for the next day--I'm already tired and it's only Tuesday! But, don't get me wrong: I'm really, really loving the class. The conversation and the student engagement has been great, and, as always, I am learning so much from my colleague Mary--she has such a passion around issues of religion and media; and as a religious educator, she has such good pedagogical insights.
So, tonight, I am re-reading Bonhoeffer's Life Together in preparation for a discussion about Christian community [and Christian friendship] tomorrow--trying to think together about what those concepts might mean today. It's a powerful book, written in four weeks, reflecting on his time as director of the Finkenwalde seminary. In lieu of deep theological analysis--a task that feels entirely beyond me at the moment--I want to just offer up some powerful and fecund quotes from the book: you can do your own analysis!
Bonhoeffer was committed to the idea that
“Christian life can never be lived in the abstract.”
belong to one another only through and in Jesus Christ.”
“Those who love their dream of a Christian
community more than the Christian community itself becomes destroyers of that
Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so
honest, earnest, and sacrificial.”
“Only Christ in his Word tells me what
love is. Contrary to all my own opinions
and convictions, Jesus Christ will tell me what love for my brothers and
sisters really looks like. Therefore,
spiritual love is bound to the word of Jesus Christ alone….Emotional love
breeds hothouse flowers; spiritual love creates the fruits that grow healthily under God’s open sky….”
“The Christian community is not a spiritual sanatorium. Those who take refuge in community while
fleeing from themselves are misusing it to indulge in empty talk and
distraction, no matter how spiritual this idle talk and distraction may appear. In reality they are not seeking community at
all, but only a thrill that will allow them to forget their isolation for a
"Whoever cannot be alone should beware of community. But the reverse is also true. Whoever cannot stand being in community should beware of being alone."
"Genuine speech comes of out silence, and genuine silence comes out of speech."
“God did not make others as I would have made them. God did not give them to me so that I could
dominate and control them, but so that I might find the Creator by means of
them….I can n ever know in advance how God’s image should appear in
others. That image always takes on a
completely new and unique form whose origin is found solely in God’s free and
sovereign act of creation. To me that
form may seem strange, even ungodly. But
God creates every person in the image of God’s Son, the Crucified, and this
image, likewise, certainly looked strange and ungodly to me before I grasped it”
"The elimination of the weak is the death of the community."