This is my first Bonhoeffer title and I could not have picked a better way to kick off getting t**spoiler alert** Absolutely life-changing. Brilliant.
This is my first Bonhoeffer title and I could not have picked a better way to kick off getting to know this man (if it is really him I am getting to know at all). I knew within three pages that I would love this book. But it surprised me when soon after Bonhoeffer was expounding on common mistakes in Christian community, and I realized that I was guilty of all of them-- regularly at that.
Bonhoeffer makes the point that we have no right to make any claim on the Christian fellowship, only God does. By attempting to envision the way we would like or think it should be we are really trying to control our brothers and sisters in a deadly vice-grip. Christian community must start at home in the Christian family, and must reach out into the public church.
Moreover, confession is far-too-often overlooked as archaic or too demanding, or perhaps as socially awkward. But Bonhoeffer proves from the scriptures, not only that Jesus called us to confess our sins to one another daily, but that this is really one of God's greatest tools for uniting the Church body. Christian brothers have the awesome privilege of standing before each other as fellow sinners, fully aware of the mutual darkness and evil in their hearts, and forgiving each other of it in the Name of Jesus. The brothers are united; the sin that held the fellowship hostage has been slaughtered in the open air.
Finally, when Christian community functions as God intends it to, it meets its perfect summary in the sacraments. When the Body of Christ partakes of His body and blood in the act of communion they have reached their 'peak,' their ultimate goal. The brotherhood is full to the brim and shines with the glory of Christ, not because it is perfect, but because He is, and He is in and among them....more
Watchman Nee had a profound understanding of the normal Christian life, which is wholly different from the 'average' Christian life. The normal ChristWatchman Nee had a profound understanding of the normal Christian life, which is wholly different from the 'average' Christian life. The normal Christian life consists of realizing and acknowledging the divine fact that Christians were (not will be) crucified with Christ in the first century A.D. In a way that we do not yet understand, God has included us in the death (and resurrection) of His only Son, and by doing has made many sons. The Christian life goes off-track when it forgets these facts or, more often, when the Christian attempts to live by his own will-power. Nee gives the example of the great saint Paul (surely none but the haughty would claim superiority to that titan of the faith) who said, "That which I do not want to do, I do." Paul found that on his own strength he could not properly control himself.
But Paul saw that "we have been crucified with Christ" and if so we shall also rise (or as Nee would put it, are risen) with Him. The Christian life must be a continual outworking of the Spirit of Christ in us, living out the life of Christ in our lives. We must not try to die to our sin but realize that we are in fact already dead to it. We must not try to obey God on our own power (for we will always fail) but to let Him work out our salvation and redemption in us. There is no other way. "For it is no longer I who live, but Christ liveth in me."...more
Whispers of conspiracy obsessively echo through our era. We are entangled in the kingdom of lies behind lies. Politicians rant of the New World Order,Whispers of conspiracy obsessively echo through our era. We are entangled in the kingdom of lies behind lies. Politicians rant of the New World Order, authors write Da Vinci Codes and Golden Compasses, mass-market video gaming produces the likes of Assassin's Creed. Conspiracies inhabit our mind.
But among all the conspiracies, if that is even the real word for this remarkable book, this one stands as a stained glass mural among shattered pots and pans.
When platonic archetypes begin to invade London and the heavenly world intrudes on our own, the small number of people who know (if they could be said to really know) what is happening react in varying ways. Some attempt to control these rabid Ideas while others run and hide. One ignores their existence and another vows to stop their impending rule.
There is, I believe, a true conspiracy in our midst. I think that Charles Williams knew of it and tried to tell about it. But the conspiracy is not one hidden in Templar tunnels, Masonic temples or Vatican basements. Instead the conspiracy contrived against the world is found in the heart and mind of every man or woman walking the earth. These Ideas, these spiritual archangels, that Williams describes were meant to be ruled by Man and Man has failed to take charge. By now he is even thoroughly unable to do so.
The plot against Man is outlined: God made Man in His image, the Imago Dei, to rule the planet he was placed on. But Man fell, and he took everything under him down with him. When Adam died, all died, and "the creation groaneth." The Ideas of the universe had been meant to be ruled by mankind and now they rebel against him. Man's poor position is one of his own making and maintaining, while at the same time he is in constant danger of strange assassination from the Powers meant to be his loyal subjects. This conspiracy is one in which the conspirators and victims are identical.
Suffice to say that in the end Man attains his proper place, if only for a moment. But Williams looks ahead to the moment when once, for all time, Man will attain his place among the created beings, the animal above the animals, the lamb in the place of the lion.
The prose is complex and vibrant. It jumped off the page and pulled my eyeballs down to focus. The tempters a**spoiler alert** This play is brilliant.
The prose is complex and vibrant. It jumped off the page and pulled my eyeballs down to focus. The tempters are a genius part of the plot (what am I saying, the plot itself is genius), and the fourth was my absolute favorite. I have two or three favorite lines. The first I come across is when the third tempter arrives and says, "I am an unexpected guest." The archbishop's reply? "I expected you." The line buried a pit in my stomach and stopped me flat in my tracks. I digested and moved on to see Thomas declare, "The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason."
The main character, though based in fact, is masterfully constructed. There is never a moment when I doubt both that Thomas will die and die willingly. The only worry I had, to tell the truth, was whether he would die for the right reasons. Having come to the end and seen Thomas's bravado before the murderous knights in his own cathedral, I rest assured that he stands among the innumerable saints of God.