Natalie Wickham's Reviews > Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas
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Dec 29, 11

bookshelves: biography-autobiography, history
Read in September, 2011

A friend of mine was reading this book and kept expressing how much he loved it, so as soon as he finished I was eager to read it for myself. I was not disappointed! This is a masterfully written biography of arguably one of the most important Christian thinkers/writers/activists during World War II. The author’s tendency to reference future events sometimes seemed like a bit of a spoiler, but I can appreciate what a monumental task it is to weave so much information about the subject, his family, and his time in history into a cohesive and captivating story. I loved reading more about Bonhoeffer’s early family life, and, as a musician myself, it was neat to read of his appreciation for the arts and music. Bonhoeffer’s views and words have often been taken out of context over the years, as Mr. Metaxas makes clear. Even though it seems like sometimes the picture he paints of Bonhoeffer is a larger-than-life image, I thoroughly enjoyed reading much of Bonhoeffer’s original writings and seeing the depth of thought and biblical analysis that he put into understanding what was going on in the world and determining how to respond to it. It’s a bit lengthy, but this is one of my favorite of Bonhoeffer’s quotes from the book:
“‘Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves’ is a saying of Jesus (Matt. 10:16). As with all of his sayings, it is he himself who interprets it. No one can look at God and at the reality of the world with undivided gaze as long as God and the world are torn apart. Despite all efforts to prevent it the eyes still wander from one to the other. Only because there is one place where God and the reality of the world are reconciled with each other, at which God and humanity have become one, is it possible there and there alone to fix one’s eyes on God and the world together at the same time. This place does not lie somewhere beyond reality in the realm of ideas. It lies in the midst of history as a divine miracle. It lies in Jesus Christ the reconciler of the world.”
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