Tamhack's Reviews > Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas
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Jun 16, 2012

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Read in June, 2012

This book reminds me that no matter what are situation, we cannot just stand back and do nothing against what is wrong in the world or against evil people. We have to a stand and do what we can even if it seems that it is fruitless. We have to courage, we have to make a stand, and do our part.

This books shows me that not all people blindly followed Hitler. There were people who tried to stop him.

Bonhoeffer was a pastor in Germany who witness Hitler's rise to power and saw that he was evil. He did what he could to stop him.
He crew up in a home that fostered--free thinking. Whose parents were an example of love and respect for each other.
Pg. 14 "There was a strong atmosphere in his home against fuzzy thinking, which included a prejudice against certain kinds of religious expressions. But there was no conflict between the father's realm and the mother's. By all accounts, the two complemented each other beautifully. That these two people loved and respected each other was evident to all."

Pg 20 " The Luther Bible was to the modern German language what the works of Shakespeare and the King James Bible were to the modern English language. Before Luther's Bible, there was not unified German language. It existed only in a hodgepodge of dialects. And Germany as a nation was an idea far in the future, a gleam in Luther's eye. But when Luther translated the Bible into German, he created a single language in a single book that everyone could read and did read. Indeed, there was nothing else to read. Soon everyone spoke German the way Luther's translation did. As television has had a homogenizing effect on the accents and dialects of Americans, watering down accents and sanding down sharp twangs. Luther's Bible created a single German tongue. Luther's Bible created a single German tongue. Suddenly millers from Munchen could communicate with bakers from Bremen. Out of the grew a sense of a common heritage and culture.
But Luther brought Germans to a fuller engagement with their faith through singing too. He wrote many hymns-- the most well-known being "A Mighty Fortress is our God"-- and introduced the idea of congregational singing. Before Luther, not one outside the choir sand in church."

The Dolchtoos (stab-in-back) legend that happened after WWI was one of the ideas that help HIlter rise to power. --Pro-Communist, Pro-bolshevist had prevented German's victory. Hilter used this to "fan the flames... and increasingly harped on the idea that Bolshevism was really international Jewry, that the Jews and the Communists had destroyed Germany."

One of Bonhoeffer themes, " ...idea of God as initiator, as the one who must reveal himself to us, since we do nothing to reach him.:
"He said that one cannot give him only a "small compartment in our spiritual life," but must give him everything or nothing. "The religion of Christ," He said, "is not a tidbit after one's bread, on the contrary, it is the bread or it is nothing. People should at least understand and concede this if they call themselves Christian.: pg 82

Pg--141. The people were looking for a Fuhrer. "The difference between real leadership and the the false leadership of the Leader was this: real leadership derived its authority from God, the source of all goodness.:
"The good leader serves others and leads others to maturity. He puts them above himself, as a good parent does a child, wishing to lead that child to someday be a good parent. Another word for this is discipleship"

The Fuehrer was against the clergy--
Hitler only worshipped his own power...

Pg 279--fighting National Socialism, The Nuremberg Laws and the Steglitz Synod
"Around that time, Bonhoeffer made his famous declaration: "Only he cries out for the Jews may sing Gregorian chants." As far as he was concerned, to dare to sing to God when his chosen people were being beaten and murdered meant that one must also speak out against their suffering. If one was unwilling to do this, God was not interested inn's worship."

Pg 283-"A refusal to compromise over the right principle, free speech for the free individual, that fact that one's word once given is binding, clarity and common sense in one's opinions, candor and simplicity of life in private and in public--"

Pg 314-- Kristallnacht 9-11-38

Pg 392- The Kreisau Circle

Pg 441--the conspiracy to kill Hilter and Bonhoeffer's involvement

Pg448-- even in prison, he was able to influence people for good. He still had faith in God. He always put other before himself and remind true and humble.

pg 457--" Bonhoeffer was trying to reclaim everything for God, just as he had been doing for twenty years. He was saying that it's not just some "religious" part of this marriage that is important, but the whole thing. The freedom to choose a mate is a gift from God, who created us in his image. And the " desire for earthily bliss: is not something we steal from behind God's back, but is something he has desired that we should desire. We mustn't separate that part of life and marriage from God, either by trying to hide it from him as belonging to us alone or by trying to destroy it altogether through a false piety that denies it existence.:

Pg 467--"God was bigger than everyone imagined, and he wanted more of his followers and more of the world than was given him. Bonhoeffer recognized that the standard-issue "religion" had mad God small, having dominion only over those things we could not explain. Than "religious" God was merely the "God of the gaps", the God who concerned himself with our "secret finds" and hidden thoughts. But Bonhoeffer rejected this abbreviated God. The god of the Bible was Lord over everything, over every scientific discovery. He was Lord over not just what we did not know, but over what we knew and were discovering through science. Bonhoeffer was wondering if it wasn't time to bring God into the whole world and stop pretending he wanted only to live in those religious conners that we reserved for him..,"

"Bonhoeffer's theology had always leaned toward the incarnational view that did not eschew "the world", but that saw it as God's good creation to be enjoyed and celebrated, not merely transcended. According to this view, God had redeemed banking through Jesus Christ, had re-created us as 'god'. So we weren't to dismiss our humanity as something "un-spiratual'. As Bonhoeffer had said before, god wanted our "yes" to him to be a "yes" to the world he had created." ....

Pg 470--" Such people neither steal, nor murder, nor commit adultery, but do good according to their abilities. But... they must close their eyes and ears to the injustice around them. Only at the cost of self-deception can they keep their private blamelessness clean from the stains of responsible action in the world. In all that they do, what they fail todo will not let them rest. They will either be destroyed by this unrest, or they will become the most hypocritical of all Pharisees."

Pg 576--His fiancee, Maria "Letters From Cell 92"

Question: " It's much easier for me to imagine a praying murderer, a praying prostitute, than a vain person praying. Nothing is so at odds with prayer as vanity"

Bonhoeffer found racism in America troubling. It caused him to decline a position at Harvard.

"When Bonhoeffer began to teach, he taught his students to investigate biblical, ethical, and theological questions with the same rigorousness that one would examine questions of science or law. Further, one should "arrive at answers that could stand up to every scrutiny because one would have to live out those conclusions."

Pg 603--Civil disobedience against a wicked government or an immoral law Heb 13:17 and Romans 13:17
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