Some thoughts about Dietrich Bonhoeffer…..
Title: Bonhoeffer – pastor, martyr, prophet, spy – Eric Metaxas
This book was what I call a good read – clear in its communication and a challenge emotionally. I can usually read a book on vacation in one or two days, but this story was so intense and thought provoking I had to take it in smaller chunks. I would read some, and then go fishing, read some and then go fishing……..I was led to this book because I had recently read his book Life Together and was drawn to read more. Throughout my academic career I had heard Bonhoeffer quoted regularly and always wondered, Who was this guy?” Now I know……at least more than I did before. For those unacquainted, he was a German pastor imprisoned and executed by the Nazi’s in World War II.
At any rate, here are some observations as I read the book……….
1. Chose to sacrifice his life for his faith and country. He had escaped Nazi Germany’s reach but chose to return and do what he could to resist the evils of the Nazi’s and encourage the church.
2. Enjoyed investing in the lives of young leaders at a college age and in childhood, teaching them theology, philosophy, and the practical skills of living the Christian life.
3. Used retreats and brief seminar type events to teach and train young leaders. He also used these events to illustrate how to live the Christian life for others.
4. Had a passion for academics (PhD at 21) as well as a love for the local church.
5. Engaged those who disagreed with him with passion and respect, striving to understand their point of view even though he strongly disagreed with them.
6. Understood the value of personal accountability as it related to his areas of weakness.
7. Took advantage of the opportunity to travel a lot, often, far and wide. He saw different lifestyles, learned various practices about doing church that informed his own perspective, and spent time with those who were less fortunate than himself.
8. He always enjoyed lively debate.
9. He operated out of a deep love and appreciation for his family, for birthdays, for celebrations of various kinds, wrote constantly about and to those who mattered to him.
10. Despite unpleasant situations he always had a reputation for being kind and selfless, even to his captors.
11. He started every day with Scripture reading, prayer, and journaling. He also encouraged his students, to the point of annoyance, to do the same.
12. He enjoyed spending time outdoors playing soccer, skiing, etc., being active in the outdoors with those in whom he was teaching or investing.
13. Owned the value of developing relationships with all sorts of people, friends, students, peers, and enemies.
14. He had the ability to discuss the big picture regarding the church’s essential goals and nature, the importance of Scripture and sound doctrine.
15. Lived and died with a calm confidence and personal assurance in a sovereign God.