something to chew on

Mar 11, 2009 by

for the past month or so, dave and i have been reading the cost of discipleship by dietrich bonhoeffer together each night after dinner. i don’t know how many of you are familiar with bonhoeffer, but he was a brilliant, courageous, godly martyr who lived in the early 1900’s. and when i say brilliant, i mean, blow your mind, hurt your brain type stuff.

thing is, i just can’t begin to blog about him, because he is everything i can only aspire to be, and he never thought of himself as anything special (which makes me feel like i have a whole heck of a lot to learn about humility). he’s like one of those songs on american idol that simon says is “too big” for the contestant to sing.

so i’m not going to sing.

but i will share a bit that he wrote in our reading the a while back that i really loved:

“so many people come to church with a genuine desire to hear what we have to say, yet they are always going back home with the uncomfortable feeling that we are making it too difficult for them to come to Jesus. are we determined to have nothing to do with all these people? they are convinced that it is not the Word of Jesus himself that puts them off, but the superstructure of human, institutional, and doctrinal elements in our preaching. of course we know all the answers to these objections, and those answers certainly make it easy for us to slide out of our responsibilities. but perhaps it would be just as well to ask ourselves whether we do not in fact often act as obstacles to Jesus and his Word. is it not possible that we cling too closely to our own favourite presentation of the gospel, and to a type of preaching which was all very well in it’s own time and place and for the social set-up for which it was originally intended? is there not after all a sense of truth in the contention that our preaching is too dogmatic, and hopelessly irrelevant to life?”

it just strikes me that “the church” faces the same struggles now as it did a century ago. and before that even, i’m sure. he’s a little harsh with believers, but i like it. SAY something. i want to THINK. i want to be CHALLENGED. what can we do better on? how can we show the love of Christ to people? what “works” in a church setting? what do people dislike about “christians”? how can we look different and be different than people expect?

in the memoir written about bonhoeffer by g. leibholz, he said “Bonhoeffer stood for what is called Christian Humanism to-day. For he offered his life for a new understanding of the personal life which has its roots in the Christian faith. (…) To Bonhoeffer, Christianity was not the concern of the believing, pious soul who shuts himself up and keeps himself within the bounds of the sacramental sphere. No, according to him Christianity has its place in this world and the Church as The Body of Christ, and the fellowship in him can only be the visible Church.

i love bonhoeffers thoughts on spiritual vitality and his honesty as a believer…nevermind the strength and conviction he held in circumstances that were truly detestable. situations that you and i will likely never have to face, and can’t actually imagine. as believers, we really aren’t persecuted around here anymore. we’re safe in america to be lazy, comfortable, and mediocre. we just add God to our lives like he’s an ingredient in our little recipe when He created baking. we’re so lame. following Jesus is a way to live and think and act. it’s not something to try to fit into the life you feel like living. but that’s what we do. i do it. you do it. even though we know better…

okay. that was a rant.

but in all honesty, i am just grateful God created people like dietrich bonhoeffer to challenge me in my faith. i get lost in motherhood so easily. i mean, in the time i’ve written this, elias has woken up piper from her morning nap after a mere hour, made a ridiculously huge mess with play-doh, and then went on to feed some play-doh to piper. (thank god it’s non-toxic. ay-yi-yi.)

as a mom, i need to remember to nurture and feed my brain so i don’t start thinking dora the explorer and lightening mcqueen have all the wisdom of the world. it’s not always easy :)

anyone else out there finding anything challenging to chew on these days?

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1 Comment

  1. kellybollman

    read anything by Fulton J. Sheen… BRILLIANT philosopher and theologian. loved Jesus too! haha
    no really – check it out.
    btw – friend of Jessi’s :)