Click here forÂ Who Am I? Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a Historical Mentor in Prayer: Part 1Â and here for Part 2 (focused upon Bonhoeffer’s historical context). As you consider the relationship of Bonhoeffer’s theology to a life of prayer, I encourage you to reflect upon and discuss with others:
- how prayer guides your daily life and those who lead your religious community/communities.
- what it means that Jesus the Christ is the Lord of your head, heart, and hands in all aspects of life. Take particular note of Bonhoeffer’s understanding of suffering.
- what informs your understanding of Bonhoeffer’s theology. Note: In the future I intend to explore the Barthian, Lutheran, early church, and other Christian influences on Bonhoeffer’s theology.Â Bonhoeffer, Christ and Culture (InterVarsity Press, 2013), inspired by the 2012 Wheaton Theology Conference, is on my desk as a possible lens to explore this topic.Â If Bonhoeffer’s theology and/or a desire to review Bonhoeffer, Christ and Culture is of interest to you, pleaseÂ contact me.
Who Am I?Â â€“ A Glimpse of Dietrich Bonhoefferâ€™s Theological Reflection
In The theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1985), Ernst Feil provides a helpful starting place for wrestling with the complexity of summarizing Dietrich Bonhoefferâ€™s theological perspective.
The initial difficulty is that his work is so varied as far as the genre of texts is concerned. Next to his academic studies, Sanctorum Communio and Act and Being, there are the more spiritually oriented works, The Cost of Discipleship and Life Together; and there are, finally, the posthumously published fragments entitled Ethics and Letters and Papers From Prison. These books are augmented by a variety of texts: letters, addresses, catechetical studies, essays, memoranda, lectures, and, not least, the sermons to which Bonhoeffer devoted himself passionately. But all texts lead again and again to those last letters from prison which stimulated all the interest in Bonhoeffer and without which little notice would be paid today to the earlier writings. . . . [through his preaching we find] mystery is the root of everything comprehensible. The mystery which is close to us was also the original point of departure for Bonhoefferâ€™s theology (Feil, 3, 6).
To summarize Feilâ€™s point and to elaborate further, Bonhoefferâ€™s varied and incomplete writing may leave one wondering where he goes with the mystery he searches to understand not only inside himself, but also in the church with God â€“ the one who lives in mystery and eternity. For Bonhoeffer, Christology stands at the core (Marty, 49, 68) and brings together Act and Being (1931). Â As noted earlier, the â€œpersonal liberationâ€ in 1932 is vital to understanding his theology. Bonhoeffer writes in The Cost of Discipleship: [Read more…] about Who Am I? Bonhoeffer as a Historical Mentor in Prayer: Part 3