Item description for Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community by Dietrich Bonhoeffer & Paul Michael...
Overview After his martyrdom at the hands of the Gestapo in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer continued his witness in the hearts of Christians around the world. His Letters and Papers from Prison became a prized testimony to Christian faith and courage, read by thousands. Now in Life Together we have Pastor Bonhoeffer's experience of Chrisitian community. This story of a unique fellowship in an underground seminary during the Nazi years reads like one of Paul's letters. It gives practical advice on how life together in Christ can be sustained in families or groups. The role of personal prayer, worship in common, everyday work, and Christian service is treated in simple, almost biblical, words. Life Together is bread for all who are hungry for the real life of Christian fellowship.
Publishers Description After his martyrdom at the hands of the Gestapo in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer continued his witness in the hearts of Christians around the world. His Letters and Papers from Prison became a prized testimony to Christian faith and courage, read by thousands. Now in Life Together we have Pastor Bonhoeffer's experience of Christian community. This story of a unique fellowship in an underground SEMInary during the Nazi years reads like one of Paul's letters. It gives practical advice on how life together in Christ can be sustained in families and groups. The role of personal prayer, worship in common, everyday work, and Christian service is treated in simple, almost biblical, words. Life Together is bread for all who are hungry for the real life of Christian fellowship.
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Studio: Hovel Audio
Running Time: 210.00 minutes
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 6.08" Width: 4.86" Height: 0.85" Weight: 0.21 lbs.
Release Date Feb 1, 2007
Publisher Hovel Audio
ISBN 1596444339 ISBN13 9781596444331
Availability 0 units.
More About Dietrich Bonhoeffer & Paul Michael
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in Breslau in 1906. The son of a famous German psychiatrist, he studied in Berlin and New York City. He left the safety of America to return to Germany and continue his public repudiation of the Nazis, which led to his arrest in 1943. Linked to the group of conspirators whose attempted assassination of Hitler failed, he was hanged in April 1945.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in 1906 and died in 1945.
Reviews - What do customers think about Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community?
Somewhat Too Rigid Yet Still A Solid Christian Discipleship May 20, 2008
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is the Lutheran version of Francis Schaeffer, particularly when in comes to honesty, blatancy, and compassion in teaching personal relationships without compromising the gospel truth, but instead, teaching them within the framework of the gospel. "Life Together" is a rare gem on the beauty and sweetness of God-ordained Christian fellowship, that Bonhoeffer describes as an "extraordinary grace"; the "roses and lilies" of the Christian life. It is useful for pastors and lay-Christians; specifically for the emergent churches. Here is a pastor and theologian who understands and loves people, not by embracing post-modern relativism, however, or distorting the Christian gospel for the sake of making it more appealing and relevant. People are loved the most when they are loved in truth, and only in this context can a true Christian community exist and be sustained.
His argument is that Christians can exist neither in community only nor as individuals only, but in both realities. Though the structure of a corporate worship that he proposes is somewhat rigid, where not everybody would agree, his analysis on human nature created by God to be social beings, is impressively sharp. The basis of a community is a common gospel faith; the foundation of which is the Lord Jesus Christ, who has called them into one body. On the other hand, he also exposes the dangers of those who can not be alone and those who refuse to be in a community. Concerning the dangers of both cases, he wrote,
"Let him who can not be alone beware of community. Let him who is not in community beware of being alone. Each by itself has... pitfalls and perils. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings (by which I take it to mean the case where a community may degenerate into undesirable malicious effects like gossips and quarrels), and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation, and despair" (pp.77-78).
The treatments on the disciplines of prayer and Bible reading within the community and personal communion with God are tremendously beneficial and indispensable, as are the deeply personal directives in the last two chapters on how to minister and treat one another, where, when it comes to the discussion on confession, it is closely related to the case of those who avoid being in the community. Despite the seemingly outward pompous togetherness in the name of tolerance, I still see gaping evidences of pockets of loneliness in the post-modern world. I sense the abundance of the availability of social networking sites, chat rooms, instant messengers, blogs and online dating services, for examples, may testify to this hidden loneliness behind our narcissistic spirit. This aloofness poses a greater threat to ruin one's soul that Bonhoeffer describes as follows in the context of transparency to one another through confession in a Christian community,
" `Confess your faults to one another' (James 5:16). He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners... Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person. In confession the light of the Gospel breaks into darkness and seclusion of the heart. Confession in the presence of a brother is the profoundest kind of humiliation. It hurts, it cuts a man down, it is a dreadful blow to pride... In the confession of concrete sins, the old man dies a painful, shameful death before the eyes of a brother. Because this humiliation is so hard, we continually scheme to evade confessing to a brother. Our eyes are so blinded that they no longer see the promise and the glory in such abasement" (pp. 110, 112, 114).
There are many other valuable lessons that Bonhoeffer shares that would make this book a must read. He is not an ivory-tower theologian but one who understands human beings, though not perfectly, and cherishes and teaches them as both individuals and community with the right balance thereof, to the glory of God in Christ.
Small Groups Must Read Jan 31, 2008
Biblical applications of Christ-centered faith in the Trinity, and the fellowship of Christians in home and common prayer accedes the test of time in Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community". As the Nazi regime began to take shape in Germany in 1935, the author wrote the book in Stettin, where he shared a common life in emergency-built houses with twenty-five vicars. For Christians today, "Life Together", transcends an age-old message to every group of people in fellowship: Christianity is community through and in Jesus Christ, alone. Bonhoeffer attests to the first community as that of the Trinity in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Scriptural submissions follow as the author stresses that it is God's will that Christendom is "like scattered seed into all the kingdoms of the earth (Deut 28:25) as both a curse and a promise. "God's people live among unbelievers but are also the seed of the Kingdom of God in the world." The author submits that this has happened in Christ who died, "that he should gather together in one the scattered children of God." (John 11:52). Therefore, Christians need other Christians to speak God's Word to one another in both daily, and seasons of their fellowship. In his central statement that we need one another because of Christ, the theologian further explains that God's Word must be spoken among the fellowship of believers where there is uncertainty and discouragement, so that brothers and sisters in Christ can bear and proclaim the "divine word of salvation" to one another. Bonhoeffer further attests that the more sincere and authentic, and the deeper each community of fellowship becomes, the more visible and purely Christ is present among them. In this, says the author, Christian brotherhood is not an ideal, but a divine reality. A framework of a first, and foremost, Christ-centered focus, would be pivotal to contemporary small group ministries which may constrain this application to favor a blend of both the human and the spiritual. As the author puts it, it is the "undiscerning" who believe in this mix, with varied levels of community structure, such as marriage, family and friendship, "Where the human element assumes a central importance for coming into being, and where spiritual is only added to the physical and intellectual, the author attests that there's a danger of confusing the two spheres, when there is no such danger in a purely spiritual fellowship Bonhoeffer perceived "Life Together" as Christian family fellowship, groups in prayer, and in common worship as the body of Christ. He extolled passing on the Christian faith at home, as parents and children share in reading the scriptures and psalms, and in daily table fellowship, saying grace in "Come Lord Jesus, be our guest", which binds Christians to Jesus and to one another. The theologian also asserts that Christians should remember daily prayer, particularly in the morning. "At the break of light, the church remembers the morning on which death and sin is defeated and new life and salvation was given to mankind". He further states that those who gather together in groups at this time of day should bond in "common praise of God, common prayer, and common hearing of the Word". This book is "must read" for small groups, pastors, staff and the laity in general. As Bonhoffer submits, it is Christ who must be the focus of the group or church's mission and ministry . The first questions small groups and the church as a whole must ask is: What is Christ's will for this ministry? This humble submission frames our love in service to the neighbor.
The Reality of Christian Fellowship Jan 28, 2008
This is a great little book, a classic that all Christians should read. At roughly 128 pages, this is a short treatise on Christian community that is very accessible. In the first chapter of this book Bonhoeffer presents his understanding of the reality of Christian community. Bonhoeffer's basic claim is that Christian community is a reality, both in the mundane realm and in the spiritual realm, and that this reality should inform the way we live with fellow Christians. The remaining four chapters deal with exactly how this reality should inform our lives, both as we live together and as we spend time alone.
Bonhoeffer provides in this book a plethora of practical considerations for us to consider in light of the reality of our Christian brotherhood. For some reason, various reviewers have criticized Bonhoeffer's views found in the second chapter, "The Day With Others". In particular it seems that people are uncomfortable with Bonhoeffer's views concerning worship.
Basically Bonhoeffer stands for the proposition that Christian worship should be limited to unison-singing. Although I am not sure that I agree with Bonhoeffer's particular thoughts on this subject, I think he is essentially correct that overall we should consider how these practical parts of our life together effect the fellowship. Bonhoeffer's concern is that modern forms of worship can lead to sin (or at least a less fruitful expression of worship) in the body; that we should be wary of allowing one group within the body to impose their personal preferences on the whole.
This thinking is in-line with Bonhoeffer's overall point in this book: we should always be thinking of the body when considering the various aspects of our lives, both as we live together and as we spend time alone. Music is just one example. And I think that the people who have somehow reconciled themselves to criticize Bonhoeffer in this one area while at the same time praising the rest of the book are clearly not understanding the point of this book. They say, "If we resort only to unison-singing in worship my rights of self-expression will be violated... I find self-expression in other forms of worship." My response, and I think Bonhoeffer's response would be: the essence of Christian fellowship, and thus the essence of Christianity, is that we look to the interests of our brother before we tend to our own interests. Christianity isn't about my rights... it's about loving others with grace. This means, among other things, thinking practically about how our choice of worship style effects the body. And if we choose to worship with a more contemporary style, while offending other portions of the body (elderly people are a group that come to mind), causing those portions of the body to withdraw, how are we serving and loving the body? Bonhoeffer's point is that we aren't, and I think he's essentially right.
The types of practical considerations Bonhoeffer applies to music are the same type of considerations we need to apply to our entire lives, both our lives together and our lives alone. This is the point of this book, and it is a profound message for a time when people tend to focus more on their own rights, interests, and claims. While individual autonomy is the order of the day, Bonhoeffer calls us to love one another. This includes the hard work of dealing with practical problems, such as worship style. I think this is a great book because it challenges us to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. We all say we love the brotherhood, but are we actually doing it? What does it mean to really love? In this book Bonhoeffer presents a challenging picture of what loving looks like, and even though we don't need to agree with everything he says, his overall message is a necessary one. I hope you enjoy the read!
One of the most challenging books I've read Jan 7, 2008
It's strange to say I both like this book and don't like it, but that's true. It's convicting me, which I know I need, but which doesn't always "feel" good. However, I like his central premise about Christ being at the center. What he writes about not knowing my brothers and sisters directly, but through Christ, changes the way I look at relationships. Regarding his writing about singing, I didn't really agree with it. But I reminded myself that Bonhoeffer wrote in a different place and time. I'm beginning to think that the best books are not those that make me "feel" good but that make me think differently.
Return to the underground home churches Dec 5, 2007
A precious little book, with wonderful advice for Christians on how to live a fully-fledged Christian life, in community, as it corresponds to the Body of Christ, His church.
Advice on prayer, specially when we are not in the spiritual mood to do so; on the importance of fellowship and solitude, each one at their right time, complementing each other. Even the smallest details are here, and very welcome ones: "when our thoughts wander (...) quite calmly to incorporate into our prayer the people and events to which our thoughts keep straying and thus in all patience return to the starting point of the meditation." Here you realize the enormous importance for Christians of living, praying, singing, encouraging, helping, praising, confessing in comunity. Iron sharpens iron.
The book was written for the underground church during the nazi years in Germany. A most timely book for the times we are starting to live in. And by the way: the way it started is the way it will all end.