Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Life Together 6

Bonhoeffer.jpg Dietrich Bonhoeffer Life Together was ahead of his time in Bible reading. 

Or should I say that we are just now catching up to our past?
In the “Day Together” chp Bonhoeffer urges daily Bible reading from beginning of the Bible to the end. Here are his words about entering into the Story of the Bible:
“We are uprooted from our own existence and are taken back to the holy history of God on earth… that we are attentive listeners and participants in God’s action in the sacred story…
It is not that God’s help and presence must still be proved in our life; rather God’s presence and help have been demonstrated for us in the life of Jesus Christ. It is in fact more important for us to know what God did to Israel in God’s son Jesus Christ, than to discover what God intends for us today. The fact that Jesus died is more important than the fact that I will die. And the fact that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead is the sole ground of my hope that I, too, will be raised on the day of judgment.”
“I find salvation not in my life story, but only in the story of Jesus Christ. Only those who allow themselves to found in Jesus Christ …. are with God and God with them” (62).
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Jeremy Berg

posted October 5, 2009 at 1:25 am

Many of us have personally experienced the transformative power of narrative theology, i.e., finding our lives anew within God’s Story. Yet, I have found this narrative dynamic very hard to convey to others. It’s as if it can’t be explained; one must simply experience it. For instance, I regularly speak passionately and energetically to teens about finding they’re role in God’s Story, having their priorities reordered at the beckoning of Jesus’ call to follow, and so on. And I’m usually met with blanks stares and bored expressions.
While many of us have indeed been “uprooted from our own existence and are taken back to the holy history of God on earth… that we are attentive listeners and participants in God’s action in the sacred story…”, how can pastors and preachers of God’s Word help others “uproot” from their own story long enough to glimpse the all-defining Story of Redemption in Christ? And how come I am brought to tears by the power and beauty of “God’s action in the sacred story” and others are simply bored by this ancient story?
Or, put simply: Can this be taught? Or is this a supernatural lifting-of-the-veil outside our control?

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Ted M. Gossard

posted October 5, 2009 at 5:36 am

Wonderful words indeed.

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posted October 5, 2009 at 7:56 am

Jeremy the “International Orality Network” is full of people who share your passion for God’s story and the power of knowing that WE too are part of His narrative.

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Joan Ball

posted October 5, 2009 at 8:55 am

Jeremy: There may be a paradox here. It wonder if we need more stories of genuine transformation in the here and now to point people to the ancient story and the source of that transformation. I think of addiction recovery. The sick, active user is not inspired at first by the fact that they suffer from a malady that is physical, spiritual and emotional and that there is a program of recovery that can save them. They are inspired by the fact that the guy/gal at the front of the room used to drink/drug just like them, that they were hopeless/helpless/powerless, that they faced a turning point, chose life and things, while not perfect, have gotten better. Change is possible, they learn. Transformation is possible. Somehow, when people can connect with that notion the question of how it works becomes much more intriguing.
I’m guessing that most of the kids you are talking to are not addicts, but their need for transformation is just as real. Where do they struggle? What is the root of their strife? Where are the people whose lives were just like that and have been transformed? Finding the places that they struggle–the root of their strife–and drawing them into the story of Christ’s suffering through their own suffering–now, that is compelling. At least I find it to be.

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posted October 5, 2009 at 10:00 am

“We are uprooted from our own existence and are taken back to the holy history of God on earth…It is in fact more important for us to know what God did to Israel in God’s son Jesus Christ, than to discover what God intends for us today.”
To me this is the crux of the matter. We are such self-centered and impatient readers that we tend to only be concerned about what does this mean for me today. I think this is how some find the Bible irrelevant, but we need to somehow raise people’s appreciation of the scripture and show its relevance for today even by way of the ancients.

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Robert Witham

posted October 5, 2009 at 10:25 am

These are some great thoughts and certainly address an issue that I am increasingly becoming aware of myself.
As Pat noted we are so wrapped up in ourselves as a culture that we seem to care little about what God HAS done already because we are more concerned about what God MAY do in the future (for us of course). Rather than viewing ourselves as bit players in a much larger drama where Jesus himself is center stage we instead view ourselves at the center of the story and then become frustrated and angry as we wonder why everything happens to us and life does not always work the way we think that it should.
Understanding our place in a much larger story makes such a difference!

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John W Frye

posted October 6, 2009 at 3:46 pm

The precise, sharp clarity of Bonhoeffer is sometimes stunning. This is an example. Thanks, Scot.

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