Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Jesus and Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer.jpgMy Jesus of Nazareth class this semester has a new wrinkle. We begin by reciting the Jesus Creed, we have a short quiz, and then — here’s the new part — I read aloud 2-3 pages from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic: Discipleship (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol. 4)
. I like the tile of this complete edition of Bonhoeffer’s classic. The original title was “Nachfolge” and so the same word is now in the official edition and translation: instead of “The Cost of Discipleship,” it is just “Discipleship.”

So far two topics: costly grace and the call to discipleship. It is stirring to be reading it aloud.
This book was the topic of lectures Bonhoeffer gave to his underground seminary students, and then it was published — and was no doubt one of the reasons Hitler’s diabolical cohorts banned Bonhoeffer from further publications.
This book contains the powerful arrows Bonhoeffer aimed at the idols of his day in Germany, and as such it contains the ideas needed to build an alternative, Jesus-shaped and discipleship-shaped, reality.
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posted January 27, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I remember reading that chapter on cheap grace a number of years ago and it shook me to the core.

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Denise Fath

posted January 27, 2010 at 5:18 pm

It’s such a shame that Bonhoeffer isn’t so widely read anymore, because there he wrote so much great stuff! Especially in today’s subjective culture, it’s such a needed kick-in-the-butt to read Bonhoeffer’s strong demands (that, ultimately, are of course just Jesus’ demands).
It costs something to be a Christian, and it’s so refreshing to read a work that doesn’t sugar coat the truth. Anything meaningful takes work and sacrifice. The easy way isn’t always the right way. How badly the world needs to relearn these lessons!

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posted January 28, 2010 at 9:07 am

Sorry, I’m new…. but what is the Jesus Creed?

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posted January 28, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Bonhoeffer’s writings are very challenging for disciples of Jesus. The link here is to a related blog post I wrote.

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posted January 28, 2010 at 2:39 pm

When my husband began his studies at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in the fall of 2004, all the first year students had to read ‘Cost of Discipleship’ before classes began. The group met and was discussing some point or another from the book. Dear Reginald Fuller, aged and wizened and brilliant NT scholar and professor, Episcopal Priest, age 89 at the time, raised his hand and added to the conversation by saying, ‘Well, back when I translated this from the original German, I thought that…..’. Yeah. Holy cow. I have long loved this book, but that first person connection with it made it all the dearer to our family. Thanks for giving it some space here. Soul-shaping stuff.

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posted January 28, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Bonhoeffer is a personal hero. What a story he has.
In college, I did an independent study on his life and theology. At the end of the semester, I presented a paper at a conference put on by the newly established “Ghandi Center for Non-Violence” at James Madison University. The conclusion of my paper was the Bonhoeffer acted responsibly in the situation he faced by doing what he could to stop Hitler (though of course the attempts to take his life with which Bonhoeffer was associated failed). Bonhoeffer’s ethic of free responsibility, I claimed, allowed him to make the dreadful decisions he did to subvert the “laws of his land” which were so clearly evil. Attending the conference were several other undergrads, some professors, and a large contingent from the nearby Eastern Mennonite University. Boy, trying to make the case that Bonhoeffer did the right thing in trying to kill Hitler to this crowd was NOT an easy task. After presenting my paper and fielding a few follow up questions from my sponsoring professor, I was pelted with questions and comments about how disrespectful, decietful, and flat out wrong it was for me to be at this conference presenting a conclusion like that. Whoa! It was quite an experience as a 19 year old Junior in college. Once I sat down and cleaned the sweat off my brow, my professor assured me that I had handled the situation with tact and grace. That, I’m sure, came from the Lord at that moment.
Anyway, Bonhoeffer is surely one of the greats. If I were you, I would just keep reading the cheap grace pages aloud at the beginning of class all semester. Might be interesting to see how folks interact with it over the course of several months!
By the way, Bonhoeffer fans, I just saw a book in Barnes and Noble that I hadn’t ever seen before on his life. It seemed to be a collection of some otherwise unpublished sermons and papers (along with a lot of other things which have previously been published). Can’t remember the name of it, but I’m pretty sure Fortress published it.

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