Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm making friends with dead people....

This has nothing to do with Halloween or necromancing, in case you're worried. ;)

It all started in the frozen food section at Costco this summer. Amongst the herds of people gathered around the sample stations, my eye randomly fell upon a girl who was holding a book in her arms. In a glance I took in the front cover. It was nothing extraordinary - just a black and white photo of a bespectacled man. Something about the title seemed familiar though. Bonhoeffer... hmm, where have I seen that name before?

Suffice it to say that my steps soon led me to the book section, where I picked up a biography on a man of whom I had barely heard. Not one to make hasty purchases on anything over $5, I nonetheless was enticed to purchase the book, lured on by my current obsession with WWII. Anyhow, $9.99 could be easily justified if it turned out to be half-decent.

It did.

I just started reading Eric Metaxas' biography of Bonhoeffer last week, and it has been incredibly fascinating.  I've really been getting into biographies/journals lately, which isn't really typical for me, but I've been so encouraged by them.  As Brett and Alex Harris say, I've been "making friends with dead people".  These accounts remind me of the "great cloud of witnesses" that Hebrews 12:1 speaks of, and the hall of faith in Hebrews 11, which lists many examples of faithful men and women who lived their lives in obedience to God.

This is the same type of life I discovered as I began to research the legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a man who searched for truth and was found by God, and ultimately paid the ultimate price for his obedience when he was hanged by the gestapo.  I won't go into the details of his life here, but you can watch a 1/2 hour summary by Eric Metaxas here. (It starts slowly - if you want to skip the intro, go to 8:00) One of the things I have been most struck by so far is just how similar the world of Bonhoeffer's time was to the world of today, especially in terms of culture, philosophy, religion, and the church. I want to share a few quotes that really hit me. I pray that this generation of believers would be inspired by these words from the past, and empowered by the Spirit to seek and live the truth of God's Word.

"The religion of Christ is not a tidbit after one's bread, on the contrary, it is the bread or it is nothing. People should at least understand and concede this if they call themselves Christian."

"Humanism and mysticism, the seemingly most beautiful blossoms put forth by the Christian religion, extolled today as the highest ideals of the human spirit; indeed often as the crown itself of the Christian idea - [but] it is precisely the Christian idea itself that must reject them as an apotheosis of the creature and as such a challenge to the honor belonging to God alone."

"In New York they preach about virtually everything; only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgiveness, death and life."

"Do not try to make the Bible relevant. Its relevance is axiomatic... Do not defend God's Word, but testify to it... Trust to the Word."


  1. I love this! It reminds me of when I was a little girl in school learning about historic figures. My mom said she knew she had succeeded with making history come to life when I commented one day after studying the childhood's of famous Americans: "Mommy, if Abraham Lincoln and I had been neighbors as kids, I know we would have been friends!". I love learning about REAL people. Anita Ditman (not sure I spelled her last name right) is one of my favorite people from the time of WW2. She was a Christian half-Jew, half-Aryan. Her story is incredible. If you haven't already, her autobiography is "Trapped in Hitler's Hell" and is an incredible book... though it can be a big "mature" at times.

    Thanks for sharing!
    God bless!

  2. Oh, I totally know what you mean! :)

    Ok, this is funny, but I was actually going to write about Anita Dittman in this post, but I didn't want to make it too long. I just read "Trapped in Hitler's Hell" last week! It was incredible, and so encouraging and God-honouring! :)

    God bless you, Rachel!