Tuesday, February 25, 2014
A New Read
I am presently in the process of reading Eric Metaxas' book entitled, "Bonhoeffer." By now everyone else in the world has likely read it since it came in print back in 2010. I kept seeing it on the bookshelf and the face of this bespectacled man staring at me from its cover, but still I kept on walking by until a few weeks ago. Of course, I knew about Bonhoeffer. I read his writing, "The Cost of Discipleship" back in my seminary days and throughout my ministry it was one book I went to many times. However, this is the first biography I have read about this extraordinary man who lived out faith in a most difficult arena.
There is a one liner quote which I have not been able to lay down. It is, "Christianity conceals within itself a germ hostile to the church." It is something many of us come to understand as reality; yet, this writer put it in such precise language as he pointed out the difference between Christianity as a religion, like other religions in many ways, and "following Christ, who demands everything, including our very lives." In another place this German Christian wrote about the way that Christ's call bids us come and die. It is only another step to declare that such is also His intent for the church.
Yet, the church as we see it so often expresses itself as an institution centered around a bigger building, a bigger budget, and a bigger membership. As churches spend their millions on things which seemingly insure their survival, one has to wonder if the call to come and die has really been heard. The germ which Bonhoeffer wrote about is certainly one that would undermine all our attempts to shout out, "Come, look at me. Look at what we have done. Look at what we offer to you and yours." Actually, all we really have to shout about is Christ, but then, that might not attract as many as millions spent on state of the art facilities designed to draw the masses inside.