Friday, April 16, 2010

Book Review: Life Together

In my book club, we finished reading Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It is a fantastic book that I will probably return to and read again (hopefully each year). It is a short read, my version has 147 pages, but it is filled with wisdom and biblical truth's. The book is about living life together in Christian community. The chapters breakdown the different aspects of life together.
The book starts with an introduction that gives a background on Bonhoeffer and his life. He was born in 1906 and was martyred at the hands of the Gestapo in 1945. It is amazing, to me, to know that he wrote this book while living in a concentration camp, yet he writes with a peace that can only come from God.
Chapter 1: Community - talks about the importance of the Christian community and how it is not only an essential but a tremendous blessing to our lives. He explores how we should serve one another as Christ served the church and how it is only because of Christ's love that we can love our neighbor.
Chapter 2: The Day with Others - this chapter lays out, almost hour by hour, what a typical day could/should look like in a Christian community. He talks about prayer life in the morning and evening. He also address the importance of reading Scripture on a daily basis. He doesn't forget the fact that people have to work too. He says we all need to work and do the job God has set before us. I love this part, he says "Without the burden and labor of the day, prayer is not prayer, and without prayer work is not work." It's like prayer gets us through the work day and work makes our prayer life significant.
Chapter 3: The Day Alone - this chapter addresses silence and solitude. Bonhoeffer explains how even when we live in community, we still need times of solitude, prayer, silence, meditation and intercession. He hits on this but at the end of the chapter he again reminds us that we are apart of the body and that after a time alone, we should again be joined in community.
Chapter 4: Ministry - this chapter is about the ministry of serving each other. I learned a lot in the chapter as he talks about the ministry of holding one's tongue, the ministry of meekness, of listening, of helpfulness, of bearing, of proclaiming and of authority. He address these in the context of sharing our lives with each other.
Chapter 5: Confession and Communion - this chapter is just what the title explains, confessing to one another and then celebrating communion.

Overall, this book is a great read and I would highly recommend it. He definitely challenged my thinking of community and how I can serve those around me. Bonhoeffer writes with such wisdom but also with humility. He really addresses how important it is to live in community. A final quote "In a Christian community everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable."

1 comment:

baratsmith said...

Life Together is a great book. You should check out The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer. It's a very challenging book that will make you rethink what Christianity should look like.

BTW- Love the blog.