Breakfast with Bonhoeffer:
How I Learned to Stop Being Religious
So I Could Follow Jesus
Dedication: To Sherry, With Love
"At night I chase Zillow dreams that stretch across a pixeled landscape."
I'm not a Dietrich Bonhoeffer scholar by any means, though I did read his massive biography by Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.
He lived his faith no matter the consequences -- in his case, arrest and execution on Hitler's order.
In this memoir, Jon Wallace shares how he learned to live his faith, using Bonhoeffer's writings as a guide, through a difficult divorce that left him lonely, penniless, and depressed.
His writing is almost lyrical at times, drawing me into his sadness.
Here's how he describes the birth of his son:
Sherry softly introduces herself to Jeremy. She knows this child in so many ways -- he's lived inside of her -- yet like pen-pal lovers meeting face-to-face, some of the mystery is falling away as if a deep, longing question now receives its answer (p. 117).
Beautiful, yes. And poignant because we already know that this precious newborn will not live.
It's as if she has all the time in the world, this moment expanding like a bubble, swelling larger and larger, stretching toward a burst. It's an illusion, of course, this pregnant pause; the relentless seconds are slip-sliding away like they always do, like they have since God first unleashed the river of time (p. 117).
Among the many lessons Wallace shares is this one: "God's design is for Christ to be the treasured center of all our relationships . . . You see the truth that your decisions are related to eternity" (p. 95).
Many of us say we believe that. But do we live like we do?
Bonhoeffer did, as best he could, and it cost him his life.
What will it cost me? What will it cost you?
"The life of discipleship," says Bonhoeffer, "can only be maintained so long as nothing is allowed to come between Christ and ourselves -- neither the law, nor personal piety, nor even the world" (p. 92).
Bonhoeffer has so much to teach us, and Wallace shows how those teachings affected his own beliefs and discipleship.