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Gemeinsames Leben by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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Gemeinsames Leben (original 1938; edition 2006)

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Eberhard Bethge (Herausgeber), Gerhard Ludwig Müller (Herausgeber), Albrecht Schönherr (Herausgeber)

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2,369182,648 (4.22)9
Member:paulstalder
Title:Gemeinsames Leben
Authors:Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Other authors:Eberhard Bethge (Herausgeber), Gerhard Ludwig Müller (Herausgeber), Albrecht Schönherr (Herausgeber)
Info:Gütersloh : Gütersloher Verlagshaus (2006), Edition: 28. A., Broschiert, 120 S.
Collections:Your library
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Tags:Christsein, Nachfolge

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Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1938)

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In the book “Life Together” Dietrich Bonhoeffer presented some good ideas of what Christian community should look like. He starts out by reminding us of how much of a privilege it is to be able to meet with other believers. The time we spend with Christians should be the most joyful part of our days and weeks. He goes on to write about the difference between spiritual love (love generated by God) and human love (love we conjure up on our own). I think that he made some good points here, in that, as long as community is something that we are trying to do on our own it won't work. We need to make Christ our focus, and as each member of the body focuses in more on the head, Christ, then we will all work together in unity. Bonhoeffer states, “Our community with one another consists solely in what Christ has done to both of us. This is true not merely at the beginning, as though in the course of time something else were to be added to our community; it remains so for all the future and to all eternity. I have community with others and I shall continue to have it only through Jesus Christ”
I think that one of the hardest things the church faces is to keep all of its members focused in on Christ, and that is what the rest of the book was about. He tried to give practical methods of keeping our focus true and on the mark. Unfortunately, at times I think that he got a little over zealous and eccentric in his ideas, such as when he stated that there is something more spiritual and more pleasing in singing in unison than singing with harmony, although he did have a point that we have to be careful that the singing time doesn't turn the attention away from God. Some of his ideas, such as the one just mentioned, seemed to come more out of his own mind than from the Bible, but at other times he was very good at documenting what verses he based his thought on.
He definitely was right on when he said, “If it is really true that it is hard for us, as adult Christians, to comprehend even a chapter of the Old Testament in sequence, then this can only fill us with profound shame; what kind of testimony is that to our knowledge of the Scriptures and all our previous reading of them? .... But, of course, we must admit that the Scriptures are still largely unknown to us. Can the realization of our fault, our ignorance of the Word of God, have any other consequence than that we should earnestly and faithfully retrieve what has been neglected?” Bonhoeffer suggests that there are three key components of time spent in fellowship with believers. He says that these three things are praying a psalm, reading at least a chapter from the Old Testament and a chapter from the New Testament, and singing a hymn. He then goes on to explain his thoughts on each. One thing that I greatly appreciated was his stand on reading Scripture. He feels that it is of utmost importance to read and study the Word of God, and that when admonishing others and when making decisions we must use the Word as our guideline, not logic or experience. This is something that was very prevalent in Rocky Ridge. Often times people would talk about how they've seen things work, or they would compare the church to a business and try to model it after one, but they would forget that we are supposed to be modeling ourselves after Christ and that the Bible is of the highest authority while we are here on earth. I also agree with him that there are too many Christians, myself included, out there today who just don't know there Bible very well, simply because we just don't take the time that we should to read it.
If he had finished the book at this point, after talking about love, service, meeting together, and personal devotions, it would have painted a nice picture but it wouldn't have been complete. If these things were modeled completely, it would create a good community, grounded in the Word, and loving Christ and one another, but as humans we sin, and Bonhoeffer doesn't forget that, so he also included a section on how to respond when there is one in the community who is not living as they should be or who has committed some sin. He reminds us first of all that we are all sinners, and that we have all been forgiven by God, and therefore we all must forgive eachother. Not only this, but it is important to confess to eachother. Confession to a brother causes the problem to not be our own anymore, we no longer bear it by ourselves, and in that we can finally leave the sin behind through the power of Christ.
I felt that Bonhoeffer had some really good things to say in this book. Some of his thoughts seemed a bit idealized, but he also was quick to remind us that we are sinners and we must remember that we are only who we are through Christ.
  NGood | Feb 19, 2014 |
This is a challenging book on Christian living. Bonhofer builds a solid, scriptural argument that will test your faith and challenge the reader to new levels of sanctification.. ( )
  SgtBrown | Jul 6, 2013 |
"Reading Bonhoeffer is incredibly convicting." That was my friend's opinion when I mentioned this book, and he is absolutely right.

Bonhoeffer was the German pastor convicted, imprisoned, and executed for speaking out against Hitler and eventually scheming to assassinate him. As with his opposition to Fascism, Bonhoeffer lived out each one of his beliefs. That biographical tidbit makes every one of his books more amazing; his strong rhetoric is not simply hopeful. Bonhoeffer walked the talk.

In this book, Bonhoeffer explored the role of Christian community, which he imagines as a small, familial fellowship of believers. Christians, in Bonhoeffer's world, meet together morning and night, before and after their workdays. For that reason, Life Together includes strong opinions about how a community should do daily reading and prayer. Modern Christians may be put off by the depth of involvement Bonhoeffer expects from them, particularly in the chapter entitled "The Day with Others."

The other chapters are devoted to the nature of Christian community, the need for silence and solitude, the role of ministry in community, and the need for confession and communion. Bonhoeffer's praise of solitude echoes Blaise Pascal, when he writes:

"Many people seek fellowship because they are afraid to be alone. Because they cannot stand loneliness, they are driven to seek the company of other people. ... The person who comes into a fellowship because he is running away from himself is misusing it for the sake of diversion, no matter how spiritual this diversion may appear."

I commend this book to you, because it will challenge you to invest more time, energy, and prayer in your local Christian community. Bonhoeffer elevates Christ in all things, and he illustrates beautifully the role individual Christians play in proclaiming Christ. It will encourage you to pursue life together. ( )
  QuietedWaters | May 22, 2013 |
Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (?)
  journeyguy | Apr 2, 2013 |
Good book. It's a short read that feels like a long read because there are so many things in the book I needed to think about carefully. I ultimately disagree with some of the extremities to which Bonhoeffer tries to take us (I felt the same in The Cost of Discipleship), but he's certainly pointing in the right direction. ( )
  arron_kau | Apr 2, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dietrich Bonhoefferprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Doberstein, John W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Ps. 133:1)
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'Not,' as his friend Bethge says, 'that he believed that everybody must act as he did, but from where he was standing, he could see no possibility of retreat into any sinless, righteous, pious refuge. The sin of respectable people reveals itself in flight from responsibility. He saw that sin falling upon him and he took his stand.' (11)
"Such was the life and death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer - a teacher of the Church in the highest sense of the word, a writer of profound theological and Biblical insight and yet close to the contemporary life and sensitive to reality, a witness who saw the way of discipleship and walked it to the end." (18)
"'I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries' (Zech. 10:9). According to God's will Christendom is a scattered people, scattered like seed 'into all the kingdoms of the earth' (Deut. 28:25). That is its curse and its promise. God's people must dwell in far countries among the unbelievers, but it will be the seed of the Kingdom of God in all the world." (18)
WC: "Seminarians before their ordination receive the gift of common life with their brethren for a definite period." (21)
"He knows that God's Word in Jesus Christ pronounces him guilty, even when he does not feel his guilt, and God's Word in Jesus Christ pronounces him not guilty and righteous, even when he does not feel that he is righteous at all. The Christian no longer lives of himself, by his own claims and his own justification, but by God's claims and God's justification. He lives wholly by God's word pronounced upon him, whether that Word declares him guilty or innocent." (22)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060608528, Paperback)

After his martyrdom at the hands of the Gestapo in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer continued his witness in the hearts of Christians around the world. His Letters and Papers from Prison became a prized testimony to Christian faith and courage, read by thousands. Now in Life Together we have Pastor Bonhoeffer's experience of Christian community. This story of a unique fellowship in an underground seminary during the Nazi years reads like one of Paul's letters. It gives practical advice on how life together in Christ can be sustained in families and groups. The role of personal prayer, worship in common, everyday work, and Christian service is treated in simple, almost biblical, words. Life Together is bread for all who are hungry for the real life of Christian fellowship.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:47 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Martyred by the Gestapo near the end of world war II for plotting to assassinate Hitler, Dietrich Bonhoeffer left a legacy of writings that has become a prized testimony of faith and courage for Christians around the world. 'Life Together' is Bonyhoeffer's inspiring account of a unique fellowship in an underground seminary during the Nazi years in Germany. it reads like one of Paul's letters, giving practical advice on how life together in Christ can be sustained in families and groups. The role of personal prayer, worship in common, everyday work, and Christian service is treated in simple, almost biblical, words. 'Life Together' is bread for all who are hungry for the real life of Christian fellowship"--Cover, p. 4.… (more)

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