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Bonhoeffer’s Thought


Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life and story have inspired many since his execution at the Flossenbürg concentration camp 1945. So much so, that today many people claim him to justify their ideas. To his admirers he is known as the martyr, the one who tried to stand up to the Nazis. He is known by his critics as one who betrayed Christian morality by engaging in an assassination plot against Adolf Hitler. What Bonhoeffer really was, was a Lutheran pastor and theologian. His story is amazing buy his theology is transformative. Grounded in the Lutheran theological tradition he develops a concept of the Christian life that is completely centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Christ bridges the individual and God, the individual and community and the community and world.

This course will examine in an introductory way ideas from four of his best known works. Life Together, Ethics, the Cost of Discipleship, and Letters and Papers from Prison. The goal is to help participants find ways to describe what God is doing in their lives. The prayer practices encouraged by this course will look to encourage people to examine their faith life in terms of the topics of each session. Cultivating an individual prayer life that reflects a person’s place within the wider community, using prayer as a way to cultivate prayerful ethical decisions, using the sermon on the mount to examine one’s actual discipleship, making one’s day planner or Google calendar more reflective of our faith relationships are the applications encouraged in the practice sections.

Week 1 The Individual and the Community Life Together How the individual fits into the community of the faithful
Week 2 Christian Life As Formation: Ethics How people and communities are formed by their encounter with Jesus Christ
Week 3 Christ, Act and Being, Cost of Discipleship How faith and works come together in the relationship with Jesus Christ
Week 4 Christ and the World, Letters and Papers from Prison How the community and individual disciples relate to the world through Christ