Thursday, July 19, 2007

*Heroes of the Faith: Dietrich Bonhoeffer* by Michael Van Dyke (Author)

One winter when Mike was in seminary I decided to read "Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, because Mike and his buddies were constantly discussing the mans thoughts. I was fascinated. I bogged down. This did NOT stop me from assigning *Cost of Discipleship* to the boys this year as they studied the Nazi Regime. ::snort::

I have been contemplating long and hard how the church in Germany could have gone along with all that happened back during that time period. After hearing and meeting Holocaust Survivors, I was determined not to let this train of thought drift away before I researched, thought, and prayed about it....because this often happens when a new school year, with a new time period begins. I am convinced there are applications for today's church in studying the church of WW2.

This book was one that was assigned for Jared (7th grade) to read, I thought it was a good spot for me to begin my search for answers. I picked it up when he was done and LOVED it. I found much food for thought in this book. I loved it so much that now Jamin is reading it and doing one of his Writing Guild assignments on Bonhoeffer (much easier to find original sources for Bonhoeffer than for medieval times). ::snort:: We are also listening to the Focus on the Family audios on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Reading this book led to a quick trip to the library for these books:
All either written by Bonhoeffer himself, his twin sister, or his prior students. I believe I'll be shortening my Summer Reading Challenge List and adding some of these books.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a pastor, professor, one the twentieth century's most brilliant minds, and, ultimately, a martyr. He struggled with the moral issues involved, and then joined the equivalent of the CIA in his country. From this position, he joined the resistance in Germany to his country's dictator, Adolf Hitler. Eventually, he was arrested and was executed as the allies approached. He had SEVERAL opportunities when he could have escaped Germany, but chose to stay. He did help his twin sister (who was married to a Jewish man) escape to Switzerland.
He spent his time in prison writing and it is those writings that now sit on my piano. Some quotes:

When discussing how the "modern" church thought of Jesus' commands as historical rather than immediate to be obeyed, Bonhoeffer said, "It has become almost second nature for us, as a church to put things off, to study things to death, to analyze the results of our indecision and disobedience. And all along we think that God is forgiving us. We are operating under a fallacy of cheap grace, thinking that we can bargain with God about our response." p 85.

"Revival of church life always brings in its train a richer understanding of the Scriptures.....there arises a more determined quest for Him who is the sole object of it all, for Jesus Christ Himself." p 110

When defining "cheap grace" he wrote: (cheap grace is) "The grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sin departs". Or "Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance...." This book made me think. Bonhoeffer was a pacifist who was willing to be involved in plots against his government..... I'm really not sure at this point where all my thoughts will eventually settle...but I love a book that challenges me to think through my beliefs...and this one did.

Bonhoeffer was preaching in prison on the last Sunday morning of his life. He hadn't even had time to sit down when two Gestapo agents came and took him to be sentenced and then executed. The prison doctor was there to confirm his death. He later reported, "In the almost 50 years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so submissive to the will of God." p203.
The epilogue contains these thoughts - "Bonhoeffer's life can serve as a model for 21st century Christians ....While the world will never make it convenient for us to be disciples of Christ, Bonhoeffer showed that it is possible to grow in faith through any circumstance, and to be a disciple in any situation or dilemma. He also showed, however, that this could only be done if the disciple was willing to count the cost, and to pay it in full if necessary. " p 205

I recommend this book for Jr High - Adults. Reading it has sparked an interest in our family to read more...and I'm thrilled. My boys were very "into" WW2 and I had hoped all year that something other than the military aspects would make the issues and time period real to them...and studying up, discussing Dietrich Bonhoeffer is doing that for our family.
Health Issues

I wasn't going to mention this, but I know that some have followed my food odyssey into crunchiness. Some have watched with skepticism and some have watched with interest. ::snort::

When we left AK I had been told that I "most likely" had early stages of MS and there was nothing to do but wait for the symptoms to be pronounced enough for a diagnosis. (I really do not think this was a thorough or accurate diagnosis). I was in chronic pain. My hands and feet tingled and were numb. My wrists ached constantly. I couldn't hold a pen, bottle, baby.....My hips would suddenly go out - they also ached. My shoulder would ache for a week or so and then stop. These symptoms disappeared as I changed my lifestyle of eating. A nice bonus to finding a solution for Zander. ::snort:: I suppose I could mention that I believe that as I learned how to eat God used those choices as an avenue of healing for my body.

By the 3rd week of our vacation all symptoms were back. Once again it ached to get out of bed, my hip gave out 4 times one day in AK. Give out to the point of walking one minute and stumbling or falling the next. My wrists and hip ached constantly. My hands and feet were tingling.

I told Mike I was afraid it was Alaska. He amazingly became a huge convert to crunchiness. ::snort:: He was great. He did buy fresh pineapple and produce (but it sure doesn't taste as fresh up there). I TRIED to eat well on the trip. I'm convinced that there is something on their salads and fruits at restaurants. And simply having a meal or dinner involved preservatives and ingredients I've not had in 1 1/2 years.

We came home hoping that my pain would go away when I got back to eating normally, and that it was not connected to Alaska. ::snort::

I determined to spend 3 - 7 days eating nothing but produce to give my body time to rid itself of whatever was in there. This is the a.m. of day 4. I no longer have chronic pain - just twinges. The tingling is not constant..... I can't isolate WHY or WHAT my body reacts to - but being crunchy is improving my quality of life.

I'm being careful not to eat these few calories long term (because produce doesn't have a lot of calories - I'm eating a TON of produce) but I feel it is important to let my body recup. Eating a lot of produce has also helped me build that habit back into my life (I certainly wasn't getting 10 - 13 servings a day on the trip) and it is helping to lower my cravings for french fries, mayo etc.

Just so you don't worry I've lost my mind....I do have a chocolate kiss or one of those Cacao Reserve mini truffles every night. Dr. Colbert says dark chocolate is good for us.
Another 3 a.m.

finds me sitting at the computer with Stacia in my lap. The children had asked for a sleepover. They used to do this each Friday night in previous homes. ALL the children would pile into the family room with sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, snacks and movies. They loved it. This home doesn't have a family room and I've not wanted to have them all sleeping in the living room. The older boys don't seem to want to participate any longer. Arielle misses this routine. She asked last night if they could have a sleepover in the BOY'S room (younger boys). This works. I think it will become a part of the weekly routine again.

Stacia, however, seems to prefer her own bed, thus another bout of productivity at 3 a.m.

I began going back and copying blog entries from this computer to my journal in Word. I quit doing that when MY computer broke and I began using THIS thing in September 06 - but I think it is time to get my journal udated even if it isn't on MY computer. ::snort:: An hour well spent.....but now Stacia is asleep, I'm tired from two nights of 3 a.m. and all the work yesterday, I think I'll catch a couple of more hours.