I received this book almost exactly a year ago as suggested summer reading. Now I’ve read it — only a year late — no biggie right? Most good books inspire you to do something in a burst of impassioned energy that often fades. A great book, like Life Together burns in you and changes you little by little. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book really is a classic, worth reading and re-reading.
Bonhoeffer begins by tying community to the gospel — in the person and work of Jesus– giving it great importance:
“The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and beauty.”
In short, we were created for community with God, and crucially, with others around us. The remaining three quarters of the book tackle these two halves: community with God and with others, ending with some notes on ministry to others.
Most of this book is application: what life together actually looks like. Almost all of Bonhoeffer’s observations are spot on. The few exceptions main reflect his homeland of Nazi Germany, which is not especially applicable today. But those few spots don’t detract from his uncomfortably accurate observations about culture and how we live out our lives. The best books make you squirm a little, and set concrete goals for you to strive towards. Bonhoeffer meets these criteria nicely.
I won’t lie to you: both the subject and the style make Life Together a difficult read. But, like buried treasure, there’s enough in this small book to come back many times for more. What’s more, the incredible story of its author only serves to emphasize the truth of this book. Dietrich Bonhoeffer believed in these principles so deeply that he was martyred for them. That, in my mind, is worth reading.
Life Together is an excellent, biblical book filled with practical truth that will gnaw at you and work its way into your life. I highly recommend it — just give yourself some solid blocks of time to read and digest it all.
Published on 24 August, 2014. Last updated on