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Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community Paperback – May 26, 2009


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Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community + The Cost of Discipleship + Ethics
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1St Edition edition edition (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060608528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060608521
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"When I think of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, some words Gorky used of Tolstoy come into my mind--'Look what a wonderful man is living on the earth.'" -- Malcolm Muggeridge, author of Jesus

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in Breslau in 1906. The son of a famous German psychiatrist, he studied in Berlin and New York City. He left the safety of America to return to Germany and continue his public repudiation of the Naz*s, which led to his arrest in 1943. Linked to the group of conspirators whose attempted assassination of Hitlerr failed, he was hanged in April 1945.

Customer Reviews

This is probably one of those books that gets better with each time it is read.
D. Bartol
The insight of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, does truly challenge a Christian to reevaluate his understanding of both the value and meaning of 'Christian Community'.
john k
In this book Bonhoeffer is addressing life in the Body of Christ, the community of believers.
Zachary Jones

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Robert Knetsch on October 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am reading 2 Timothy as I read this book and it really brings out some of the really important elements of Christian life and the church. Both Paul and Bonhoeffer are writing from the perspective of someone who is imprisoned, who is never sure when their life may end. If fact, both are probably sure that life will end very soon. So when they write, they are writing what is truly on their hearts, bringing to their reader exhortations that they hope to leave with them that will most strengthen their faith and respective communities.
This book talks about very simple things: singing together, living together, reading together. It touches little on how to overcome politics or proper forms of leadership. What he wants most is to make sure that, of all things, we learn how to be true brothers and sisters, which can ONLY be done through Christ. Without him and His will, we can do nothing. The Christocentric nature of his writing is alomost startling, yet, like Karl Barth, is essential to understanding Bonhoeffer.
I was most affected by the chapter about reading the Bible. He refers to booklets (writeen by the Moravians in his time) that focus only on a few verses. He challenges us to read whole chapters, whole books, of the entire Bible. This is so very true today. If we even take the time to read the Bible, we don't take part in the great narrative of God's grace, in Israel's crossing of the Red Sea, of thier crying out to God for help. When God rebukes them, he also rebukes us.
Perhaps some aspects of the book are somewhat anachronistic. The part about singing is a bit opinionated. I understand his desire for true unison singing - that it captures the symbol of all God's people joining as one in Christ.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
Besides the Word of God (the bible), there are three other books every Christian should read, if he/she is serious about their faith.
Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan; The Cost of Discipleship by D. Bonhoeffer, and this book, Life Together, by the same author. This book changed my perspective...totally, on how to live with 'my neighbour.' Think you really do love your neighbour? What about your brother and sister in the Lord? With so many church splits, arguments over trivial doctrinal issues, petty squabbles, and gossip justified as 'good ol' christian concern', this book is needed. It shows how we are REALLY to treat one another. Patterned after Christ, and based in scripture--this book is a must.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Bethany McKinney on July 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
This brief book contains one of the most passionate calls to Christian community of any book I have read. Bonhoeffer does not mince words; he boldly and succinctly tells us that whether we feel it or not, we are bound in community with other Christians. And, like a good Lutheran, Bonhoeffer makes it clear that this community finds its origin and existence only in Christ and in what *Christ* has done to each believer. He emphasizes that Christian community is not an ideal to be worked towards, but rather a divine reality; which differentiates this work from most other works on community which focus on how to "make community happen."
On that same token, the reason I give this book 4 stars instead of 5 is that the second chapter called "The Day with Others" is much weaker than the other four chapters. In this chapter Bonhoeffer strays from laying theological foundations and giving general exhortations, to giving very specific instructions for how the community's daily life should look. He communicates these instructions with the same "this is the only truth" tone that runs through the rest of the book--but in this chapter it seems annoying and pretentious, rather than deeply challenging.
All in all, he does much better when laying out general theological principles and describing the foundations of Christian community; which is thankfully what 4/5 of the chapters consist of. This book is obviously written from a deeply convicted place in Bonhoeffer's own heart, and for that reason it has tremendous power to convict and move the hearts and minds of the readers. I recommend it highly.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Hutchison on July 28, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bonhoeffer stands in stark contrast to the Christian writers of today. In Life Together, he brings the power of a first class mind to the problem of how we may strengthen the power and meaning of Christian belief.
His emphasis on community, on meaningful Christian interaction boldly stands out against the backdrop of modern Conservative and Evangelical thought. While we strive for a Christian experience that validates our emotions and tends to our individual needs, Bonhoeffer sets aside the individual to strike at the raw nerve of what we value and why. What are we willing to surrender to join in community with other Christians?
A modern reading will suffer from Bonhoeffer's tone which is more authoritative and dogmatic than our sensibilites are attuned to. Once past this, the challenge he presents is clear and worth the effort.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Donald S. Meador on July 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Life Together was written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer while he was in a Nazi Gestapo prison during WWII. The book's Introduction is a 6 page mini-bio of Bonhoeffer, which will inform the reader as to why he was in a Nazi Gestapo prison. He was executed by the Nazi's just weeks before the end of the war.
Life Together was written while Bonhoeffer was being held by the Nazi's. It is his short treatise on Faith in Community - what it means to be the Body of Christ. During his time in prison, Bonhoeffer undoubtedly had interaction with Christians of many denominations. This probably led to contemplation of what it meant for all of them to worship together, even in a prison camp.
The book is just five chapters:
1. Community
2. The Day with Others
3. The Day Alone
4. Ministry
5. Confession and Communion
Amazingly enough, Bonhoeffer thinks seriously and deeply about what it should be like for Christians to experience Life Together as the Church. Few current authors are packing so much in so little a book.
In the first chapter he looks at relating to one another as Jesus would have us relate to one another. He distinguishes between the worldly and the biblical concepts of living in community. His observations are astounding and would do many churches a great deal of good today.
In chapters 2 and 3, he looks at one's relationship with God as it should be lived both corporately and individually. He even gives us a glimpse of what family worship was expected to look like at that time. Again, his observations would do Christians much good today.
The chapter on ministry is outstanding, but one really cannot do it justice in just a few sentences. The final chapter on confession and communion was a mixed bag for me.
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