I’m reading “Life Together” for the very first time. I’ve actually never read any Bonhoeffer before. I’m just going to list interesting quotes and comment on them as I read this slowly.
One of the ideas which Bonhoeffer develops early on here is that Christian to not relate to each other directly, but only through Christ. Any relationship we have which is direct and not mediated through Christ will be a purely “psychic,” which he defines as human, phenomenon. As such it will be based upon a social ideal which is ultimately self serving and flawed.
“I have community with other and I shall continue to have it only through Jesus Christ. The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and his work become the one and only thing that is vital between us.” P.25-26
“That dismisses once and for all every clamorous desire for something more. One who wants more than what Christ has established does not want Christian brotherhood. He is looking for some extraordinary social experience which he has not found elsewhere; he is bringing muddled and impure desires into Christian brotherhood. Just at this point Christian brotherhood is threatened most often at the very start by the greatest danger of all, the danger of being poisoned at its root, the danger of confusing Christian brotherhood with some wishful idea of religious fellowship, of confounding the desire of the devout heart for community with the spiritual reality of Christian brotherhood. In Christian brotherhood everything depends upon its being clear right from the beginning, first, that Christian brotherhood is not an ideal, but a divine reality. Second, that Christian brotherhood is a spiritual and not a psychic reality” (italics his) p. 26
“Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate. The more clearly we learn to recognize that the ground and strength and promise of all our fellowship is in Jesus Christ alone, the more serenely shall we think of our fellowship and pray and hope for it.” p.30