On the first page of Life Together, Bonhoeffer writes, “We are not dealing with the concerns of some private circles but with a mission entrusted to the church.” This book was influenced by Bonhoeffer’s experience as part of Finkenwalde Seminary, an underground seminary developed in defiance to the Nazi nationalism. The book describes the church as a community of love centered on Christ. Yes, the book’s message is grounded in Bonhoeffer’s personal response to the German church and Nazism. However, his reflections on true community, on the frustrations and epiphanies of Christian community, are applicable to a multitude of situations. For some clergy new to a congregation, this is the first book they might want to have their board (or the entire congregation) study together. The second section of this edition is the book Prayerbook of the Bible, less known than Life Together, but still an accessible commentary on the Psalms as conduits of prayer in community. These books need no study guides. Read, pray, discuss, learn. You will be learning from an authentic disciple.
Reviewed by Tim Shapiro