My english teacher says that in order to be a successful writer, one should read and write something everyday. And i would like to be a successful writer. I might even want to be so successful of a writer that one day people will pay me to write things for them. And i have just read something, so here i am now, writing something. I am in fact, writing something about something I have read that I will have to write something about in the future. (confusing? don't fret. you'll get in a second)
What i have just read is the introduction to the book "The Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I say that not to appear ambitious or uber-intelligent, but instead so that you can know and sympathize with the frazzled state that my brain is in. Just for the record, I am not reading this book for pleasure or by choice. I am reading this book in lieu of having to wake up at 9:30AM every day and going to university bible when i don't have to be up for at least 3 more hours for my 1:20 art appreciation class. Call it laziness, call it what you want, but i see no merit in getting out of bed 3 hours early for something its likely i'll sleep through anyway. So my purpose in writing about what I'm reading right now is not really for your pleasure either, if anyone even reads this anymore, but instead so that when i have to write my 5-7 page paper on this book, i can go back and read this posts and hopefully be inspired to write an incredible paper.
I knew that this would be a hard read. Typically, i choose not to read books by authors whose names i can't pronounce. And i do judge a book by its cover. Hate me if you want, call me shallow, but i can't help it. So far, thats two strikes against this book. The third would be the discussions i had with people who had read it. Or tried to, anyway. One said "yikes! If i were you, i'd just go to ub." And another: "Wow. I tried to read that once and quit after about 20 pages." Discouraging, to say the least. but yet, somehow, my bible professor, Earl Lavender, a man of great knowledge, and an author himself, thinks that i can handle it. And the fact that he said he'd help me if i can't was enough to convince me to try.
So today i read the introduction. And i must say, i liked it. I feel what this guy is saying. He talks about the church, and how in our pursuit of serving God we somehow miss the point and instead only end up making more burdensome rules and regulations that we will try in vain to follow. He sees irony in this because the Jesus that we are supposedly following issues a very different calling-"Come to me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28). Bonhoeffer sees, as do many of us, a problem in this dilemma that we have made for ourself, about which, he says "When the bible speaks of following Jesus, it is proclaiming a discipleship which will liberate mankind from all man-made dogmas, from every burden and oppression, from every anxiety and torture which afflicts the conscience. If they follow Jesus, men escape from the hard yoke of their own laws, and submit to the kindly yoke of Jesus Christ. But does this mean that we ignore the seriousness of his commands? Far from it. We can only achieve perfect liberty and enjoy fellowship with Jesus when his command, his call to absolute discipleship, is appreciated in its entirety."
Interesting point, Dietrich. He goes on to emphasize his point by saying, "The commandment of Jesus is not a sort of spiritual shock treatment. Jesus asks nothing of us without giving us the strength to perform it. His commandment never seeks to destroy life, but to foster, strengthen, and heal it."
So far so good. Who knows what the other 300 pages hold, but I'm up for it. I like a challenge. I have been praying that God would stretch me and give me opportunities to grow, even if its challenging or makes me uncomfortable, and i think its safe to say that this could be an answer to that prayer. so here goes nothing.