more than thin air and thoughts

Eric Metaxas, in Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, on Bonhoeffer’s instruction to his students while a lecturer in theology  in 1932-33:

“Bonhoeffer was not interested in intellectual abstraction. Theology must lead to the practical aspects of how to live as a Christian. Karding was surprised when Bonhoeffer asked his students whether they sang Christmas carols. Their answer was noncommittal, so he said, ‘If you want to be pastors, then you must sing Christmas carols!’ For him, music was not an optional part of Christian ministry, but de rigeur. He decided to tackle this deficiency head-on. ‘On the first day of Advent,’ he said to her, ‘we will meet each other at noon…and we will sing Christmas carols.’ She remembered that he ‘played the flute wonderfully’ and sang ‘magnificently.'”

Just one of the ways that Bonhoeffer’s faith had a wonderful practicality, an earthiness. He would later write to his fiancee that,

human beings were taken from the earth and don’t just consist of thin air and thoughts.”


Filling the world, He lies in a manger




by Augustine of Hippo


Maker of the sun,

He is made under the sun.

In the Father he remains,

From his mother he goes forth.

Creator of heaven and earth,

he was born on earth under heaven.

Unspeakably wise,

He is wisely speechless.

Filling the world,

He lies in a manger.

Ruler of the stars,

He nurses at his mother’s bosom.

He is both great in the nature of God,

and small in the form of a servant.

Is God really like Jesus?

Wesley Hill, here

The theologian T. F. Torrance tells about an incident that happened in 1944 after an assault on San Martino-Sogliano. Torrance was serving as a stretcher bearer in the conflict, and he encountered a dying soldier, 20 years old, named Private Philips. The soldier was near the end, laid out on the ground, and eager for some spiritual comfort as he passed away. Torrance leaned down, and Philips said, “Padre, is God really like Jesus?” And Torrance said without hesitation, “Yes, God is like Jesus.” Or as Michael Ramsey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury said, “God is Christlike, and in Him is no unChristlikness at all.” That’s what the doctrine of the Trinity means. If you see Jesus in the Gospels healing the sick, proclaiming the kingdom, dying on the cross, and you think, “I want a God who’s like that,” then the doctrine of the Trinity says to you, “Well, you can have one, because that Jesus is God.”