I’ve just returned from a short family vacation where I was able to spend time with parent, siblings, nephews and nieces. One of my nephews (who just turned 15 this year) has been increasingly interested in reading books concerned with theology. Needless to say, at Christmas time I purchased him a copy of Bonhoeffer‘s “Cost of Discipleship” (the mass market version and not the DBW-English critical edition). Well…it turns out that he has not only read it, but is already re-reading it. It warms this pastor-theologian’s (can I call myself that???) heart to see this. We had several discussions about theological matters: particularly historicity of Scripture and conservative-liberal theological perspectives.
We had some great discussions and I hope I was helpful for the journey. I described the work of Bonhoeffer as being rather conservative in his own context, but somewhat liberal in the context of contemporaneous U.S. (pre-?)Evangelicals (a term which is technically anachronistic for that time period in the sense it has since acquired).
To be honest, I have not often even found pastor’s with such a thirst for theology and learning. I was able to share a bit about my own passion for Bonhoeffer’s writings, but in particular what stands out to me was his spiritual disciplines in community as a pastor-theologian. He thought deeply, pastored carefully, wrote and preached passionately and prayed fervently. To me, these are marks of a great pastor-theologian and someone I personally hope my nephew will continue to read and emulate. It is never too early to begin following the lives of the saints of old.