Security vs. Peace & the Bonhoeffer Way
“There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security…. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I’ve had the lush pleasure of spending my first summer break hours reading Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. Though I knew vaguely of Bonhoeffer’s life and struggles against the Third Reich, and have read his celebrated Cost of Discipleship, I understood precious little of his blood drawn for the sake of living the convictions that he so passionately penned. What began more as a curiosity to see what all the fuss over this book is about, has quickly taken a sharp right onto a path of both mental and spiritual challenges.
Metaxas is masterful in writing Bonhoeffer back alive to readers. True, it may be impossible to write of the man and end up with a simply engaging read. Everything about him, his attitudes, actions and writings demands an inward study; an unescapable analyzing of personal beliefs, assumptions and convictions. Early in his career, Bonhoeffer struggles to answer the question, “What is church?” Metaxas wisely frames this single question and subsequent answer as the driving force behind all Bonhoeffer did – whether in teaching theology students or embedding himself in the plot to end Hitler’s life.
I confess having always been confused as to how the German people allowed such a lunatic as Hitler into power. And, maybe not even this question as much, but more importantly, once they saw his true flashing dark side, why did they continue to give him girth? Reading Bonhoeffer has clarified much of my ignorant curiosities. And more importantly, caused me some measure of fright as I ponder Bonhoeffer’s often prophetic words sprinkled amongst Metaxas’ text.
One of my favorite Bonhoeffer passages, I have written at the top of this post. “There is no way to peace along the way of safety,” said the 28-year old Bonhoeffer at a theological conference in 1934. He was challenging his fellow theologians to truly behave as the church of God – be the face of the Gospel. A demand that would undoubtedly lead them to discomfort, personal sacrifice and lack of security. But, only through such bold decisive living, would lives be saved and true peace achieved.
I can place this quote squarely in the middle of any number of our family’s decisions and have it shine true. Adoption – especially the aftermath – lacked every measure of comforting security I never imagined missing. Yet, amidst the turmoil was a deeper peace, knowing my own ways weren’t at work, but His alone.
In 2013, we will begin life as civilians and decide where to move our family – not the Army. The options are limitless, yet in our constant discussions we begin threading in personal requirements for a place – little guarantees of comfort, prosperity, opportunities. Bonhoeffer’s words now ring in my ears: “To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself.”
With every decision, I know whether I lean one direction out of self-preservation versus Christ-in-me conviction. I easily justify decisions based on security – I’ve had years of practice. But more and more the heart pulls me towards truth. And, as Bonhoeffer knew so intimately, truth always begets deeper peace, while security’s only offering is a hollow salute given in fear.
What decisions do you face today? From what source are you deciding? Personal security and outward guarantees? Or deep conviction from faith in God’s promises Truths laid bare in His Word?
Photo cc by Bob AuBuchon on Flickr.
- George BullardFeatured TCP Book for August 1st: Cultivating Perennial Churches: Your Guide to Long-Term Growth http://astore.amazon.com/tcpresourcesstore-20/detail/0827205120
- George BullardFree TCP eBook August 1st Only! Spiritual and Strategic Insights for Transforming Congregations Volume One http://astore.amazon.com/tcpresourcesstore-20/detail/B00JJ17WZC
- Preston Yancey published the blogpost when i am a popular blogger, or not [today at the high calling].
- Preston Yancey published the blogpost when we're moving back to waco [or, our lives are circles].
- Preston Yancey published the blogpost when i measure the distance of God [today at deeper story].
- Preston Yancey published the blogpost when there is no way but through, or, when there is room at this table.
- Preston Yancey published the blogpost when this is the dinner party revolution: a guest post from ed cyzewski.
- Preston Yancey published the blogpost when jesus asks, "and what about you?" [thoughts on the break, a look at our new home].
- Preston Yancey published the blogpost when we make vows long before they are ever spoken.
- Shane Blackshear published the blogpost Have You Accepted President Obama As Your Personal Lord & Savior?.
- Melrose York just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Lori Fogleman published the blogpost Baylor alums take ‘Fixer Upper’ skills to HGTV, ‘Today’ show.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Pieces Together a Winning Team.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost 3 Common Traits of Youth Who Don’t Leave the Church.
- Mikel Del Rosario published the blogpost Apologetics Event Tip #1 – Build a Leadership Team.
- LuAnn Braley published the blogpost BOOK REVIEW: Murder at Cold Creek College by Christa Nardi.
- Austin McCann published the blogpost Freebie: Resource to Disciple Students Who Come to Faith.
- George BullardAugust 1st Transform Congregations By Walking the Second Mile #365SSIFTC http://bullardjournal.blogs.com/bullardjournal_microblog/2014/08/august-1st-transform-congregations-by-walking-the-second-mile-365ssiftc.html
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost Codependency, Chronic Pain, & Prescription Drug Abuse.
- Diane Paddison published the blogpost Pinterest, Productivity and Playdates In This Week’s Friday Faves.
- Adam Smith published the blogpost The Key to Becoming a Better Writer: Read More – Reade Milner.
- daniel oghali created a new gallery
- daniel oghali just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Judy Douglass published the blogpost A Lifetime Impact: A Lesson in Integrity by Kim O’Brien.
- George Krickl published the blogpost Teleios: Four Things to Understand About Being Perfect.
- Brian Dodd published the blogpost 21 Leadership Quotes And Lessons From Guardians Of The Galaxy.
- Manuel Corzo just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Jeremy Morgan just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Michael Ernest published the blogpost ‘Danny Gokey Getaway Contest’ – all you need to know about it.
- Kelley Mathews published the article For Couples Getting Married: Don’t Save Yourself for your Wedding Night!.
- Kelley Mathews published the article 'Kidnapped for Christ' Review: The Terror of Teens.
- Kelley Mathews published the article 'Tables in the Wilderness' | Preston Yancey [Excerpt].
- Robin Norgren published the blogpost Spark and Inspire: You have the Idea You just Need a Little Help.