Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I finished a giant book last night.  Thanks to the fact that we have been house bound with weather and I have been getting so much done around the house, I sat and read for a long time.

The book is Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas.   And I read all 542 pages!  

The end was the best and the worst.  If you know anything about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, you know that he was executed by the Nazis.  What you might not know is why. 

 He was not killed for his Christian beliefs, though the Nazis certainly despised Christians.  He was killed because he was one of  thousands who were conspirators in the attempts on Hitler's life.  He worked as part of a German spy organization (much like the CIA)  that was unmonitored, so to speak, by the Gestapo (much as the FBI and the CIA are sort of "opposing" organizations).  But he worked in THAT organization in order to make connections for his work in the attempt to overthrow Hitler and save Germany from his evil plans.  There were thousands of Germans, many of whom were in high military positions, who were part of this plan.

We know about "Valkyrie" because of the movie. That was just one of many attempts to take out Hitler.  Well, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a contemporary of all those who took part in that operation and knew the players well.  Ultimately, all of the people who were "conspirators" in any movement against Hitler were executed to assuage Hitler's giant ego.  Bonhoeffer was included in this group and sadly was killed just 3 weeks before Hitler committed suicide and the end of the war.

Bonhoeffer was so much more than just a player in a fascinating historical moment.  He had a profound affect on the true believers in Germany at a time when the state church lost its soul to the Nazi regime.  We would be wise to observe their history and not allow our freedoms to be similarly eroded from us.

It was fascinating to read about this man's incredible intellect, musical ability, pastoral heart, and his infinite bravery.  He came from a truly amazingly brilliant family who did much to oppose Nazism. They paid a very dear price for it, not only with his life, but with the lives of many family members.

I am anxious to read more of his writings after gleaning so much from his quotes in this book. The Cost of Discipleship has always interested me but I think it will mean so much more to me now that I know the deep history of the author.


  1. OH wow, what an interesting book. I love history, especially WWII literature. :)

  2. Wow! This sounds so good! And it's also funny that you wrote about that book because I just read another review on Mary DeMuth's blog today. How weird!

  3. Interesting, Shell. I'd like to read her take on it since she is a famous author!