I am currently reading Bonhoeffer:Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy by Eric Metaxes. I find the book riveting, but I often put it down and take a break because it is not easy to read. The theme and events of the book give details of the Nazi destruction and violence in Germany during the 30s and 40s. Mostly, reading the book gives me the feeling of watching a man pursue the way of Christ to his own death. It is difficult to see how he could have done anything but follow his conscience and be obedient to the call he felt on his life.
Another problem with reading this book is the pressure it puts on me to be obedient and faithful to Christ, too. This week I was asked to teach Sunday school in the church I attend with my daughter. I was a member there about 30 years ago, and I don't think I would be uneasy teaching the class, but I feel some level of commitment and loyalty in teaching that doesn't confront me when I accompany Carol.
One thing Bonhoeffer said has been worrying my mind. When he came to the United States in 1939, he said that Americans are very tolerant. He believed that we had valued tolerance over truth. I am confronted with this choice now: Can I just coast along taking what pleases me and not take a stand? The decision to choose a place to be counted is not easy. I loved my church family in the church where I am still a member, but I am not nourishing my faith there. I need to be consistent and be a member when I attend. It has become, for me, a question of tolerance or truth. I can't continue to be divided in my loyalty and service. On Sunday, I'll make that plain to my new congregation.