You are accepted.

The word of the day is “Hunkered”, as I have been hunkered down in a private study room in the library for most of the day.  I’m working on a paper for Christian Ethics. Actually, it’s a letter written to my church tradition (which happens to be a a mutt) as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, drawing exclusively from his Ethics. Ethics is a rather deep book–you might say it’s meaty, like a thick steak.  It’s loaded with promise, but I’ve felt like I’ve just been on the borders of understanding it for most of the semester.  My task is difficult not only because the format for this paper is unusual, but also because of the nature of this particular book and this particular theologian.

But: the coffee I made before 10a.m. this morning is still hot in the Thermos, I’ve got some soft classical music playing on BBC Radio 3, and I’m making some headway.  I think. At least, I’m beginning to fill the allotted space, which at this point in the semester, quite frankly, is all that I ask for.

And so I offer you this tasty morsel from Bohoeffer’s magnum opus:

In the [physical] body of Jesus Christ, God is united with humankind, all humanity is accepted by God, and the world is reconciled to God. In the body of Jesus Christ, God took on the sin of the world and bore it. There is no part of the world, no matter how lost, no matter how godless, hat has not been accepted by God in Jesus Christ and reconciled to God. Whoever perceives the body of Jesus Christ in faith can no longer speak of the world as if it were lost, as if it were separated from God; they can no longer separate themselves in clerical pride from the world. The world belongs to Christ.

…in the body of Christ [i.e. the church] all humanity is accepted, included, and borne, and that the church-community of believers is to make known to the world by word and life. This means not being separated from the world, but cfalling the world into the community of the body of Christ to which the world in truth already belongs…. The church-community is separated from the world only by this: it believes in the reality of being accepted by God–a reality that belongs to the whole world–and in affirming this as valid for itself it witnesses that it is valid for the entire world. (Ethics, p. 66-68)

You–whoever you are–are accepted by God.

3 thoughts on “You are accepted.

  1. becky

    Jerry is jealous of your Bonhoffer reading — he didn’t get to read any of him at Providence (at least not in an official class capacity).

    Hang in there, end of term is in sight!

  2. Marc

    It is indeed in sight!

    This ethics class has been unexpected and interesting. It is not what one might expect from an ethics class: we have not, for the most part, spent our time discussing the Christian response to this issue or that issue. Instead, we’ve been reading through *Ethics* (which actually argues against establishing a series of ethical principles to live by) and another volume of essays discussing what Christian worship (mostly the Eucharist) means for Christian ethics.

    As I say, unexpected. But it has been great.

    This professor has a wonderful perspective, one which I suspect is fairly unique at the seminary. Unfortunately, he’s moving to New Zealand in May!

    Before this class I didn’t realize that Bonhoeffer was such a significant theologian–the most important theologian of the 20th century, according to many, along with Barth. Previously I had assumed he was more of a pastoral/devotional writer (even though I hadn’t read anything by him).

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