Musings, Nits, and Praises: February 2008

Musings, Nits, and Praises

A farrago of all things deemed blog-worthy by a music-loving, poetry-writing, humor-seeking English teacher

A Bit of Bonhoeffer to Ponder

Last week I came across a quote from Bonhoeffer which, like much of his writing, kicked me in the spiritual pants. He wrote it on the day he was moved to Buchenwald concentration camp:

"It is not that God's help and presence must still be proved in our life; rather God's presence and help have been demonstrated for us in the life of Jesus Christ. It is in fact more important for us to know what God did to Israel, in God's son Jesus Christ, than to discover what God intends for us today. The fact that Jesus Christ died is more important than the fact that I will die. And the fact that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead is the sole ground of my hope that I, too, will be raised on the day of judgment. Our salvation is 'from outside ourselves.' I find salvation not in my life story, but only in the story of Jesus Christ. Only those who allow themselves to be found in Jesus Christ--in the incarnation, cross, and resurrection--are with God and God with them."

The skeptic in me thinks, "Ah, Diedrich, you're just letting God off the hook for the times he seems so absent." But when I consider Bonhoeffer's plight--a suffering which I'll likely never know--I think he understood so much more deeply than I the significance of Christ.

Nearest Book Tag Meme

Steve tagged me in my Radiohead post. Here's how it works:

--Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
--Find Page 123.
--Find the first 5 sentences.
--Post the next 3 sentences.
--Tag 5 people.

Unlike Steve, I didn't break out the tape measure--I didn't have one handy. But as far as I could tell, the closest book to where I was sitting when I read his tag was Arnold Rampersad's Ralph Ellison: A Biography.

In other words, Ralph should have been aspiring not to New Masses but to Partisan Review. Originally the organ of the John Reed Club of New York, a communist outlet, Partisan Review had resumed publication in 1937 (after a one-year lapse) as a journal explicitly opposed to Communist totalitarianism and suppression. Although still devoted to radicalism, the editors (Philip Rahv and William Phillips) wrote now about the "forms of literary editorship, at once exacting and adventurous, which characterized the magazines of aesthetic revolt."

If you're a fan of Ellison--or even if you're not--I can assure you the bulk of the book is more intriguing than this excerpt. I wrote a review of the book a while back here.

Now, I'm off to tag Janet, Chris, Kester, Catherine, and Mona.

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