Well there are a lot of things that could be debated from chapter two - a long chapter that covered a lot of ground. I'll mention what stood out to me.
This chapter made me look with fresh eyes at the ins and outs of 'doing church', and to think deeper about things I don't give thought to. Some of this at first seemed kind of legalistic, but almost always Bonhoeffer got me to see his point. He said that when reading the bible in the congregation, the reading is to not be too dramatic and 'in character', because for example, when we read a passage about God's anger in an angry tone for dramatic effect, then we are playing the character of God. We are being the admonisher rather than seeing that we are being admonished.
He sums this up in quite a blanket statement: 'It may be taken as a rule for the right reading of the Scriptures that the reader should never identify himself with the person who is speaking in the Bible'(p56). This undermines a lot of what I base my general bible reading on though, particularly my reading of the Psalms. Where do you go from here?
..Great humility and much discipline- these are the prerequisites of all singing together. Where the heart is not singing there is no melody, there is only the dreadful medley of human self-praise.' (p58)
Bonhoeffer's' thoughts on congregational music made me worry about a few things. Firstly about me playing in the band, and the motives and outcomes of that. Sometimes I wonder if we get too concerned about being slick, and as band members, not showing a lot of patience with each other. I think because of the time restraints involved it is easy for it to become a big stress, rather than genuinely a way of praising God. I know for myself I am usually a lot more focused on learning four songs in 20 minutes than in how I am glorifying God.
My other concern was with Bonhoeffer criticising harmony singing. I was prepared for this passage, as we had had a bit of a discussion about it a couple of weeks ago on Simone's blog, but still I don't feel very at peace about it. I love to sing harmony, and in most songs I will go off in a harmony. So I can't do that at the top of my voice because then I am distracting the congregation. So am I to only sing to God quietly, making sure no one hears I'm doing a harmony? Should I discipline myself to instead sing the melody with everybody else for the sake of unity, even though my natural, (I believe) God-given instinct is to harmonise? I dunno.
The Days' Work
I did not feel worried about Bonhoeffer's thoughts on work. I actually really appreciated it, and feel invigorated on this Monday morning to work hard at my job, as a result.
'Prayer is entitled to its time. But the bulk of the day belongs to work. And only where each receives its own specific due will it become clear that both belong inseparably together. Without the burden and labor of the day, prayer is not prayer, and without prayer, work is not work' (p70)
I like that the two give each other meaning, and that they both work together to keep us in step with God. It is also hugely important for me to be reminded that 'the bulk of the day belongs to work', because I am so prone to resent it, and to see it only as something that keeps me from doing what I want to do, something to drudge through in order to get to the end.
For Next week-- Read Chapter Three