Life Together, 1938.
When DB spoke to a group of former students of the underground seminary at Finkenwalde, he drew on their life together as a Christ-centered community. In this work, DB describes the practices of their community and explains why all Christians should engage in such practices. He regarded the disciplines he covers in this book as vital for being formed into Christ’s image.
The book is especially useful for helping us to understand what DB meant in his last letters by the disciplina arcane, which is what enables us to go into a godless world as servants of its unacknowledged Lord.
As someone who has experienced organic church life for over twenty years, I recognize that DB touched this experience in the community at Finkenwalde and was describing parts of it. Although suited for academic students, the community they had nonetheless described some of the realities of body life and Christian community, a theme that DB wrote on beginning with his first book.
The first chapter entitled “Community” includes a discussion on “the wish dream.” Everyone comes to Christian community with a dream of what it should look like and how it should work. And God destroys it. This part of the book should be read and digested by every group that is setting out to live the vision of Christ-centered community.
The Prayerbook of the Bible: An Introduction to the Psalms, 1940.
This is a very short book. One of the spiritual disciplines practiced at Finkenwalde in which DB thought needed to be revived in the church was the Daily Office – the round of prayers at various times of the day which traces back to the earliest Christian centuries. The heart of that practice is praying the Psalms. Or turning the Psalms into prayer.
The difficulty is that many of the Psalms are attributed to David, and many others say things we would be reluctant to say (like the imprecatory Psalms where David asks God to destroy His enemies).
However, the answer lies in the typological interpretation of the Psalms. DB rightly understood David to be a forerunner of God’s true King. It is Christ, therefore, who prays in David. The Psalms that make the claim of being righteous are also to be understood as being prayed by Christ. In fact, it may be said that it is Jesus Christ who prays the Psalms in His people. When we pray them today it is Christ who prays them in us. As we pray the Psalms we are further shaped into His image.
This is a short but robust discussion on how the Bible is God’s written Word and what that means in the light of Christ, the living Word of God.