Thursday, November 15, 2018

Review: Mornings with Bonhoeffer - 100 Reflections on the Christian Life by Donald K. McKim

I received a copy of Mornings with Bonhoeffer: 100 Reflections on the Christian Life by Donald K. McKim to review. I've previously used Ron Klug's 40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a devotional and really enjoyed it, so I was definitely intrigued by this resource. 

McKim's book is divided into two sections: Believing as a Christian and Living as a Christian, and further divided into categories like "Christian Beliefs" "Church," and "Living in the World." 

I haven't read the whole thing yet, but I read at least a few entries in every section to get a good feel. 

As opposed to 40-Day Journey, which included a significant  the excerpts from Bonhoeffer's writing (collected from his complete works) are very short. Sometimes only one or two sentences of his writing is included, so you often can't really get a full picture of what he's saying. The "meat" of the content here is from McKim, not Bonhoeffer. After the Bonhoeffer excerpt, McKim includes a brief reflection on or explanation of Bonhoeffer's words. I found it frustrating that the entire excerpt from Bonhoeffer's writing is included again within McKim's brief reflection. This redundancy seems to leave very little room for McKim to expand on what's just been stated. His reflections are insightful, but they are so short when reiterating Bonhoeffer's just-printed words that most of the entries left me wanting more.  

The structure, rhythm, and depth reminded me of The Upper Room daily devotionals, and indeed, I think readers of that style of devotion might be a perfect audience for this work. I envision this is an excellent introduction to newcomers to Bonhoeffer's writings. This is a very accessible book of reflections, and most of my parishioners would find Bonhoeffer's depth more manageable in this format. In fact, I shared with my church secretary one devotion on being interrupted by God, which she immediately turned into a poster for her office and used as the centering time at a church meeting later that month. 

I enjoyed McKim's work, and I feel like getting this resource into the right hands - new-to-Bonhoeffer readers who want to add something accessible to their daily devotional life - is a worthwhile effort. 

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