In a letter to his brother-in-law he wrote, “First of all I will confess quite simply—I believe that the Bible alone is the answer to all our questions, and that we need only to ask repeatedly and a little humbly, in order to receive the answer. One can-
not simply read the Bible, like other books. One must be prepared really to enquire of it.” You would think a person with such conviction would never neglect his Bible. But Bonhoeffer was very human, he struggled the way we do. On a train ride from Sweden to Munich he writes a friend:
“My recent activity, which has been predominately in the worldly sphere, it gives me plenty to think about. I am amazed that I live, and can live for days without the Bible; I should feel it be auto suggestion, not obedience, if I were to force myself to read it. I understand that such auto-suggestion might be, and is, a great help, but I would be afraid in this way of falsifying a genuine experience and ultimately not getting genuine help. When I open the Bible again, it is new and wonderful as never before, and I should just like to preach. I know that I only need to open my own books to hear what can be said against all this. And I do not want to justify myself, for I realize that spiritually I have had much richer times.”
It is normal to justify our behavior and rationalize concerning how our conduct affects us. Bonhoef fer had to take his own advice and became a devotee of scripture in a very powerful way during his two years in prison. The lesson here is do not wait until you are in trouble to read your Bible, because it is more than knowledge, it is food for the soul.
I asked Bill for help writing my part of the Newsletter. I was tired and uninspired. Time for a B12 shot. He said he would show me how he does it. He asked what was the most interesting thing I did since the last letter. I said I went to an art museum. Pretending he was me, he drew a diagram as he said: “I went to an art museum and saw this, this, and this! The squiggle represents: “Write about it!” So THIS is how his mind works.
After I stopped laughing I started writing.
Perhaps the wonderful creativity and fun of the clothing exhibit energized us, and the art in the museum inspired us because we went out and became art. We photographed each other, played whimsical parts and became exuberant with strangers, helping them get the right pose under Levitated Mass so they could look like they were holding it up. I wish it really levitated.
2. Hollywood Costume Exhibit
My favorite item, even better than Dolly’s sparkly gown worn in her entrance down the stairs at Harmonium Garden in Hello, Dolly! was the dress Guinevere wore to her wedding with Arthur in Camelot. The overdress is composed of a gown crocheted from fine wool to resemble airy spider webs that had tiny shells sewed into the center of each one. The train was a silver cobweb hung with hundreds of bleached pumpkin seeds! At first I thought they were pearls.
3. We Ought To Be In Pictures
I hope you have a day away every few months: it is the day of rest we seldom take time to give ourselves. It doesn’t really matter where it takes place. Sometimes it is in the back yard, or walking in the neighborhood. I’ve said this before, Bill calls them margins, white space around the complicated business of our lives. The thing I am running out of!