Life Together

The following excerpt from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, Life Together (pages 91-92) highlights the reality that though we’re individuals, in the Church we’re never isolated from other members of Christ’s body.

Americans, perhaps more than other people groups, tend to emphasize a person’s individuality while dismissing, or at least downplaying, the reality that in one way or another we all live in relationship to others, be it in a family, our community, or that we just happen to live on the same rock that’s cruising around the sun as the guy next door. Even in solitude Christians are not alone. This concept rejects the line of reasoning that makes room for “victimless crimes” or any argument that espouses personal choice, for no crime is truly ever victimless and no choice, no matter how personal, is made within a vacuum. Within the Church such a rationale doesn’t exist. As a member of Christ’s body everything I do, indeed even what I think, has an impact on other people – other members of the Body. What a provocative thought for a society steeped in individualism.

“Every day brings the Christian many hours of being alone in an unchristian environment. These are times of testing. This is the proving ground of a genuine time of meditation and genuine Christian community. Has the community served to make individuals free, strong, and mature, or has it made them insecure and dependent? Has it taken them by the hand for a while so that they would learn again to walk by themselves, or has it made them anxious and unsure?… Has it transported them for a few short moments into a spiritual ecstasy that vanishes when everyday life returns, or has it planted the Word of God so soberly and so deeply in their heart that it holds and strengthens them all day long, leading them to active love, to obedience, to good works?… Is the invisible presence of the Christian community a reality and a help to the individual? Do the intercessory prayers of the others carry me through the day? Is the Word of God close to me as a comfort and a strength? Or do I misuse my solitude against the community, against the Word and prayer? Individuals must be aware that even their hours of being alone reverberate through the community. In their solitude they can shatter and tarnish the community or they can strengthen and sanctify it. Every act of self-discipline by a Christian is also a service to the community. Conversely, there is no sin in thought, word, or deed, no matter how personal or secret, that does not harm the whole community. When the cause of an illness gets into one’s body, whether or not anyone knows where it comes from, or in what member it has lodged, the body is made ill. This is the appropriate metaphor for the Christian community. Every member serves the whole body, contributing either to its health or to its ruin, for we are members of one body not only when we want to be, but in our whole existence. This is not a theory, but a spiritual reality that is often experienced in the Christian community with shocking clarity, sometimes destructively and sometimes beneficially.

“Those who return to the community of Christians who live together, after a successful day, bring with them the blessing of their solitude, but they themselves receive anew the blessing of the community. Blessed are those who are alone in the strength of the community. Blessed are those who preserve community in the strength of solitude. But the strength of solitude and the strength of community is the strength of the Word of God alone, which is meant for the individual in the community.”

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Little Johnny Made A Poopy | Sermon

Little Johnny Made A Poopy

I preached this sermon at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Chester, CA. and First Lutheran Church in Greenville, CA. on January 25, 2015 (The Third Sunday after Epiphany – Three Year Series, B).

Sermon text: Mark 1:14-20

Format AudioPosted on Categories Sermon, WritingTags baptism, , Fishers of Men, Following Jesus, Jesus Christ, Mark, Mark 1:14-20, religious, Leave a comment

Bridges and Rails

CA-70 is full of breathtaking beauty: a river flowing through the mountains, tunnels, bridges, rails, dams. It’s well worth traveling.

© 2015 Tyrel Bramwell

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Reflection of Mt. Lassen

An iPhone shot of Mt. Lassen at golden hour while standing in the shade of the Lake Almanor causeway. The low light seriously limited the clarity of the image, as to be expected.

© 2015 Tyrel Bramwell

Format ImagePosted on Categories iPhoneography, PhotographyTags california, lake almanor, landscape, Mt. Lassen, norcalLeave a comment

The Other Inkling Lion

A new cup of tea to go with a new read. This little volume has been sitting on my shelf for years. When reading a book written by an inkling about a lion a guy has to be careful not to compare it to another inkling’s work about a lion. That shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Photograph © 2015 Tyrel Bramwell

Format ImagePosted on Categories iPhoneography, Literature, PhotographyTags book, Charles Williams, Fiction, Inkling, Tea, The Place of the LionLeave a comment

The Findable God | Sermon

The Findable God

I preached this sermon at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Chester, CA. and First Lutheran Church in Greenville, CA. on January 18, 2015 (The Baptism of Our Lord – Three Year Series, B).

Sermon text: John 1:43-51

Wanderlust In My Blood

“I became a tramp – well, because of the life that was in me, of the wanderlust in my blood that would not let me rest… I went on ‘The Road’ because I couldn’t keep away from it; because I hadn’t the price of the railroad fare in my jeans; because I was so made that I couldn’t work all my life on ‘one same shift'; because – well, just because it was easier to than not to…

The Road had gripped me and would not let me go; and later, when I had voyaged to sea and done one thing and another, I returned to The Road to make longer flights, to be a ‘comet’ and a profesh, and to plump into the bath of sociology that wet me to the skin.”

— Jack London, The Road

Photograph © 2015 Tyrel Bramwell


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The City by the Bay

A view of San Francisco from Alcatraz.

© 2015 Tyrel Bramwell

Format ImagePosted on Categories iPhoneography, PhotographyTags alcatraz, california, city by the bay, panorama, San FranciscoLeave a comment

Kramer Chapel Instruction Manual

I’ve uploaded a PDF of my Kramer Chapel instruction manual (click the link below) so that all ya’ll LEGO/Concordia Theological Seminary/architecture enthusiasts can build your very own custom churchly office decor. One thing though, you’re on your own when it comes to acquiring the LEGO bricks necessary for this build. When I was selling these kits I purchased bricks from both’s Pick a Brick store and Ebay is also a useful resource. I recommend buying only new bricks, you know, ’cause no one wants a dirty and dingy desktop Kramer Chapel made from used pieces. But, of course, it’s your call. Hey, you might even already have all the pieces necessary. So download the manual and get busy constructing your very own Eero Saarinen masterpiece.


I hope you have as much fun building your Kramer Chapel as I had designing it. :)

Kramer Chapel Instruction Manual

Posted on Categories ArtTags Architecture, Art, , concordia theological seminary, cts, eero saarinen, kramer chapel, LEGOLeave a comment

Where to Find Sermons

There are several places on this website to listen to the sermons I’ve preached. You can find every sermon I’ve recorded (which is every sermon with the exception of one or two that were lost to oblivion due to technical problems) in the sermon archive. From the home page, go to the word “writing”in the upper right corner, click the triangle next to it. It’ll reveal the word “sermons.” Click it. Bammy wham! Sermon s galore.

Another way to listen to a sermon is by going to the blog post of a particular sermon. For instance, this week the new sermon is Why Was Jesus Baptized? From the home page you can scroll down to the “Babblings” section. You’ll find the sermon’s post on the top of the list, well, right below this one. The best time to use this method is when the sermon is new. Otherwise it’ll be easier to find a specific sermon by going to the archive. 

The last place where you can find a sermon on this site is to scroll down on the homepage to the “Widgets” section. You’ll see a media player on the left side under the heading, “Latest Sermon.” Obviously, this is the latest sermon. :)

There you go. Happy listening and may the Lord bless you.

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