Monday, March 18, 2013

Bonhoeffer: The Book Beginnings.

Hi!  Today we will start our book discussion.
I will be using the questions given at the back of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy as the prompts for us.  (Thank you editor for writing these questions.)  If you have a burning question or thought as we go along, please feel free to email me or leave it in the comments during the week and I will post it on Monday for everyone to see.  (If the question is answered in the comments before Monday, I may not post it.  Kapeech?  (Ha!  How on earth is that spelled?)

From the Prologue:

"In the Prologue, the author wrote that "Winston Churchill fused the Germans and the Nazis into a single hated enemy, the better to defeat it swiftly."  Who is our nation's "enemy"?  In our own society, are we, like Churchill, ever prone to fusing another group of individuals with this enemy, thus creating a 'single hated enemy"?  What do you think about this kind of grouping?"

Chapter 1

"In chapter1 we learned that during Dietrich's childhood, the Bonhoeffers rarely went to church.  Their faith was "mostly of a homegrown variety,"  Is God satisfied with a homegrown-variety faith, or are Christians meant to attend church, living out their faith together?    What Scriptures support your view? Can a person still be influential for good while practicing "home-grown" faith? How?"

Next week we will cover chapters 2, 3, 4.
It is not many pages but perhaps it material will be great.
We shall see how it goes.

Please leave your comments and thought, quotes and ideas in the comments!
I look forward to hearing from you all.

Even if you are not reading the book you may have opinions on the questions asked....join in anyway!


Lemon tart at La Bagette

Are we being photobombed?
This is up for debate.  :o)

We went to Le Baguette on Saturday afternoon.
Katie had a lemon tart and I had french onion soup.

Both were yummy.

On Saturday afternoons a group of people come and sit together at a long table, they eat and speak French to one another.

Just thought you might like to know.

Also.  You must bring cash to Le Baguette.
This always causes much trouble for Katie and me.
We never have enough cash.


Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!
Just one more volleyball tournament and then we are done with club volleyball for the season.

Thanks for coming around and saying 'hi'!

Encourage one another,


  1. I don't know if he is a photo-bomb or not, but to me, he makes the picture! I like it and it made me smile.

  2. Anonymous10:03 AM


    I will go to the library in search of the book. Until you wrote it, I had never heard of the name or of the book. If I find it, I will race to catch up with the Quiet Life folks!

    I don't think I ever posted my biopsy update, for which I am sorry.

    I have no atypical cells and the biopsy was more fibrous tissue for which I may become famous. Thank you for all the prayers!!!!

    Bridget in Minnesota

    1. Anonymous10:46 AM

      Bridget, what great news. Thanks be to God for answered prayers. jep

    2. very good and blessed news!

    3. Grateful for your good news, and once you get your hands on the book, you will not have a problem catching up. I cannot put the thing down!! I am gripped.

    4. Such good news! Hallelujah :-)

    5. Anonymous4:32 PM

      So happy for you, Bridget!

      Mary Z

    6. Julie4:55 PM

      Thank you for the update, Bridget. :)

    7. Oh, I am so glad, Bridget!


  3. Amy J in WI10:13 AM

    Looks like Mr. Photogenic Guy in the background. My book is still on hold at the library. Must be popular. Good luck with your final v-ball tournament. It has been good to be done....just the end of season party left.

    1. Anonymous10:47 AM

      My book is still on hold at the library, too. And, there are three people in the queue behind me. This must be great book. jep

    2. Anonymous11:18 AM

      Just received an email that the book is waiting for me at the library, so off to get it and take care of Dad and do errands. YAY! jep

  4. Yes you most definetly were being photo bombed! I wish you could blur him out!

  5. Anonymous10:57 AM

    No matter what the background, my eye is always caught by your Katie. Looks like a yummy time all around. I would want the onion soup and the lemon tart. ;-)

    I feel so grateful for corporate worship and miss being in church when I am sick, but "home grown" faith works best for some folks. I don't think God keeps score or tallies up how often you go to church. I know there are faiths that do believe you should be in church every Sunday. It will be interesting to see how others here view the subject. I pray every day that God will turn my heart to Him and what He wants me to do. Mostly I think what He wants me to do is LOVE Him and all His children.
    love and prayers, jep

    1. LOVE this jep - reminds me of the scripture about people looking on the outward (externals) but God looking on the heart.

      Like you I am blessed when I can be among believers worshipping Him but my husband doesn't attend (yet has strong faith) so I choose to remain at home with him. At other times it's as though I am being tugged towards church and I know I am to be there -- so I go, and I'm always glad I did.

  6. I am not sure how to answer that first question. I guess I will have to show my neo-ludite tendencies (with irony, as I am typing on a computer) and say that I think smart phones could well be our enemy...of our use of beautiful language, of our ability to string thoughts together, of our ability to be bored and do something with that boredom... Oh, don't get me started. I am sure I will own one someday, but it will probably die in my purse just like my dumb phone does. They are a great tool, but I am troubled by how all consuming they become to kids and adults.

    I know they are talking about politics and geography, but I can't really think about fusing groups to make a single enemy. Maybe it's too early in the morning for that.

    But the church question...that was VERY interesting to me. I had forgotten that (this is a re-read for me.) I was impressed by how brave Dietrich was to declare his goal of being a theologian in the midst of a family that wasn't supportive, could articulately and intelligently argue with him, and that didn't go to church.

    I have been wrestling with the church for the last few years. I have heard many a sermon on the need for the authority of the local church, and I cringe at what they mean by that. I have also heard many sermons on Heb. 10:25 about not forsaking meeting together, meaning that we need to be at church. I am not sure that was the original intent of that verse.

    But I love being at church. Corporately reciting the creeds and our confession of sin each week? Taking communion each week? Hearing God's word read each week, year by year? Those have been great reasons for us to be in church as often as is humanly possibly.

    And we need community. No. California is so transient (we only know a few people who have lived here their whole lives), and it is difficult to find consistent community. We make good friends through work and sports teams and debate and such, but to rub shoulders with a variety of ages, political persuasions, walks of life, to see them regularly and to know them in good times and in bad...that has happened for us at church. And I think that is super important.

    But it seems that the Bonhoeffers had a rich family culture, in both their immediate and their extended families, so that they were not lacking community. Which, for me, makes it all the more impressive that Dietrich took the stand he did in becoming a theologian. And currently having a very awesome 14 year old son, one who loves Christ and is a great student...I cannot imagine having a son that age who KNEW that he wanted to do that for his life. It must have been a call from on high (-:

    I find myself very weepy with this re-read of Bonhoeffer. The description of his mother and her amazing intellect, spirit and faith, and then seeing how broken she was with the death of her son in the war, it struck me (again!) of the power of grief to take us down.

    And to know that they had confirmed that Dietrich had died when they heard his funeral on the radio, broadcast from England? Oh my. How devastating.


    Non-book club comment: FRENCH ONION SOUP! Yum. May I declare my FOS pickiness, though? Wide, thin slice of baguette and an over-the-edge slice of swiss for mine, please (-:

    We have a little cafe in Sacramento that is a French bistro. The employees all greet you in French, remind you rather forcefully (in a lovely way) that having wine with lunch is Zee French Way, and provide a simple, fresh menu. We love it. I can totally see a long table of French speakers at Cafe Rolle. Stephie: this is where we had dinner when N.T. Wright was in town, and he was a the table next to us. So cool.

    Well, I have filled the comment section. Better stop. I hope someone else was able to get their hands on the book.

    Happy Monday all,

    1. Yes. His momma and her grief. This is what stands out to me too.
      The soup. I decided to enjoy it and not compare it to what it could have and should have been.
      I explained to Katie how it should have been.
      And the tart while tasting fine was runny. Second time getting it...second time runny.

      I can not say this is an excellent dining establishment...but it is fun and different.

    2. Cyndi K G6:47 AM

      In reference to smart phones, etc. ruining our language and ability to deal with boredom, read the book "The Feed". It may be a young adult book; it was recommended by one of my daughters who was taking a YA Lit class in grad school. It is a VERY easy read, but it is profound in its message of where constant internet connection could lead!

  7. Anonymous12:56 PM

    just called my library and it's in! our son works there, so will hopefully remember to bring it home for me tonight! I work at Wheaton College, so convos of Bonhoeffer are rampant. Can't wait to add my thoughts later tonight!

    GREAT idea, Donna.

  8. Anonymous1:07 PM

    I don't think I've ever had French onion soup! Can you believe that? I need to try it pronto. I think the photobombed picture of Katie is funny!

    Ok, I'm at work today and I've tried answering the questions. But, I'm to busy to answer them the way I want to. So, I will try to come back tonight!! Can't wait to hear what everyone has to say!

    Sarah P. from Iowa

  9. We are putting up a wall of bookshelves and all my books are in boxes in the garage. I want to participate with the Bonhoeffer discussion, but it will have to wait.

    Yet AGAIN, I learn something new at QL! Photobomb. New concept. The guy looks to me like he was in a conversation and something caught his eye. What do you think, Donna? He has a direct look at the camera.

    French Onion Soup: one of my faves. I would love to sit and listen to people speaking in French. I studied French four years at Glenbard East and have had no way to use it. One summer a friend who took her medical boards in French (Canada) came over for lunch once a week and we read through La Petit Prince.

    I'm sorry about the snow. As an old man in our church always says: Persevere.

  10. I am not reading the book yet, but probably will as I read the comments and want to know what is going on. I do believe one needs to be with other believers in a structured setting to have corporate worship. Yes, we can worship Christ anywhere, but it is necessary to be part of the church as a unit. I feel like I have missed something when I don't go to church. I love the singing, the pastor's sermons, seeing all my friends who are seeking the truth just as I am. My pastor preaches straight from the Bible and doesn't mince words or worry about offending when he is speaking. He says if you are offended, perhaps you ought to be. If you are offended by Christ and His teachings, He will be offended by you and I never want that to happen with my relationship with Him. Anyway, I am enjoying this book club and will be reading all the comments with interest.

  11. Anonymous4:39 PM

    I haven't started the book yet. (A weekend of back-to-back volleyball tournaments followed by a wedding = no time for reading). Greg's the musical director at his middle school, and tonight's the opening night for Joseph, so no reading time just yet, but I do hope to get to Bonhoeffer soon. I'm even more interested after reading today's comments!

    Katie's eyes. Oh my. The color is not only gorgeous, but they always look so luminous and full of expression. Just gorgeous.

    Mary Z

    1. Go Go Go Joe! :)

    2. Love that play!
      There is an Asher in it :o)

  12. Our Nations Enemy: Well, what comes to mind for me is 911 and the struggles with the terriorists. The countries and religion they represent have been under a microscope. I think it is difficult to separate the bad guys from the good guys. Personally meeting someone from other religions and cultures helps build bridges and improve understanding. During times of war this is especially difficult. It is a horrible feeling being judged for something someone else has done.

    As far as 'home grown faith'....
    I am sure it can be fantastic...or it can be twisted.
    Most likely it is in between.

    Home is a great garden for growing faith. For planting seeds.
    Perhaps to grow abundantly you must go out past the walls of your home to love and serve others.

    The Bonhoeffer children had varying ideas and opinions about God and faith.

    Ultimately it's the Holy Spirits job to make that faith come alive and active.

    I have not been a Christian living in a non christian country tho....nor have I lived in a home hostile to religion...but I kind of live in a culture like that now. (Madison)

    anyway...lots to think great opinions or conclusions from me.

    1. Ha! I took so long to write my comment(s!) that my first sentence is answered here! :)

  13. I do hope we get to hear your thoughts on the chapters as well!! Before speaking of the book, I wanted to say the picture of Katie is wonderful, and I think the guy in the background adds to it, rather than detract. It is a slice of life. For all we know, he is smiling at the two of you and the fun you are having. :)

    "In the Prologue, the author wrote that "Winston Churchill fused the Germans and the Nazis into a single hated enemy, the better to defeat it swiftly." Who is our nation's "enemy"? In our own society, are we, like Churchill, ever prone to fusing another group of individuals with this enemy, thus creating a 'single hated enemy"? What do you think about this kind of grouping?"

    What a difficult, terrible time to live in, those years prior to and during WWII, especially in Europe. (Of course, the US was dealing with its own difficulties...) I think that W Churchill did what he had to do. I can imagine at the time it was very hard to differentiate between "good" and "bad" Germans. And it likely felt impossible not to equate Germans with bad. These days, I believe it's very complicated. I would suppose we do have enemies, and yes, I pluralized it. However, with the globalization and interdependence that has occurred in the last however many decades, each nation treads lightly. I have grown quite cynical in the last few years, and find it hard to trust anyone at all who is in a high political position, in any country. If anything in the history of the entire world is well-documented and could be proved with evidence as far as documentation has existed, power can be a dangerous thing. Even the best leaders struggled (and struggle) with what it means to have a great deal of power (or even just a little). If the writer(s) of the question is(are) getting at a particular group, it would likely be Muslims. In light of events in the last decade +, it is easy to make an entire group a target. We know that there is wrong in the world. We want to see that it is accounted for, therefore someone must be blamed. Someone must be held responsible; justice needs to be served. (Please note: I myself am not saying this is how I feel: the Muslims must be blamed!) I think it's equally true that other groups get lumped-together-blamed for things: Southerners-racial issues; Christians-social issues; minorities/poverty-stricken areas-crime issues. I believe that the problems the world has stem from sin (so I have a definite world-view), and while we can make progress on this side of the new heavens and the new earth, until the day comes that God restores all things, there will be trouble. As Christians, especially, we need to be on guard against any kind of prejudice or judgment that belongs to God alone. We are called to love one another (and please hear me when I say I am the most belligerent lover of the unloveable that I know...I do not want to sound self-righteous. This might be my biggest weakness as a Christian, and one that often makes me question whether or not I even have the Holy Spirit living in my heart. Just fyi); Jesus says those around us will know we are Christians by our love for others. Grouping an entire group or nation as an enemy (and let's even say it were true) does not leave any room for grace and mercy. And looking at Germany at that time, there were many people who did not agree with what was going on, but likely did not have a single notion of what to do, how to stand for what was right, or which direction to go for help, much less the strength to stop such a leader. If this book is correct, Bonhoeffer was a man for such a time as that one. The stronger a foundation one has, the more able one is to withstand an assault. However, as I said before, Churchill was in a tricky spot. A time of war both makes things black and white and creates areas of gray. What an impossible situation!

  14. (Part 2) (haha!)

    Chapter 1

    "In chapter1 we learned that during Dietrich's childhood, the Bonhoeffers rarely went to church. Their faith was "mostly of a homegrown variety," Is God satisfied with a homegrown-variety faith, or are Christians meant to attend church, living out their faith together? What Scriptures support your view? Can a person still be influential for good while practicing "home-grown" faith? How?"

    It is clear from the book (as far as it is correct, biographically speaking) that Dietrich's mother had a tremendous influence, on her family as well as on those outside of her home. I must say, though, that the family life of the Bonhoeffers seems rare indeed! The dynamic between husband and wife seems one that is far from my own experience. It is also hard to compare raising children at that time to now. So many things are different! But their family, specifically, seems to have been unusually capable even for then of cultivating a highly intellectually stimulating environment without being snobby or too good for others. There was a beautiful blend and appreciation of intelligence, beauty (through art and music), discipline, humor, love for family, respect, and hospitality! It really makes me wonder at how God prepared Dietrich for the future, for his future. (I think I'm getting ahead of myself. I could not put the book down. I steamed through 17 chapters this week...sorry!) Getting back to the question: no one can question whether or not God used the faith of Dietrich's mother, the firm and solid foundation he received from her, for what Bonhoeffer would do in the future. And I believe that God also used the strengths of Dietrich's father to prepare Dietrich for what he would face, and to wrestle with the Scripture and the Church at the time. Having said this, I do believe that Christians are meant to go to church. Christians ARE the church, and one cannot be the church alone. From the beginning of time, God created people to be in fellowship, as he himself is in fellowship with the Son and the Spirit. We are meant to know God and be in a relationship with him; we are meant to know others and be in relationships with them. It's how we are wired. When God made Eve and gave her to Adam, Adam basically cried out,"Finally! This is the one I've been waiting for!!" For the Israelites, living in community was life. I think this translates to the New Testament community of believers as well. Even right after Jesus death, the disciples were huddled together. None of them wanted to be alone. In fact, they likely couldn't bear it! And once they were given the Spirit: 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
    The author of the letter to the Hebrews encourages believers not to give up meeting together, so that they can encourage one another (10:25)

    1. I really appreciate your thoughts on community - and the highlighting if Acts 2:42-47 (a favorite passage if scripture). Lots of food fir thought.

  15. (And Part 3) (I'm very sorry!) (But I'm publishing anyway!)

    Paul speaks regularly regarding the meeting of Christians. He laid out guidelines for leaders. He encouraged the leaders of the churches as much as he could. The letters we have from him stand as a testimony to the fact that there were churches and that they were good (supposed to be in existence). The people devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles, and shared everything that they had. Paul ends his letter to the Ephesians with these words: "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." The church exists for the glory of God, and in and through the church he is able to do more than we can imagine!
    Jesus speaks to the seven churches through John's vision; he doesn't tell them they should not exist. He exhorts them to behave like they ought to, as the church.
    I think that going to church, being with other believers, hearing the truth of the Word of God preached, worshiping corporately, confessing corporately, receiving forgiveness corporately, passing the peace of Christ, is the way that Christians ought to live. And yet, not to the exclusion of interacting with the world. (Here is my own weakness again!) When we stand with other Christians or sit under the teaching of the Bible with other Christians, we are strengthened and renewed, yes, but we are also united to say,"Glory to God!" Worship should always be central to a gathering of Christians. We go to worship to give God honor, not to receive entertainment or even in order to get fed. The beautiful thing is, though, that we do get nourished when we worship.
    There are probably many stories about how individuals from a "home-grown" variety of faith made huge impacts in or for God's kingdom. In the book, we even learn that Bonhoeffer looks to Gandhi and his community for inspiration on how to live because they (non-believers) were living as Christians ought. God can use anyone he wants for his purposes. And from Scripture, we know that he often uses surprising people or circumstances to accomplish his plans!! :) But I think that Christians in community is best; it's his design. We often live it out imperfectly, but we ought to strive to live it out anyway.

    This is a ridiculously long comment. Goodness! I have been waiting for days to talk about this book here with you all! I apologize for such length. If anyone even made it to the end! ha! :) Blessings as you read this book, particularly headed into these next two weeks.

  16. Hello, me again - I just bought the book 2 hrs ago here on Bellingham - I have already dived in and am already enjoying it.

  17. ThAnk you Christina for your amazing and thorough comments. I'm so happy you are reading with us ! And leaving such great comments ! I'm on my phone right now ... So this comment is short. Well done.

    1. As often happens when one runs their mouth at length...I was just coming back to say I probably should have made it into a blog post and then just linked to it!! :) You're gracious and kind with your words. I love this place, where I can give and also where I can benefit so, so much from the wisdom of the ladies here!

    2. Omigosh your post was AMAZING. I'll be posting later tonight. You've fueled my fire, girls!!!

    3. Christina,
      LOVE your comments and you have given me much to think about. THANKS.

    4. Christina,
      LOVE your comments and you have given me much to think about. THANKS.

    5. Anonymous10:07 PM

      Christina, thank you so much! This is great!
      S.P. from Iowa

  18. Anonymous7:27 PM

    The first question is complicated to me. What comes to my mind as the enemy is: evil. The evilness that is in this world not just our nation. What do I think about that kind of grouping? I think it is a huge failure on a human's behalf. It's so easy to just assume things about somebody, or a group of people. To just go with what everyone else's beliefs are. Whether its related to something in your family, community, state, or nation. Instead, try to make conscious decisions every single day by prayer and not letting evilness sway you.
    The second question, are Christians supposed to go to church? I guess I struggle with this personally. I grew up in a Catholic church and we went to mass almost every Sunday and CCD on Wednesdays. The repetition of that was great. I still go to church, but not every Sunday. I feel guilty when I don't go. I tend to go when I feel the need.
    I don't think a person needs to go to church to have a deep faith or move mountains in this world. It's all personal and we are all born with different missions to fulfill. Like Donna said, it's whether or not you open your life up to let the Holy Spirit guide you. I think going to church can keep a person on track for living out their purpose in life. It's so easy to get off track and the evil in this world can creep in and knock you down and misguide you.
    Gosh, I really hope that I just made some sense!
    Time to let the dog out!
    Sarah P. from Iowa

    1. You make very good sense Sarah! I think it is interesting to think of evilness being the enemy.

  19. I wasn't going to read the book. I will now.

    I tend to go to church when I am feeling good about my faith, and tend to skip when I am not.

    We do a home church when we don't go...and truly, the conversations I have had with my son are usually so much deeper when we do home church as opposed to when I "make" him join us at church...

    I realize now that the above paragraphs are two completely different thoughts.

    I truly don't think God cares where we long as we have Him in our hearts.

    I've always thought of church as "God's house", but then quickly realize that my house is God's as well.

  20. Anonymous8:58 AM

    To go or not to go?

    I vividly remember struggling with that decision. We had a 9 month old baby and sleep was scarce. On Sunday morning all we wanted to do was rest. For six days a week we worked hard, and getting up and going to church on Sunday simply seemed like too much effort. Maybe we could just gather together at home, in our “domestic church”...

    One morning, as we lobbed the question back and forth like a hot-potato: “Do you want to go?”, “I don’t know do you want to go?” It was obvious that neither one of us wanted to go, but neither one of us wanted to own the responsibility and the guilt that came with not attending. So one Sunday morning I got mad, and I did something impulsive.

    It’s one of those times you can remember precisely; where you were standing when it happened. I told my husband that I was “sick-and-tired” of having the same conversation every Sunday morning, that either we were a family that went to church EVERY Sunday, or we were a family that didn’t go to church. Period.

    I have spoken and written many times about this turning point in our lives. It was as though the “hot-potato” was suspended in air, moving in slow motion. I don’t know much about basketball but it was like a last minute break-away in an undecided game, with a Hail Mary pass. I could feel the devil on the sidelines, jumping up and down in frustration and rage. I had risked it all, with daring one play, and I almost audibly heard him say - “Don’t gamble the whole thing at once!!! I can only steal one Sunday at a time!!!”

    And it was decided. We are a church-going family. Every Sunday. No questions asked. We even go when we travel, when we are camping, when we’re visiting with people who don’t go (these times have been among some of our most treasured blessings.) And I can’t imagine what our “domestic church” would be like without the commitment.

    We owe God absolutely every blessing we have. On Sunday mornings my family and I bend our knees and with one voice we worship an infinite, all-powerful, all-knowing God who loved us enough to slip-on human skin so that we might know Him and understand His love for us.

    I belong to one of those churches who holds me accountable for going to Mass every Sunday. And I am grateful to her. She is a good mother. She has passed down beautiful, apostolic T/traditions that I cherish, and many have died so that I might “taste” them. One of them is the Eucharist, it is the “source and summit” of our faith, and nothing less than the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. It is a mystery, like the Trinity, the Incarnation, and it is a matter of faith. We interpret John 6 literally.

    Jesus understands the importance of human touch, and in his incomprehensible love for me, He designed a plan that I might know Him intimately, commune with Him in a special, hidden way, until He comes again. Wow! “Understanding” that--as best I can--there is nothing that could keep me away from Him. It is here where I become one with Him, and the rest of the body of Christ. I cannot do it alone. One of my favorite priests describes it like a coals in a fire - if you separate them they grow cold, and the flame goes out. We must gather together. This is the earliest understandings of church.

    Having said that, do I believe that God cannot use anything and everything to draw people to Himself? Of course not. But I believe that going to church is part of God’s perfect will for us. It is how I keep the commandments to Love the Lord and to keep the Sabbath holy. But what I give is nothing compared to what I get. God is never outdone in generosity.

    I think the whole concept of going to church needs a serious paradigm shift. Too many people talk about not going because they don’t get anything out of it. What kind of Christian attitude is that? It is not about getting but giving. And first I must give myself to God, surrendering to His will for me. Without that I am no good to anybody. I am afraid we have forgotten what it means to truly worship.


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