Monday, June 27, 2011

Life Together

On the top of the list of "things I wish I had read before Detroit" goes Bonhoeffer's Life Together.

This passage in particular struck a chord, as a fault of mine own walking in to an intentional experience of Christian community:

Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and to try to realize it. But God's grace speedily shatters such dreams. ...
Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his cream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial. ...
The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly. ... When things do not go his way...he becomes, first an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself.
In many ways, I this was the reality of my community experience.


R N W said...

I'm not sure what he suggests it SHOULD look like though. Is it as simple as asking God to tell you what it should look like? Don't we need a picture of the ideal in order to step towards it, or should we just not think about it and let whatever happens happen... I realize it's only 2 paragraphs, but they just left me confused.

Matt said...

I did only select the negative paragraphs. It's a short book, and very much worth reading if you're interested.

Simply put, the vision is that Christian community is held together by Christ alone, that we relate to each other only through that primary relationship.
In all things, selfless thankfulness abounds.