Thoughts on Community

The following is from Life Together written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Excellent stuff —

 

“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. Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves. By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world …”

 

“Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should in God’s sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it. The sooner this shock of disillusionment comes to an individual and to a community the better for both. A community which cannot bear and cannot survive such a crisis, which insists upon keeping its illusion when it should be shattered, permanently loses in that moment the promise of Christian community. Sooner or later it will collapse. 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 dream of 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. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren. He acts as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together. When things do not go his way, he calls the effort a failure. When his ideal picture is destroyed, he sees the community going to smash. So he becomes, first an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Father God, please allow me to walk through the disillusionment in grace so that I might see you clearly and have you alone as the motivation for my life. Thank you for graciously cleansing of my false illusions.

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~ by Ted Wueste on January 27, 2009.

2 Responses to “Thoughts on Community”

  1. ouch. It’s a good thing my version of community comes from God, otherwise this post would make me wonder about myself and my community
    [insert The Hand (that wrote on the wall in Daniel) appearing from nowhere and slapping the back of my head very, very hard]

    I thank God that I stumbled upon the idea that the Acts we use to get to the ‘goal’ of community are the very Causes of community. Thus, grace becomes more than necessary, as you perfectly pointed out.

    Still, I will walk with a sting this week, I presume, as this continues to sharpen me. Thank you for posting it!

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