Friday, August 13, 2010

Christian community

Chaplain Mike commends Bonhoeffer's understanding of Christian community and concludes "Nothing I have read describes Jesus-shaped Christian community better than Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together." From the post:
.... What interests me at this point is ... the theological bases upon which he believed Christians ought to relate to each other as they share the common life in Christ. He had a specific concept of what “life together” is about. And what I love about Bonhoeffer’s understanding is how Jesus-shaped it is.
Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. No Christian community is more or less than this. Whether it be a brief, single encounter or the daily fellowship of years, Christian community is only this. We belong to one another only through and in Christ Jesus. (Life Together, p. 7)
Bonhoeffer warns us that our conceptions of Christian community may be flawed. Many have a strong desire for “something more” than what Christ has established—an extraordinary social experience, some wishful, utopian ideal of ecstatic experiences, lofty moods, constant joy and peace, and profound piety.

He urges us not to love our dreams of Christian community more than the reality. If we insist on our dreams rather than on what God has actually given, we will become proud and demanding, turning against our brethren and ultimately against God himself. A Christian community that springs from our own “wish-dreams” rather than from the reality that we are sinful human beings brought together only by God’s grace and forgiveness in Christ will lead only to disillusionment.

God has given us this: brothers and sisters “who will go on living with us through sin and need under the blessing of His grace.” The key to genuine Christian community is learning to give thanks for the actual brothers and sisters who are related to me in Christ. .... [more]
“Wish Dream” Community | internetmonk.com