Thursday, October 30, 2008

File Under...Convicting

By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world. He does not abandon us to those rapturous experiences and lofty moods that come over us like a dream. God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth. Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be 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...He who loves his dream 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.

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together (trans. John W. Doberstein: San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1954); 27.


Anonymous said...

This an excellent quote. Especially to those groups with cultish tendencies. It can be hard to fight the peer pressure of the christian church sometimes.

Bill Faris said...

A lot of us are in love with "community" these days (me included), but your post reminded me of something someone told me about community a few years back.

This man had lived as a leader in the famous Word of God Community in Ann Arbor, MI during its heyday. We're talking shared purse, hundreds of Catholics and evangelicals together in evangelism, publishing, community service, worship -- all kinds of stuff.

His comment to me -- after all that high-level "community" living -- was: "everything you need to know about true community can be found in the first chapter of Bonhoeffer's "Life Together" (which you quoted from in your post).

He went on to explain that we often inflate our ideals of community to huge proportions and that Bonhoeffer had a way of putting us back in touch with the real basis of the essential meaning of our community in Christ.t