Life Together

If you ever find yourself disappointed in community but at the same time committed to it, a good place to go to feel a little bit of conviction is Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together*. For instance,

If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all. (Life Together, p. 29)

Call me crazy, but I don’t like to read stuff like that.

But I read it anyway, and I think about it anyway, and it changes me anyway.


* Bonhoeffer’s an interesting historical figure: a German pacifist who ended up being killed by the Nazis for his involvement in a plot to kill Hitler. Life Together, less well-known than Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, is about, well, life together–specifically, Bonhoeffer’s time of living communally while heading up an underground seminary during Nazi rule. I don’t agree with everything he says (if I remember correctly, he’s opposed to singing songs with harmonies), but there’s a lot of really great stuff in there, too. You can Google Bonhoeffer if you want to know more about his life; if you want to know more about Finkenwalde Seminary, check out this recent Christian Reflection article.

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2 comments on “Life Together

  1. stephen says:

    This certainly rings true to me. So often I want great amazing spectacular experiences, but there are great blessings found in the simple quiet life with the community you are a part of.

  2. elizabeth says:

    You’re right. Spectacular experiences can be great, but so rarely happen, at least to me. Then again, I often want just normal, ordinary community experiences and get upset when those don’t even happen. Even those “correct” desires can be self-focused–in fact, probably always are–and Bonhoeffer seems to be saying “get over yourself.”

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