One of the most thoughtful books ever written on Christian community was penned by Dietrich Bonhoeffer during the tragic period of WWII Germany. I would highly encourage everyone to read “Life Together” at some point. In the book Bonhoeffer makes a surprising and yet accurate diagnosis.
He writes, “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 . . . Every human dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hinderance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. 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.”
Wow. Think through the many ways our idealism has actually kept us from the community we seek and need. More thoughts on this tomorrow . . .