The Friday Pickle; Community: the cause or the effect

Posted by Craig Borlase on 10 June 2014

We talk a lot about community these days. Marketing experts know that if they can get us to see their products as badges that show we belong and their websites as tools to help us connect with others, they’re tapping into retail gold.

Even websites like this are in on the act. We know that the better we are at creating a space for you to feel as though your voice is heard - as well as to hear others - we will be better able to share with you the songs that are inspiring churches around the world.

But is community even something that can be built? Could it be that instead of something we construct - something we’re aspiring to - community is simply what already exists?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote some words which speak into the dangers of our misunderstanding what true community is. Writing in "Life Together" he described the core problem as‚

"Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest, and sacrificial."

About the consequences of such an attitude, he wrote‚

"God hates this wishful dreaming because it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. Those who dream of this idealized community demand that it be fulfilled by God, by others, and by themselves. They enter the community of Christians with their demands, set up their own law, and judge one another and even God accordingly."

"The Christian community has not been given to us by God for us to be continually taking its temperature. The more thankfully we daily receive what is given to us, the more assuredly and consistently will community increase and grow from day to day as God pleases."

Do we need to spend less time talking the temperature of the community we’re a part of, and more time thanking God for it and seeing how best we can serve it? 

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