Word of the Week

Our Life Together

Last night a small group of us finished our five-week course on Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Life Together. I loved facilitating the course and being a part of it myself for several reasons:

It is energizing to me to be discussing spiritual things with a small group of people (instead of committee meetings all the time). There is just so much learning to occur when insights are shared, thoughts are challenged, and genuine energy to grow comes together in a block of uninterrupted time.

I've read Bonhoeffer's book several times now (and even taught it twice before), but it is one of those texts where new insights come every time I read. Bonhoeffer really hits home the concept of the centrality of Christ's story as a paradigm of life with others. I needed to hear this again in Bonhoeffer's words at this juncture of my life, so I'm very grateful for the class to direct my reading in this way.

Though getting through the text was difficult at times (maybe due to the translation from German), it was a joy to hear class members share their insights into the text especially as we were all challenged by the idea of what it means to really bear with one another.

When I asked the class members what they gained most from the class, here were some of the main points of their  observations:

  • The ideal of Christian community as Bonhoeffer describes should be a text that all of us read before we venture into a new project or task around the church. More people should read this book!
  • I learned a lot about the importance of praying for those in whom I have conflicts-- seeing a person as one in whom is made in the image of God and so I need to learn from first.
  • The pattern of the day alone and the day with others is something that I want to try to build into my daily life more . . . maybe starting with a little thing like singing hymns outside of church.
  • I was reminded again how HARD Christian community is. Why do we do it? Maybe because this is a reality that we all want for our lives even  if we have to labor intensely to make it happen and happen over time.

I look forward to other opportunities to teach or use this text to strengthen our community life. If you missed the class this go around and would be interested in learning more, let's chat. So much good stuff that I would hate for you to miss!