Wineskins Archive

February 6, 2014

On Community (Sep-Oct 2001)

Filed under: — @ 4:50 pm and

by Gary McCaleb
September – October, 2001

“In other words, to live selfishly is to bear life as an intolerable burden. To live selflessly is to live in joy.” – Thomas Merton

“If architects want to strengthen a decrepit arch, they increase the load that is laid upon it, for thereby the parts are joined more firmly together.” – Victor Frankl

“Most problems are solved by loving one another.” – Max Lucado

“The wider the community of your heart, the wider the community around you.” – Henri Nouwen

“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. 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. A community which cannot bear and cannot survive such a crisis, which insists upon keeping its illusion when it should be shattered, permanently loses in that moment the promise of Christian community. Sooner or later it will collapse.

Every human wis dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance 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.

Thus the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can ever live by our own words or deeds, but only by that one Word and Deed which really binds us together – the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. The morning mists of dreams vanish, then dawns the bright day of Christian fellowship.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

(Short quotes above taken from Gary D. McCaleb’s Community: The “Other” Side of Self.)New Wineskins


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