Monday, October 17, 2011

Understanding Spiritual Formation 5: The Discipline of Community (continued)

As I continue with the theme of community as a spiritual discipline, here are some more thoughts to unpack this idea.

Bonhoeffer writes:
"one who wants more than what Christ has established does not want Christian brotherhood. He is looking for some extraordinary social experience which he has not found elsewherel he is bringing muddled and impure desires into Christian brotherhood. Just at this point Christian brotherhood i threatened most often at the very start by the greatest danger of being poisoned at its root, the danger of confusing Christian brotherhood with some wishful idea of religious fellowship."
Community is more than touchy-feely togetherness, or a group of Christian men sitting at a pub discussing theology, or a group of young mom's crying together.

Community at its heart must be interested in seeing its members formed by the Spirit through each other. This will take the form of mentoring sometimes, and sometimes it will just be people speaking truth in love to one another. Again, Bonhoeffer writes, "God has put this Word into the mouth of men in order that it may be communicated to other men...Therefore, the Christian needs another Christian who speaks God's Word to him." We need each other if we are to be formed.

Emma's former gym was a great picture of this. Her coach had over 30 years experience. Over the years, many of his former gymnasts came back to the gym to be teachers and coaches. On any given night, he could be seen working with a group of team girls while all around the gym his former students (of many different ages) are working with other girls (and boys), teaching them the the basics of gymnastics. His methodology touched many more girls than he ever could, because he indoctrinated his students with a love of gymnastics that they wanted to pass on.

As we live in community with one another, we should be indoctrinating each other with a love for Jesus that needs to be passed on. This is true community!

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