Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Some quotes on community:
Too many people come into community to find something, to belong to a dynamic group, to find a life which approaches the ideal. If we come into community without knowing that the reason we come is to discover the mystery of forgiveness, we will soon be disappointed.
Jean Vanier, Community and Growth
Because Christian community is founded solely on Jesus Christ, it is a spiritual and not a ‘merely human’ reality. In this it differs absolutely from all other communities... Christian brotherhood is not an ideal that we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate. The more clearly we learn to recognize that the ground and strength and promise of all our fellowship is in Jesus Christ alone, the more serenely shall we Henri Nouwen
think of our fellowship and pray and hope for it.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
The word community has many connotations, some positive, some negative. Community can make us think of a safe togetherness, shared meals, common goals, and joyful celebrations. It also can call forth images of sectarian exclusivity, in-group language, self-satisfied isolation and romantic naiveté. However, community is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the spiritual knowledge that we are alive not for ourselves but for one another. Community is the fruit of our capacity to make the interests of others more important than our own. (Philippians 2:4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.) The question, therefore is not "How can we make community?" but "How can we develop and nurture giving hearts."
Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
Henri Nouwen defines "community as the place where the person you least want to live with always lives."
Philip Yancy, "Why I Don't Go to a Megachurch",
Christianity Today, May 20, 1996

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