Thursday, March 03, 2005

Why life together?

Why is this blog titled, life together"? One commenter figured it out. Life Together is the title of a great little book by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, where he insightfully contemplates the nature of Christian fellowship and community. In the book, he argues that we haven't given enough thought to the value, power and mystery of what it means to be in community with other Christian believers. We at Grace Church, SLO need to keep thinking about this. I gave this book to our Elders back at our retreat in October 2004 and I would love to see others join me in the exploration, contemplation and pursuit of "life together" in Christ.

Occasionally, I'll be including quotes from Bonhoeffer's little book to give you taste until you can get your own copy. Here's one for today. . .

It is by the grace of God that a congregation is permitted to gather visibly in this world to share God's Word and sacrament. Not all Christians receive this blessing. The imprisoned, the sick, the scattered lonely, the proclaimers of the Gospel in heathen lands stand alone. They know that visible fellowship is a blessing. They remember, as the Psalmist did, how they went "with the multitude. . . to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday (Ps. 42:4) But they remain alone in the far countries, a scattered seed according to God's will. Yet what is denied them as an actual experience they seize upon more fervently in faith.

Let us enjoy the grace gift of visible fellowship. Cyberspace is great, but face to face, flesh and blood, is far better. We take it for granted.

Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near." --Hebrews 10:24-25

I look forward to and relish our times of worship together!


Cyndie Hamley said...

Pastor Tim,
I love our church family life! The support and encouragement lifts my spirits and helps to anchor my soul in God's truth. I've recently seen the results of spiritual isolation in the life of someone in my family. It breaks my heart.
God bless,

P.S. I learned from former English teacher and professional writer, Kay Marshall Strom, the "little dogs," (comma and period) go inside the quotes. The "big dogs" (exclamation and question mark) go outside the quotes. Personally, I don't care. :)

Laura said...

Question marks go inside the quotation marks when the question mark is part of the quoted matter. So, if your blog were called Life Together?, you would put the question mark inside the quotation marks, but since you have a less quizzical name for your blog, leave the question mark outside.

As a fellow new blogger, I'm enjoying "life together"!

Ryan Valliere said...

> In terms of Christian community I have mixed feelings and thoughts
> about it. I think that ideally it should be the way talked about in
> your blog. I think that would be the best. From my own personal
> experience Christian community falls into four basic categories.
> People who you always feel a natural chemistry and understanding for
> talking about the Word. These people you often feel comfortable with
> sharing your joys and struggles and being willing to share openly and
> honestly. Often times naturally the conversation just heads towards
> the work of the cross and the power of Jesus.
> Then there is people that for the most part conversations seem to
> out about life and work and hobbies with occasional conversations
> about God.
> The third being people who you rarely if ever talk about what God is
> doing in their life. Sometimes for myself these can even be my
> closest friends.
> Finally there are the people who you feel like you have to force
> spiritual conversations with. These people for whatever reason make
> you feel obligated and forced to talk about the growth that God is
> doing in your life.
> I have people in my life that fall into all three categories. Why
> you think there is spiritual chemistry? (if you can call it that) I
> have some friends yourself included that it feels natural and easy to
> talk about the things of Christ. These are extremely refreshing and
> enlightening relationships. For example my friend Dan who is coming
> to visit me. We were in a bible study together for a couple of
> years. We would hang out go golfing whatever but our conversations
> always centered on Jesus. Not by force just by natural occurrence.
> He was really the only one in my bible study that it was this way
> with. Do you think that it depends on both parties an the level of
> individual spiritual growth? Just curious about your thoughts on the
> topic.