I am preparing to speak at the OCF West Coast Winter Retreat December 28-31. The topic for all three OCF conferences this winter is Community. One of my assignments as the North American Chaplain for OCF was to help choose the conference topic. To prepare for the talks I am looking almost entirely at Scripture, the Desert Fathers and the Ladder of Divine Ascent. But, I will most definitely be including this quote from Life Together by Bonhoeffer.
Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. No Christian community is more or less than this. Whether it be a brief, single encounter or the daily fellowship of years, Christian community is only this. We belong to one another only through Jesus Christ. What does this mean? It means, first, that a Christian needs others because of Jesus Christ. It means, second, that a Christian comes to others only through Jesus Christ. It means, third, that in Jesus Christ we have been chosen from eternity, accepted in time, and united for eternity. from Life Together, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1954
Bonhoeffer Bio: Dietrich and his twin sister Sabine were born on February 4 1906 in Breslau, Silesia. Educated at Tubingen University and the University of Berlin, he taught at Union Theological Seminary before becoming an ordained Lutheran Pastor in 1931. Frustrated with much of the Liberal Theology within the Lutheran church, Bonhoeffer formed close ties with Karl Barth and became one of the leading figures of the neo-orthodox movement of the early 20th century. A strong supporter of racial justice in America, he was also a participant in the German Resistance movement against Nazism, and a founding member of the Confessing Church. He was involved in plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Bonhoeffer was arrested in March 1943, imprisoned, and eventually executed.