Worship with Us This Sunday - 10:15 a.m.
A few things come to mind when reading the first eight verses of Romans 12. Currently our Deacons are reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s, Life Together. A few of our men and me read Life Together a few years ago. I was struck by Bonhoeffer writing about community. He offers something of a dialectic wherein he talks of the need for community and at the same time the need for solitude. This tension expresses the way in which certain needs are met as one commits to the way of Jesus.
My favorite section in the early going of Life Together is Bonhoeffer’s reference to a person joining a given community. He describes the pre-conceived expectations for the community as a “wish dream.” Since the person entering the community has no contextual understanding of its history, purpose and ethos, it is difficult to account for the discontent when the “wish dream” seems unfulfilled.
Bonhoeffer will note the necessity of the shattering of the wish dream. In order for the dynamic of the community to posses any real transformative effect, the wish dream must be shattered. Only then may a person experience the shaping of the person he or she will become resultant in “life together.”
I could not help but think of this little book as I read through the text repeatedly this week. If we concede that at least one of Paul’s projects in Romans is to demonstrate how two people, ethnic groups, become one in Christ, then there is little doubt we need to underscore the role of “self thinking” in community. So, when Paul writes, “a person should not think more highly of himself than he ought to think,” we may immediately grasp the change in thinking described in verse 2 having at least in part its context in human relationships.
The question, "How should we live," cannot be answered in isolation.