How are we doing?
"How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity." Psalm 133:1
Looking at Life Together, a manual intended for an intentional community, as helpful for establishing a rule of life means plenty of adjustments. But Bonhoeffer's starting point, Community, is not one of them. I don’t know when you can pinpoint Christianity becoming more of a personal pursuit but regardless of where it started it still persists today. If your like me you've often tried to undertake the personal holiness project yourself. You'll get a bible reading plan, buy a book on the spiritual disciplines, set-up a fasting calendar, all by yourself and buckle down on this project of personal holiness. It's often failed for me and maybe you've managed to stick with it but it's an isolating act. Not only that it can separate from the body of believers into our own holy club.
I think the primary question at this point in the Christian life is, 'How am I doing?'. In a recent Mars Hill Audio Journal (which I would put as mandatory listening for V&B friends) Ken Myers interviews the theologian Phillip Tuner on social ethics and the church. It contains some great gems on having a healthy understanding of the world.
So Bonhoeffer starts us with this call to community. He says, "It means, first, that a Christian needs others for the sake of Jesus Christ. It means, second, that a Christian comes to others only through Jesus Christ. It means, third, that from eternity we have been chose in Jesus Christ, accepted in time, and united for eternity." For him the Christian life is community, through and through, top to bottom. As we walk through this first step in Life Together to find a rule of life we'll see how deep this runs for Bonhoeffer.