Movement vs. Community

Bonhoeffer makes a helpful distinction in his work Life Together. He argues that movements are led by individuals who want to see their priorities above all else honored and implemented. A community, on the other hand, demands bodily participation and engagement. Everyone plays a role in its future. Communities have leaders, but these leaders do not set their agenda above everything and everyone. Communities care about the weak and helpless. Movements are filled with visionary dreamers, “the one who acts like he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together. When things do not go his way, he calls the effort a failure. When his ideal picture is destroyed, he sees the community going to smash.” a Certainly there is a legitimate conversation to be had over the legitimacy of movements, but under this definition, movements are to avoided.

  1. Life Together  (back)
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