Sunday, February 24, 2008

eenie meenie mine-y-our MEME

Guidelines:

1) share a thought-provoking dialectical idea
(i.e., tension or opposition between two interacting forces or elements)

2) comment here about mine and/or share one of your own favorite dialectics

3) then...your turn again! make up your own meme of choice on your blog

4) all inclusive tagging ~ ALL blogaholics, beaus and beauties invited AND let's call out a few called out ones still on the proverbial fence of blog. . .CALLING OUT RK JC MD DG ... you know who you are ; )

MINE

Solitude and Silence
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Let him who cannot be alone beware of community.
Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.

Definitely a terrific quote. Wherever you are, be wary of yourself.

bloggushing on... from p.77 of Life Together

Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. He will only do harm to himself and to the community. Alone you stood before God when he called you; alone you had to answer that call; alone you had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God. You cannot escape from yourself; for God has singled you out. If you refuse to be alone you are rejecting Christ's call to you, and you can have no part in the community of those who are called. "The challenge of death comes to us all, and no one can die for another. Everyone must fight his own battle with death by himself, alone . . . I will not be with you then, nor you with me" (Luther).

But the reverse is also true: Let him who is not in community beware of being alone. Into the community you were called, the call was not meant for you alone; in the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray. You are not alone, even in death, and on the Last Day you will be only one member of the great congregation of Jesus Christ. If you scorn the fellowship of the bretheren, you reject the call of Jesus Christ, and thus your solitude can only be hurtful to you. "If I die, then I am not alone in death; if I suffer they [the fellowship] suffer with me" (Luther).

We recognize, then, that only as we are within the fellowship can we be alone, and only he that is alone can live in the fellowship. Only in the fellowship do we learn to be rightly alone and only in aloneness do we learn to live rightly in fellowship. It is not as though the one preceded the other; both begin at the same time, namely, with the call of Jesus Christ.

10 comments:

kirsten said...

di,
i love the quote you shared here!! so many people try to make a life of faith seem like an either/or proposition when so many of times, it is both. it's not either solitude or community ... it's both. it is both. some of us keep trying to simplify faith, make it less messy, make it more categorical, making it more so we can understand it & fit in inside our heads.

NEWSFLASH:
we can't!!!!

God is bigger than all of it, we will [praise God!!] never fit Him or what He gives us inside our heads, he will never be so small as to fit inside our understandings.

he is the lion. he is the lamb.
he brings peace. he brings the sword.
he is justice. he is mercy.

he is love.

Terri said...

oh girl, you know how i love dialectics. i'm a little overwhelmed trying to catch up after being so radically gone, but i'll have to think about this for a bit.

i was just talking about this very thing with julie a couple of days ago...the necessary balance between a faith that is individual and a faith that is grounded in a community...and how these will sometimes be at odds. it's a messy business, this dialectics. i wouldn't have it any other way.

Sarah said...

Once, after a long day of trying to reconcile confusing dialectical questions about Jesus, I decided that, if it seems like an impossible paradox, it must be true! While I don't think that's exactly the way to find truth (;) ), I do think that he smacks of things like this--things the beauty of which blows our minds.

And wow...community and solitude. Yes!

Nathan said...

Di, you are mad deep. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm sorry for being MIA. Dunno when I will have time to complete this meme (but I will try). I'm so far behind. But a few thoughts came to my mind that I will share regarding your opening quote (hopefully, this will by me some time). I love dialectical tensions too.

Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.

Some people are nervous and empty if they are not engulfed in an ocean of others. They simply cannot persist without being surrounded by a sea of people. They are more than gregarious; they are socially co-dependent. Their entire identity comes from the crowd. They feel as if they must be known by all and “keep up with the Joneses.” They must be seen; they must be heard. Unfortunately, they have a hard time living with themselves. Being alone forces them to face the problems that they veil so carefully but loom so largely in their lives. They are never at peace with themselves, and one-on-one intimacy is foreign to them. They do not cultivate an intimate relationship with themselves or their God. They are always under the sway of the crowd and rarely think for themselves. They are tossed like a wave in a hurricane.

Some people are anxious and lost if they are not deserted on an island of self. They simply cannot continue in a crowd of people. They shun social situations and relationships. They rely on themselves. They confuse solitude with self-itude. They are often self-absorbed, turned in on themselves, largely unaware that they are not the only island in the ocean. They hear their own voice, first and last. Their own ideas seem larger and safer than those of others. Otherness scares these people because it makes them aware of their need to be accountable to others. It makes them stare at their own weaknesses and the needs of other people. They revile at their responsibility to others whom God has created – even their accountability and responsibility to Him.

Safety comes when we are reconciled to ourselves and God. It comes when we are reconciled to our community and willing to hear more than our own voice, but are at once able to discern the still small voice inside us over the crowd. It brings safety, this multitude, along with responsibility. It brings solitude, this monasticism, along with reflection. Competing voices bring complementary virtues (or vices).

Christianne said...

so much good stuff here. and can i just say, i LOVE that our community is embarking on this conversation together? the importance of community and the importance of the self. both are so valuable and essential.

as i type this, diva is sitting on the floor at my feet staring up at my arm, just begging me to let it down so it can pet her all over her sweet, soft head. that girl is addicted to my hand rubbing her head. she needs a fix, even though i've been giving her a fix for the past five minutes. still she sits there and stares, fixated, up at my arm as i type. she is eyeing it, man. she's obsessed. but i stand firm. she needs tough love sometimes, because the world does not revolve around her and i am trying to talk to my community! it occurs to me that she is one of those who cannot be alone, who must have someone affirming her existence or else she disappears. :)

back from our commercial break . . . what's cool is what i shared with you earlier this day, di, about my pastor speaking about embracing differences in relationship but how so often we'd rather dissolve them quickly or ignore them entirely because of the cognitive dissonance they cause, and we don't know what to do with it. but differences exist for God's glory. the three persons of the trinity are separate and distinct, and yet they exist in perfect unity and oneness. God brought eve to adam because he needed someone to help him beyond what he could do for himself -- my pastor said the hebrew translation of "helper" is actually akin to "one who talks back," meaning, one who has an opinion that may differ from one's own. and adam needed that. cool, huh?

all this relates to what you're saying -- and what everyone is saying here -- because these differences are what make the community thrive and learn from one another and fill up what the others lack.

seriously, as i sat in church last night, listening to this message, i couldn't help but smile broadly as i thought over each and every person in THIS community. we are all so different. so unique. yet so essential, both for this community's benefit and edification and building up into Christ, but also for the benefit of God's body out in the world. it's about the different members being different but essential to the work of Christ in the world. i love it. i love that we have that here. i praise God for his work in us and through us, and for bringing us all together. i wonder what else will transpire, or what other folk will join in, as time goes on??

kirsten said...

ditto, ditto, ditto.

di & nathan & terri & christianne - all mad deep.

i love our community too. love love love. wildly different people: experiences, backgrounds, stories, wounds, truths to share, weaknesses, strengths, experinces of God. all wildly different ... all inviting us to take a good look at how crazy big & wild & creative God really is. how He gives each other to teach one another, to balance us out, to meet each other in places of need & of pain.

as more share in the love, as more join in communal dance ... love is not divided. it is multiplied.

love to the power of God.

that's what this is.

individual: our uniqueness, our individuality.
community: what we share here, what we find in each other's otherness.

all good & from the God we know & love.

beautiful.

Sarah said...

Blogger is a punk. If this shows up twice, I apologize.

I love the fact that we are more ourselves because of community and we have better community when we're more ourselves.

I LOVE it!

I would even go as far as to say that we can't fully be ourselves without community and we can't have good community unless we know ourselves and bring all of that to the group.

It amazes me how it all reflects God, how he's so great that these seemingly contradictory things give us the most profound views of him. It's so awesome that we get to reflect all these facets of him to ourselves, those near us, and the rest of the world.

YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Christianne said...

sarah, you are so cute. i love your yahoo. :)

Anonymous said...

Di had to drop by over here to see what is going on. i like this statement here: in the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray. I love Luther by the way. And i keep saying i am going to do a blog on Greg Boyd's book repenting of religion. i have just not got there yet. I am a work in progress.

di said...

thanks to all you beaus and beauties for 1) sharing and 2) commenting and 3) A Meme and 4) answering the call DG already and RK not yet