Without Vision the Community Flourishes?

I have been reading through Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s short treatise on the subject of Christan community entitled “Life Together.”  His words are clear and convicting.  I often hear pastors talking about the necessity of “vision” in leading a church.  This passage from Bonhoeffer may cause some to question the idolatry of their own “vision.”

God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious.  The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself.  He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly.  He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren.  He acts as if 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.  So he becomes,  first an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself.

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One thought on “Without Vision the Community Flourishes?”

  1. I would actually disagree that God hates visionary dreaming. I think there is a difference between visionary and “visionary ideal” as B puts it. Sure, this passage from his book is an apt warning against any man’s pride which may blind him to correction, and in this sense, I appreciate the post. Surely for your church plant in Denver there is some measure of vision needed, and an idea of how community might look. This quotation can be used as a check against pride, but I wouldn’t say as a check against vision.

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