MONDAY MELTDOWN: How to Handle Toxic Community: Zac Gandara

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Misha writes in and asks: “As a person who still believes in God but not Church. How do you separate yourself from going back to a place that’s toxic because you are hurting?”

The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community
Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than they love the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest and sacrificial. God hates this wishful dreaming because it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. Those who dream of this idolized community demand that it be fulfilled by God, by others and by themselves. They enter the community of Christians with their demands set up by their own law, and judge one another and God accordingly. It is not we who build. Christ builds the church. Whoever is mindful to build the church is surely well on the way to destroying it, for he will build a temple to idols without wishing or knowing it. We must confess he builds. We must proclaim, he builds. We must pray to him, and he will build. We do not know his plan. We cannot see whether he is building or pulling down. It may be that the times which by human standards are the times of collapse are for him the great times of construction. It may be that the times which from a human point are great times for the church are times when it’s pulled down. It is a great comfort which Jesus gives to his church. You confess, preach, bear witness to me, and I alone will build where it pleases me. Do not meddle in what is not your providence. Do what is given to you, and do it well, and you will have done enough.... Live together in the forgiveness of your sins. Forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts.
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Brendan Gladney, Stacy Osiowy, Christian Grindstaff, Larry Overstreet, Heather Washburn, Alan Lamon, Michael Schmitt, Grace Kwon, Allen Mattox, Roberta Ballard-Myer, Alyssa Milan, Luis Castro Jr, T.O. Knowles, Jonathan Bowles, Thiago Bodini, Travis Turner, Samantha Davis, Mary Ratti, Justin Beal, Matt Proudfoot, Alf Herigstad, Kaeleb Reyes, Mekenna Rose, Rachael Wold, Morgan Weisz, Sarah Matthews, Jay Middleton, Diana Brown, John Stuart, Mandy Logan, Susan Ardrey, Blake Willis, Susan Lepin, David MacPhail, Tiffiny Kosloy, Hannah Wilson, Jessica Beal, Joshua Simpson, Harmony Nicole, Melissa Nikolov, Ray Gilford, Juan Sabastian Velencia, Renee Away, Kathleen Bosman, Allison Ayars, Bimpe Aibinuomo, Nicholas Iza, Kimberly Nelson, Erica Curnutte, Angelica Estrada-Knickerbocker, Hannah Wilson, Josiah Ecker, Christopher Loechli, Philip Lumbrera, and Anonymous Couple.

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