Healthy Community

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Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a classic on what authentic Christian community is all about. No volume that I know of captures it better.

However, in the pursuit of the ideal there is much that can take place in personal and group relationships that is unhealthy. At times, the stuff that passes for “community” may actually be enmeshment, enablement, and dysfunctionality.

So how do I know if the community to which I am committed is healthy? Where do I find environments that nurture healty emotional and spiritual relationships? Some questions:

1. Does the context use me or develop me?
2. Can authority be questioned?
3. Is conflict resolved or repressed?
4. Is it an inclusive or exclusive environment?
5. Is an inordinate amount of time required to maintain the community as opposed to ministry outside?
6. What is accomplisihed other than “presence” in the greater society?
7. Is it easy to leave?
8. When we are in over our head with relational pathology, are qualified pros available and accessed, ie, counselors, pshychiatrists, therapists, and spiritual directors?
9. Is leadership accountable?
10. Is diversity embraced or is uniformity enforced?

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