Posted by: Dan | June 22, 2006

Communities of Discipline

I do not want to be “accepted” or “understood.” I want to be part of a community with the habits and practices that will make me do what I would otherwise not choose to do and then to learn to like what I have been forced to do.
~ Stanley Hauerwas, “Whose Church? Which Future? Whither the Anabaptist Vision?”

Not only should the Church be a community that practices the sort of discipline that Hauerwas describes, but this is the sort of discipline that should be present in family relationships, in friendships, and in any relationship involving any real commitment. Not that this is a movement away from loving others or anything like that. Nor is this any sort of act of condescension. Rather, this is simply recognising that it takes a community of discipline to create people who are made in the image of Christ. And sometimes the church functions as that community of discipline. And sometimes family members function that way. Really, if we have any sort of sense of true commitment in our relationships, there should be an element of this in every relationship that we are in.

Of course, it is ultimately the Spirit of God that creates new life and transforms us and so we should not use this quote from Hauerwas to support some sort of dictatorial or hyper-pragmatic regime. All that this quote is saying is that some sort of communal discipline is necessary for the formation of Christian virtues.

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