Experimental Theology: (The thoughts, articles and essays of Richard Beck)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer begins his little book Life Together in a most provocative way:He is right. We need to make sure that our prayers and our words include our enemies.
The Christian cannot simply take for granted the privilege of living among other Christians. Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. In the end all his disciples abandoned him. On the cross he was all alone, surrounded by criminals and the jeering crowds. He had come for the express purpose of bringing peace to the enemies of God. So Christians, too, belong not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the midst of enemies. There they find their mission, their work.This seems to be missional Christianity at its most basic: Renouncing the "privilege of living among other Christians" and rejecting the "seclusion of a cloistered live" to live "in the midst of enemies."
When I ponder this what strikes me is how little Christians talk about "loving our enemies." This was, one could argue, the most distinctive aspect of Jesus's teaching and ethic, the foundational principle of the Christian way of life. We should be pounding this point home Sunday after Sunday. It should be our guiding light, the standard and goal of all our spiritual formation efforts. Love your enemies. Forgive your enemies. Bring peace to your enemies. This is our mission and work.
But you hardly hear a word about this in our churches.