When I read Chapter 3, I started thinking about Dietrich Bonhoffer’s concept of “cheap grace.” From my perspective, cheap grace is essentially exactly how it sounds; it is grace that is cheap. It is cheap in the way that it does not cost people anything. I see it as not going beyond. People are not truly taking the call of God into their own lives. One way to describe this is people who only go to church and do little else in their lives as Christians. Cheap grace is living as a Christian without attempting to follow Jesus.
Costly grace, on the other hand, is about sacrificing oneself in some way in living out the Gospel’s call. Costly grace means that we should not just accept this grace as an “easy” thing; we should make it costly to ourselves in some way in what we do, how we live. I see costly grace as taking what Scripture teaches and applying it to our lives. We put what Scripture has taught us into action.
I started thinking about “cheap grace” in terms of “cheap community.” There’s a danger of a parallel reality happening, I think. That is, loving the concept and “warm fuzzies” of being a vowed religious in an intentional community but not living the Gospel’s call in terms of our charisms and the Founding Document. It’s easy for me to join and stay if it doesn’t really impact my life in a way that leads me to go beyond the easy paths and the spiritual and personal comfort zones of community life.
(This post is also a reminder that anyone can post thoughts on any chapter, even if not assigned to blog on that chapter.)