“AN ARGUMENT STARTED among the disciples as to which of them would 77 be the greatest” (Luke 9:46).' We know who sows this dissension in the Christian community. But perhaps we do not think enough about the fact that no Christian community ever comes together without this argument appearing as a seed of discord. No sooner are people together than they begin to observe, judge, and classify each other. Thus, even as Christian community is in the process of being formed, an invisible, often unknown, yet terrible life-and-death struggle commences. “An argument started among them”—this is enough to destroy a community. It is vitally necessary, therefore, that every Christian community keep an eye on this dangerous enemy from the very outset and eradicate it. There is no time to lose here, because from the first moment two people meet, one begins looking for a competitive position to assume and hold against the other. There are strong people and weak ones. If people are not strong, they immediately claim the right of the weak as their own and use it against the strong.2 People are talented and untalented, simple and difficult, devout and less devout, sociable and loners. Does not the untalented person have a position to assume just as well as the talented person, the difficult person just as well as the simple one? And if I am not talented, then perhaps I am, nonetheless, devout, or if I am not devout, it is only because I do not want to be. May not the sociable individuals win everyone over to their side and compromise the loner? And
1. Bonhoeffer's German text has “would be “wäre” the greatest,” whereas the
NRSV has the argument over “which one of them was the greatest.” “GK”
2. See 71, editorial note 54.