For many years accountability was big for me. It's also big in many Christian circles. A good friend started questioning the concept a few years ago and over time his questioning has won me over. I now think that it's quite an unhelpful concept. I've recently been reading (or more like skimming) a good book called Organic Community and that also questions the "accountability" concept.
It puts into words what my friend and i have discussed over several years and has a useful table camparing accountability relationships (AR) and edit-ability relationships (ER). A couple of the comparisons which speak some of what we have thought about are:
AR are built on the understanding that people are primarily bad and sinful, whereas ER are built on the understanding that people are good, made in the image of God.
In AR the partner tries to ehlp by creating more structure, rules and regulations whereas in an ER the "Editor" makes suggestions but leaves the major reworking with the individual.
Within the chapter it talks about what I think is the major issue though - who is responsible for our actions and for holding us responsible for our actions ... under God that is each of our responsibility. Often this becomes merged unhelpfully in AR and rather than taking responsibility for our own actions and growth we give that power - or at least the power to hold us responsible for that - to someone else.
It really comes down to who is responsible for our life - and before God that is each of us. Thankfully, God does put others around us to journey with us and to be involved in helping us be more the people he longs for us to be but the responsibility for that lands squarely with each of us. I think AR, very differently from what they would aim to do, keep people from embracing their potential maturity, whereas ER helps people to embrace it. (Now on the other hand the concentrating on AR has taken many people into some good relationships where they have shared in ways like no other so don't hear me saying it's all bad; however, for me there are points at which it has often just reinforced some of my own broken behaviours and patterns.)
Now I'm off out of the oven that is my house at the moment to an air conditioned house and a walk in the evening air with one who is very much a fellow journeyer on this life adventure - and who definately encourages me to take responsibility for my life before God and who i do the same for her - I wonder what of life we will enjoy together this evening, ponder this evening, challenge each other on?!