WHEN MINDSETS COLLIDE

With people of different outlooks rubbing shoulders in the pew, there will be more than a few sparks.

I will never forget sitting in my office as two factions in my church collided like two opposite-bound freight trains on the same track. As the founding pastor, I had begun this work a few months earlier with a firm commitment to inclusiveness. Now I was swept up in a showdown.

The organist was from a Presbyterian background. The pianist's roots were Pentecostal. Each Sunday morning service began with the organist playing Bach preludes … la Virgil Fox at the Notre Dame Cathedral and the pianist primed to play her praise songs … la Dino at the Shrine Auditorium. While I thought the mixture was wonderful, both women were appalled and hostile.

Armed with their followers, they had come to my office for a worship committee meeting. The atmosphere was anything but conducive to thoughts of worship. The scene looked more like arms negotiations with the Soviets. Both sides were convinced there was no room in this new church for what the other offered.

At that point I had to make a fundamental ...

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