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Several years ago while on her way to church, one of our members was stopped by an irate man. Pat had been accustomed to cutting across this gentleman's yard on her way to Sunday school. She said the man yelled, "You wake me up every Sunday morning when you thunder your way along the path you are making in my yard. Find another route!"

Pat asked me, "Can you believe he raised such a fit?"

Although I mumbled a sympathetic comment, I identified with the man. Sometimes neighbors have legitimate gripes-whether it's because of people walking (or driving) on the neighbor's lawn, chimes that play at too high a decibel level, a softball team that keeps hitting foul balls into a neighbor's yard, or a rowdy youth group in the parking lot on Sunday night.

On the other hand, some neighbors are simply antagonistic. Some like to be in control and won't agree to any church initiative that affects their common boundary. Some antireligious neighbors fight the church on philosophical grounds.

Most conflicts ...

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