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Highlighting Our Differences

Should churches set themselves in contrast to other congregations?

As a show of solidarity with my seven-year-old daughter, I recently reread the classic Little House on the Prairie books and Anne of Green Gables. One phenomenon I noticed this time around (probably because I'm in the habit of thinking about church leadership) was that the books' good, churchgoing characters didn't have to choose between churches of various sizes and stripes. They simply attended the church in town and enjoyed (or put up with) the teachings of Reverend So-and-So every Sunday.

My, how things have changed. Along with the constant and dizzying array of choices we face every day, we have the luxury of choosing the church we like best. I know some small towns and villages in our country still have only one church. But in most of those cases, people live within driving distance of other communities and might choose to drive to one of them to attend another church. And the situation is very different where I live - in some areas I can find a church on every block. And on a recent ...

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