Wars You Can't Win

Sometimes church wars are winnable; sometimes they're not.
—Andre Bustanoby

As a teen during World War II, I kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings recounting the battles raging in Europe and the Pacific. Every evening at 6:00, I tuned in to Gabriel Heater on WWOR in New York, wondering whether he'd open his radio newscast with "Ah yes, there's good news tonight" or, "There's bad news tonight."

After World War II, we knew that wars could be just, and they were winnable.

I felt drawn to the military. I enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean conflict, and in 1965 I almost went to Vietnam. I seriously considered a commission as an army chaplain. A retired colonel in our church talked me out of it, though, arguing that the congregation needed me.

Vietnam, however, taught us all a bitter lesson: some wars are unwinnable.

During my years as a pastor, I experienced both kinds of wars within the church. Sometimes church wars are winnable; sometimes they aren't.

Winnable war

In 1950 my fiancée, ...

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