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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Reaching out

Congregations don't flourish because of blurred vision

The February issue of The Lutheran is one of the most thought-provoking since it became the magazine of the ELCA. Perhaps I just missed something that has been characteristic of The Lutheran all along, but this particular issue seemed to offer more possibility thinking than I have been consciously aware of before. I've read and re-read "It takes a village" (page 32), "Homeless in Seattle" ( page 38), "Our young evangelists"(page 42) and "Montana churches rap 'hate groups'" (page 45). And I've pored over New Testament references, particularly Matthew 25, which records the words of Jesus as he prepares his disciples to carry on his work after his death. I'm more convinced than ever that Christian congregations are failing to flourish because of their blurred vision of the people for whom Jesus was especially concerned--the homeless, the hungry, the hurting, the helpless, the isolated and the spiritually adrift. Is there a disproportionate preoccupation with making each other feel good within our churches, leaving little time, effort and money for outreach to those who have not?

Berniece Wagner
Eau Claire, Wis.



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