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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Jesus says 'love one another'

Does that mean we must all agree?

On A Prairie Home Companion radio show last year, Garrison Keillor talked about how difficult it was to form a choir in the Church of the Sanctified Brethren, the mythical denomination in which he grew up. He said that anytime they got beyond enough members to form a mixed quartet, they'd discover some point in Scripture to disagree on and would split rather than tolerate false doctrine.

Keillor also said he remembered envying the large choirs of Lutheran churches. But he knew it wasn't possible to have that many people sing together without having at least one person, most likely a soprano or tenor, guilty of unconfessed sin or of not toeing the official line on some theological point.

Through my laughter it hit me: He could just as easily be talking about Lutherans as about the foibles of his Sanctified Brethren. Perhaps it was a parable about us as Christians as well as about us as Lutherans.


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