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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Its true nature

The church knits us together in one body

Malignant. Metastatic. Those are words we dread hearing. Those are words that I heard in a two-week period after feeling ill for nearly 10 months and being told it was "stress." Albeit, a nonaggressive type of cancer, the words stunned me, nonetheless.

Yet it was in these words that I was drawn away from the issues our church faces as a denomination to, once again, behold the true nature of the church.

We have seen conflict in our church in recent times. The repercussions of our decisions on sexuality at the 2009 Churchwide Assembly continue to affect us in many ways. For some, those decisions have been a long-awaited blessing. Yet we've experienced people leaving congregations and congregations voting to leave the ELCA. We've made both local and national news. Lutheran bloggers are still in debate — often in a healthy way and at times in a vitriolic manner.

Conflict is a malignancy in our church and, as it spreads, it seems to overshadow all else. One begins to wonder, "What is the true nature of the church?"


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