by Roger Thomas

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3 John: Church Politics 101 (27 of 29)
Series: Through the New Testament
Roger Thomas
3 John

GOOD ol' Charlie Brown's young friend, Linus, once aired a view shared by many. He had just told his big sister Lucy that he wanted to be a doctor when he grew up. (You may remember that it was Linus who once said that big sisters are ''the crab grass in the lawn of life.'')

Lucy couldn't believe her ears. ''You a doctor! That's a laugh! You could never be a doctor! You know why? Because you don't love mankind!''

Immediately, young Linus countered, ''I do too love mankind! It's people I can't stand!''

Indeed, if it weren't for people, this world would be an almost perfect place. Eliminate the people and the problems will soon disappear. Unfortunately few of us would survive such a radical solution.

The church, like the world at large, is also the victim of frequent people problems. The people problems in the church are sometimes so severe that a ''Linus-like'' medieval sage, once observed that the church is much like Noah's ark. If it weren't for the tempest on the outside, one couldn't stand the stench on the inside. Whether we fully appreciate this colorful analogy or not, the fact remains that the church's biggest problems are often on the inside.

Smoothing the ruffled feathers of a temperamental deacon, quieting the gossip of a bitter housewife, or healing the hurts of an offended member - these are the real issues that often shape or shatter the life of the average congregation. Unsolved, these are the very problems that destroy the unity of the body and call into question the validity of the gospel itself (John 13:35; 17:21).

A lot of us would like to think that church politics is an oxymoron-a contradiction in terms. We prefer to believe that church life is above the stuff that politics is famous for. But anyone who has been around church for long knows better. Church politics exist. It always has. It always will-as long as there are people ar ...

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