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The writer, Kurt Vonnegut, from my home state of Indiana, had two terms to identify the nature of two distinct kinds of groups. A “granfalloon” is an artificial group. We are a member of a granfalloon if we imply intimacy within a group of people in which there is no real connection. Even my saying that Vonnegut and I are Hoosiers is a granfalloon – just because we were born in Indiana doesn’t mean we are actually connected. His second term was “karass.” A karass is unique. It is a group of people who are linked in a deeply spiritual and even significant way. A granfalloon is a false karass.

Churches can either be a granfalloon or a karass. Sometimes the connections people have with one another in churches are superficial. Other times the connections people have in church are so special we would call them the “Body of Christ.” The Body of Christ is a not a collection of people who think alike, but they are a group of people who practice all the elements of a community of faith. They love. They forgive. They tolerate one another. They even bear one another when things get difficult.

We are see the difference in what a church is to a person by the way a person responds to conflict. If people are willing to talk to one another and to sort out conflict; if they are willing to find a way to understand or at least forgive one another, then the church is a karass for them. If they leave the church when conflict arises. If they run away, odds are the church was a granfalloon.

Any church can be a karass. Any church can be the Body of Christ. If we are willing to show respect and talk to one another in times of conflict, we might just discover the presence of Christ himself. If we avoid a chance to resolve difficulties, we may miss Jesus altogether.

 

Peace to you,

Pastor Steve