Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Frequency of Netto and Church

On the way to our old pediatrician’s office there used to be two grocery stores, a Netto and a Plus. They were on the same street about 1 kilometer apart from each other. When Netto bought Plus out, they simply converted it into another Netto. You could literally see the one from the parking lot of the other. It seemed a bit strange to me, but then they were each on the edge of two neighborhoods.

These days on the route we run every other day we pass two Nettos as well, and these are a mere 550 meters from each other on the same street. In European culture, walking distance is an important measure of distance. Things like grocery stores and pharmacies have to be frequently distributed around town. Why is it that churches are not seen in the same way?

Some people struggle to see the need for more than one church—or one church of each stripe—in a large city of several hundred thousand people. The fact is that a church—a gathering or community of disciples—is as necessary to the life of a spiritually attuned person as food or medicine is. In a European city, one community within walking distance of every household would be a minimum.

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