They represent a group I’ll call my FCM-PCC-EFC friends—the initials coming from three church homes we shared in the ‘70s and ‘80s. With each congregation came a time of joy and rich friendships, followed by disagreement, then dissension, then division, a phenomenon all too common in churches today.
But that statement is a bit misleading. It’s not just “today.” Read your New Testament. The early church did the same thing over 2000 years ago, and it survived.
Because with time, and some maturing, folks learn that love and forgiveness trump bitterness and grudges. Not that the disagreements are always solved. I suppose Paul and Barnabas disagreed over John Mark until the day they died, but they respected and supported each other anyway.
It’s been one of the blessings of growing older—reconnecting with folks we loved, but for one reason or another, separated from for a time (with these friends, it was my fault not theirs; unshared feelings go unaddressed and unredressed).
I’m not Pollyannish about this; some disagreements (a minority) are worth the division, and some dissensions won’t be mediated until Heaven—when our Heavenly Father has a sit-down with each of us.
That said—old friends are worth fighting for.