A flowering shrub called the bigleaf hydrangea

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In nature, there’s a flowering shrub called the bigleaf hydrangea. If you take the seed of that shrub and plant it in the soil of Indiana, it will yield pink flowers when it blooms. But if you take that same seed and plant it in the soil of Brazil or Poland, it will produce blue flowers. Even more interesting , if you take the same seed and plant it in another type of soil, it will yield purple flowers. The bigleaf hydrangea, however, will never produce thorns or thistles. It will never bear oranges or apples. And it will never grow tall like a pine tree. Why? Because these features are not within the DNA of the seed. In the same way, the church of Jesus Christ— when planted properly and left on its own without human control and institutional interference— will produce certain features by virtue of its DNA. Like the bigleaf hydrangea, the church may look different from culture to culture, but it will have the same basic expression wherever it’s allowed to flourish.

Frank Viola, Reimagining Church, Kindle edition.

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