Around the Web: April 15, 2016

Below are some links to articles, videos and stories that JustPeace staff have enjoyed this week. We hope you enjoy them too!

April 15, 2016

Congregational Consulting: Spirituality and Congregational Life –  David Brubaker explains how spirituality is essential to a healthy congregation and healthy congregational leaders and can be nourished

“The most effective individual and corporate antidote to destructive conflict is provided not by skills and processes but by character and identity. Character and identity are often formed in the crucible of suffering and shaped by spiritual guides and prophets. When congregational leaders experience spiritual growth (i.e., strengthened character and identity) the congregations they lead are likely to do the same. Such spirituality is the essential fuel that sustains vitality in individual and congregational ministry.”

Light and Life Magazine – Engaging Difficult Conversations  – Trisha Welstad, Free Methodist elder in Oregon and Director of the Leadership Center, offers three postures to embody when engaging in difficult conversations.

I have found the best mentors to others and myself are able to maintain the following three qualities: they create a safe space for dialogue; they possess a non-anxious presence when confronted with challenge; and they offer their wisdom or advice as it is welcomed. I would call each quality a posture: an attitude and a way that those who possess them present themselves to others. To better understand these postures, I find no better model than Jesus.

Huffington Post – The Power of Art to Build Strong Youth and Heal Trauma – Alex Johnson, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund of California, discusses the importance of providing art opportunities to young people and how it can help break the school-to-prison pipeline by helping youth heal from past trauma.

Giving children and youth strategies to express their pain, and cope with the stress, prepares them for a strong future. As we learn more about the brain and the effects of trauma on youth, our system, policies, programs and allocation of resources must change to reflect this new knowledge. Healing the effects of trauma builds hope and resiliency; and, resilient children grow up to live healthy productive lives.

United Methodist Reporter – Democracy and the politics of grace – Darryl W. Stephens, Director of United Methodist studies at Lancaster Theological Seminary, writes a guest commentary for UMR about General Conference and Christian Conferencing. He argues that to engage in Christian Conferencing one must value diversity of opinion and the stories and experiences of others.

As a means of grace, conferencing operates on the principle that persons with different perspectives offer a corrective to one’s own, naturally self-interested and sinful, perspective. In effect, conferencing turns Jesus’s parabolic dilemma of noticing the speck in the neighbor’s eye despite the log in one’s own eye (Mt 7:3–5) to epistemological advantage by honoring the critical vantage point of the neighbor for one’s own correction.

Kraybill Table: To Transform Conflict Work Yourself Out of a Job – Ron Kraybill, pioneer in conflict transformation and former JustPeace board member, outlines on his new blog how peace building and transforming conflict is about building up others and spreading the skills, theory, theology and passion for peace in order for it to spread.

At the root of my own deepening understandings of peacebuilding lie understandings of self, relationships to others, and calling that could be stated quite explicitly: You are not in this work just for yourself, to build a great career; you are to be deeply guided by the needs of those you serve.

Network Weaver: How Communication in Networks Differs from Communication in Organizations – June Holley, network weaving guru, provides a chart on the challenges networks have in communicating with one another and how it is different than communication within organizations.

Network activities are often only a small part of the individual’s work (or volunteer) life so it’s harder for them to stay on top of the actions they have committed to do.

Huffington Post: Creating Resilient Communities – Robert Koehler writes about a new partnership between The National Peace Academy and George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution to create a center where people in conflict can come together “to address the situation in a context capable of acknowledging and valuing all points of view and committed to finding a solution that transcends the problem.”

But real peace — positive peace, which transcends violence and turns conflict into opportunity — is and always has been part of who we are as well. We know a lot more about how to create peace than we think we do. We’re perfectly capable of transcending violent solutions to our troubles and building a sustainable future. The first step is to take our conflicts out of isolation.

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