The JustPeace way takes a systems approach to conflict because we embrace transformed communities – communities that have space, resources and relational practices that can include all in loving and supportive ways. If conflict is simply two ideas seeking to share space, we don’t always have to change the ideas or the people who have the ideas, sometimes we can change the space in ways that lovingly embrace our different ideas.
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During difficult times, when divisiveness is pervasive, attention to the quality of relationships often suffers. In order to find a way forward, relationships must be honoring. A relationship is honoring when it provides space for authentic self-expression and seeks to not do violence to the Other because of the differences. A relationship is honoring, when it has as its highest priority the dignity of all.
In structuring Welcoming Conversations, the Golden Rule does not apply. The answer is not: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you; rather, what makes a conversation welcoming is if you find out how they want to be treated and structure the conversation to account for those concerns.
In distinguishing between the acceptance of people and the rejection of their ideas, we engage them as parts of God’s creation fully worthy of consideration and relationship
When the entire community experiences loss, the work of congregational leaders is to create such containers for the entire community of faith and then to hold the container and be present; not with rituals, requirements, or expectations, but with love, grace, hope and patience.
In the Hebrew Bible there is a passage where the Psalmist declares: There is a place where Truth and Mercy have met; where Justice and Peace will kiss. Even though the current justice system is not that place, I pray that the residents of Ferguson and greater St. Louis metro can work to create such a place.