Conflict does not mean we are not Christians. The first apostles argued about what committed Christians often disagree on: goals and methods.
Pastor, are you ready to see the returning war veteran now? They are here and they need you. But be aware, when you open you door to the veteran, he or she will open your eyes to visions you may carry with you for the rest of your life.
“Holy Saturday,” the day between life and death, is the place where many returning military personnel and their families live, a theology professor told participants at a conference to help churches welcome home the warrior.
For those of us in movements like JustPeace, we need not only to keep promoting and cultivating non-violent relationships of mutuality in conflict transformation, but also to commit ourselves to the healing of the minds and hearts of people frozen in the tragic consequence of war. We are in them. They are in us. We walk this road together.
Appreciative Inquiry (AI), which grew out of Dr. David Cooperrider’s Ph.D. work in the 1980s, is a response to more traditional approaches that tend to focus on problems. Rather than focusing on problems, AI focuses on discovering and building on the life-giving forceswithin an organization. A core belief of AI is that in every organization, something works.
“Difficult conversations involve strong emotions or issues about how I see myself in the world,” Stone said. Strong emotions may come from the values a person has and also may be the result of how “people feel treated in the relationship,” he added. “How we talk to each other may influence emotion.”
The conflict must be named before peace can be attained, according to Porter. Sacred space is created around the “table” so that differences, issues, hurts and needs can be aired clearly and directly to overshadow any hidden agendas, he said. “The lack of naming is in part what causes schism,” he said. “I don’t think we have ever had the opportunity to have the full conversation where people can really name the issues that are between us and get below them.”
On one hand, most of us haven’t been taught that conflict need not be feared or avoided, that it is often needed and healthy for a family or congregation. On the other hand, in a society where winning is everything, we often can’t find alternatives to choosing sides, backbiting, beating the opponent into submission or walking away.