I have come to believe that the outer space/context in which we work is only as open as is our inner space out of which we live. They are parallel processes. For me, this is part of the underbelly of leadership—the interior conversation that enables us to offer our best, deepest gifts, and to be shapers of context, rather than being shaped by the context.
Conflict transformation is something more than conflict management or conflict resolution. The goal of conflict transformation, as Ron Kraybill explains, “is not only to end or prevent something bad but also to begin something new and good. Transformation asserts the belief that conflict can be a catalyst for deep-rooted, enduring, positive change in individuals, relationships, and the structures of the human community.”
The work of conflict transformation is not the work of putting Band-Aids on the wounds of conflict, or responding to conflict like a fire fighter. This work is about a way of life and the transformation of our culture to a culture of justpeace.
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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 this Lenten Resource is the poem, “Poetry makes nothing happen,” by Craig Gilliam with a comment by a friend about the poem’s meaning for leaders; in addition, a Lent Prayer by Howard Thurman.
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.
The UMC General Conference can be a place of inspiration and exhilarating celebration through worship and prayer and interactions with persons throughout our connection. It can also be a place of deep pain and an awareness of the fractures within the Body of Christ.
In 2016, JustPeace is beginning an initiative to survey, network, connect and support leaders in the United Methodist Church who are working with youth in the areas of conflict transformation, mediation, racial justice, intercultural exchange and/or peacebuilding. This is part of a larger Network Weaving Initiative supported in part by the GCORR CORR Action Fund that will cultivate and sustain networks of leaders committed to conflict transformation and cultural competency.
We are happy to announce that David Anderson Hooker, member of the JustPeace staff team, will join the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies this summer as Professor and Practitioner of Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding.
In other words, when I enter a courageous conversation and find my anxiety rising, I remind myself that I have or will be given what I need to meet whatever or whoever emerges in the encounter. My primary task is to show up, to be present, and to pay attention; then, to offer what I can honestly and respectfully
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
David Anderson Hooker recently participated in a General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) video series called Vital Conversations. The video of his talk is supplemented by GCORR produced resources including a Discussion Guide and a quiz.