I recently received an email from an office bearer who was heading into a council meeting that very night. It would be the third meeting in a row devoted to a particularly thorny issue. As is often the case, the issue had divided the congregation. And, as is often the case, more energy was being devoted to managing the conflict than discussing the issue.
Someone once said that conflict occurs whenever you have two people in the same zip code. In other words, conflict is natural. It occurs because we’re all different from one another and we’re all incubators of diseases like pride and selfishness. That means that in our world and in our hearts the differences between us often lead to conflict rather than delight.
Of course, my friend the office bearer isn’t thinking about sin or perfection, conflict or delight. She is thinking about the issue that has gripped her congregation and the conflict that the differences are generating.
- What advice would you give to her?
- What might you say about the opportunities that come alongside the dangers that come with conflict?
- What might you say about how people who disagree should communicate with and about one another?
- What might you say about the values that lie behind the positions that people take, and how those values might be brought to light?
- What might you say about the stories and experiences that bring people to their values, and how those stories might be brought to light?
- And what might you say about where Jesus is to be found when people disagree and then collide with one another?
Please share your thoughts and reflections. Write them below. . .