Monday, 1 February 2010


Another topic in vogue in the church at present is conflict resolution. In many ways it's good to bring into the open issues that have long plagued the institution. However, there is always the danger when things become "trendy" that those who opt out or who fail to engage with current perceived wisdom are seen as lacking.
There are times when confrontation will not, in fact, do much good other than to highlight bad behaviour and make one feel courageous for having named the elephant in the room. The actual behaviour may not change but, rather, become more entrenched in response to challenge. Energy expended may not produce the desired effect. Sometimes there is a way of circumnavigating problems that might be more effective and mean that folk are not alienated or become defensive. Of course those who can name the conflict will often be disappointed if it is not confronted and resolved, if perpetrators are not called out to change. I am learning to live with being a disappointment. The Kingdom is full of them. How often did Jesus disappoint the folk around him, not because he was afraid of conflict, far from it, but because he found another way, the way of love?


Danny said...

Yes it certainly is in vogue... I am just back from the first year in ministry conference... it ran Mon pm to Wed lunch time and the whole of Tuesday (three sessions) was given over to this, despite us having had something on conflict at nearly all our probationer's conferences.

Confrontation does not always help (for all the reasons you mention) sometimes it can just fan the flames and give the attention seeker(s) the very thing they desire.And frequently those who name the conflict don't want change so much as others coming around to their way of thinking or doing things.

We will never please everyone... so if you are a disappointment you are certainly not alone :)

liz said...

Thanks for that wisdom. Maybe we should get together a meeting for the "disappointers". Prove that we're not lacking in courage - we can just see an alternative strategy to expend energy.

Tom said...

Well done Danny couldn't have put it better myself. Confrontation is rarely if ever a successful strategy. Those who engage it do so simply to bully others into their way of thinking.

So looks like we have a trio of "disappointers" lol :)

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