Class 3 Notes
How to Christians respond to conflict?
Radical (trajectory) – a variety of meanings
1. Adjective – meaning from the roots
2. Adjective - challenging and extreme in ones views – forward looking
3. Noun – a person can be a radical
4. Slang – “rad” meaning cool
Christianity is an invitation to look at conflict and peace differently. When you look at the world
it’s full of hexagons (the quilt he showed us that was hard to find the pattern of hexagons); the
world is not full of chaos: there is purpose and love, a plan and a Creator.
Ambivalence: things that co-exist that would otherwise be contradicting or separate
The article Have Christians done more harm than good pokes at this
o He comes up with the idea that it’s tied up with political things but we need to be
fair to Christianity in that at a basic level it hosts contradictory claims which leads
toward a redemptive trajectory.
o Christianity at its core – can we justify violence?
So ultimately it is not contradicting, it merely seems that way without
looking at the whole picture.
Within the Christian story there is much ambivalence.
o Life and death
o Violence and Non-violence
o God’s will – multiple understandings of the will of God
Theme of conflict within Christianity – how do Christians respond to conflict?
Our society tells us how to behave and expects us to react a certain way to conflict. In peace
making though we see the alternative ways to handle conflict.
John Paul Lederach – he says: when you look in general at Christian communities you can see an
unwritten rule in conflict: “Always be nice.” There’s something in Christianity that is an obstacle
to healthy conflict.
Online article: Tangle Knots – read this article about Conflict Transformation by Carolyn
Schrock-Shenk. Here are some other ideas in some of her other writings, regarding conflict:
Christians need to see conflict as being normal and natural rather than chaotic and wrong
Why is there conflict? Because there is diversity among us. Conflict often has to do with
how we deal with difference (or “the other”).
Conflict has to do with how we connect or disconnect with each other
We each have part of the truth
o Part of resolving conflict is communicating and figuring out each person’s truth
rather than proving one person is right and is true.
Conflict is a spiritual task
Ways to respond to Conflict:
1. Conflict Resolution – the conflict is resolved, solve it so you can move on, there’s closure