GOD IS ON BOTH SIDES!
Rev. Kathy Fisher Letter 11-08 to 11-20 2020
As you read this newsletter, the chances are good that we still do not know for sure who will be our next President of the United States. It has been a long battle, and for many people the strife and bickering over which side is correct has torn relationships asunder; but it doesn’t have to be that way.
I was fortunate to participate in Bishop David Graves’ recent “Bishop’s Time Apart” for the clergy of our Alabama-West Florida Conference. The bishop’s guest speaker was John Paul Lederach, who is internationally recognized for his breakthrough teaching related to conflict on all levels—person-to-person, factions within communities, and warring nations. He has traveled worldwide as a mediation trainer and conflict resolution consultant, working with governments, justice departments, youth programs, and other groups in Latin America, the Philippines, Cambodia, as well as Asia and Africa. In his time with us, he discussed his book titled Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians.
I’d like to share a few of the points he made because the information he imparted was simply wonderful and so much of it was wonderfully simple!
· Never forget to see humanity first! Being made in God’s image means there is something of God in every person.
· Find ways to define yourself as to what you really feel passionate about and then be transparent about it, without retreat or defensiveness.
· Develop and nurture a non-anxious presence, without being defensive, in the midst of a disagreement. Be invitational as you ask the other person to say more regarding the disagreement. This should help to reduce the level of anxiety as the conversation ensues.
· Stay with people! Stay in relationships as you work through disagreements.
Another point Lederach made was that in the Creation story, God was committed to diversity. Each of us is created in the image of God but each of us is also unique, so conflict was part of creation. But how we respond to conflict is where sin comes in! We must find a way to come alongside the person with which we disagree because
There is so much going on in our world today that causes us stress and anxiety, but I hope we can be encouraged to use these days of the pandemic wisely as we also take this time to rest. When the time comes to safely be out in the world again, we want to be energized to seek ways of healing our world from strife as we make disciples of Jesus Christ for true transformation of our hurting world.
May God’s peace be yours,