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Courage, Curiosity and Connection Changes Communities – What is Your Part in Social Justice?

Social JusticeWe often hear the term ‘social justice’ but what is it and why does it matter?

In this world where’s there’s increasing hostility towards difference, how can we be upstanders for social justice not only in the workplace but also in our family and friendship networks?

We talk to Dr. Greg Curran who was awakened to the need for social justice in his primary school years, and who continues to be driven by it in his teaching today. Read, Listen, Share »

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Church Turbulence – Resolving Conflict with Communication, Conversation and Community

church-split-5Conflicts are a substantial part of everyone’s life. Whether you are driving to work or walking your dog, conflict can be sparked by any simple situation. Not only is conflict unavoidable, but it also has no barriers. It is present in small group meetings and even in large classrooms. From town hall meetings to church communities, conflict remains a key characteristic of human interaction. However, one might wonder how it could even be possible for conflicts to arise in a peaceful setting such as a church. Disagreements and misunderstandings are realistic possibilities for potential conflicts in church communities. Differences about religious strictness and practices, as well as other secular disputes between members are common conflicts in the church as well. Variances in beliefs as well as the willingness to modify views also create many disagreements.

This week’s Texas Conflict Coach® radio program featured Joey Cope, the Executive Director of the Duncum Center for Conflict Resolution. Their website provides resources for resolving conflicts in the church. One page, Resolving Church Conflicts, provided by the Center, states that in order to be successful in resolving church related conflicts, one “must seek a commitment to peace — for you personally, for your church leaders, and eventually for your entire church membership”. Their strategies for peace-making rely on what they call “the 3 C’s”.

The first strategy is Communication. The article stresses the importance of actively dealing with conflicts in the church rather than avoiding them. Communication is a key aspect when attempting to reach a resolution between parties. The second strategy draws upon communication, and takes it a step further. Conversation is an enrichment of communication and deals more directly with interpersonal exchanges of ideas between parties. Conversation allows individuals to establish basic relationships, while building the skills necessary to express their perspectives. The final strategy deals with the importance of Community. Possibly the most important aspect of “the 3 C’s”, a committed community is essential for conflict resolution to take place. Additionally, it is important for church leaders to be dedicated to their beliefs. This devotion to the church makes getting to a resolution more significant and conceivable. The article stresses the importance of community by stating that “if we have no commitment to community, we will never see peace in our churches.”

Churches and church communities might be hesitant to seek a neutral third party to help resolve disputes because of the belief that conflicts should not occur in the first place. According to Joey Cope, “Peace is not the absence of conflict.” Conflicts do arise in a peaceful environment and can be resolved through religious principles and practice. Realistically, some conflicts in the church will require a third party neutral to facilitate conversations in order to find a mutual resolution. Check out another previous radio program, Mediating with True Believers, to learn more about how church members use neutral mediators and how religious communities respond to conflict, in general.

 

John Wagner

Student Intern

Salisbury University – Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution

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Navajo Peacemaking – Bringing Indigenous Wisdom into Healing Community Tragedies

Robb Redsteerzena ZumetaStephenKotev2Tragedy not only destroys families it leaves aftershocks of substance abuse, violence and hatred within the community. Calling upon centuries of tradition and experience, Navajo Peacemakers use their traditional wisdom, methods and customs to help heal this tragedy.  Navajo Peacemaker, Robb Redsteer will discuss how this tradition moves communities through denial and anger to heal old wounds and return to balance.

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More Information:

Navajo Peacemaking Demo: April 17, 2008

Letter to the Navajo Times,

Dr. Devon Mihesuah,

Navajo Justice,

Mr. Philmer Bluehouse

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