Category Archives: Conflict

High Ground, Slippery Slopes, and Bottomlands (Part 2)

Haven’t read Part One yet? Find it here.

Emperors and Elephants

Someone once observed, “It only takes one person to produce speech, but it requires the cooperation of all to produce silence.”36 History has its share of corporate silences. The Holocaust, for example, will not be remembered so much for the extraordinary numbers of people murdered in gas chambers as it will be remembered for the silent conspiracy that permitted such an unthinkable thing to happen.

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High Ground, Slippery Slopes, and Bottomlands (Part 1)

T. S. Eliot wrote, “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” How true. When conflict threatens to destroy us, we do our best to find a solution. But we do not always deal with our conflicts in the same way or employ the same strategies for untangling our hate-filled messes. In his book The Peacemaker, author Ken Sande depicts a range of 12 conflict-resolution strategies as a “slippery slope.” (See Illustration 1.)27 This panoramic view shows that at least half of our conflict-resolution strategies are actually negative and destructive.

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A Case Study

We read Genesis chapter 1 with jaw-dropping awe, scratching our heads at the intricacy and vastness of our universe and searching for a vocabulary to express our wonder. When words fail us, God provides the words of an inspired writer (Moses) to put creation’s super-miracles into perspective. Like the peal of a cosmic bell, Moses repeats the same proclamation seven times within the space of 31 verses: It is good, good, good, good, good, good; it is all very good. Then, like a lightning bolt that startles the night sky, two words trump everything that has been reported so far: Something is not good (Genesis 2:18).

Don’t despair! The Maker hasn’t suddenly detected a flaw. The story line is about to take an exciting new direction. The unexpected not good introduces an even more wonderful dimension of the Godhead. We are about to learn that the Maker’s heart beats to the rhythm of a boundless love for his own dear, image-bearing creature. Continue reading

Predictable Patterns

Big storms are common along the Atlantic Seaboard. Old salts call them nor’easters. In 1991, early in the last week of October, a nor’easter named Hurricane Grace skipped along the coast, skirting the Bahamas. By midweek a second cyclonic depression had slipped down the coast from Nova Scotia to join forces with Grace. Sometime on October 30, the two systems merged about 100 miles off Cape Cod. Continue reading

Sin That Entangles

The Bible doesn’t provide a lot of details in its account of the first human conflict. Moses (the author of Genesis) devoted only five sparse verses to a description of how Cain’s felony went down. Moses’ narrative leaves readers wondering why the account lacks the passion for such a brutal crime. It also leaves open questions about Cain’s underlying motive and why he would kill Abel if he is really angry at God. Continue reading