The quote from Wright in yesterday’s post struck me because I’ve been thinking a bit lately about church conflicts.
When there’s communal breakdown, sides develop, with this side envisioning that side as “the problem.” Anger is stirred and sides provoke one another to endlessly cyclical sinful reactions.
The solution is obvious, at least to us: “they” must change or leave. “They” are an obstacle to our church being a community that enjoys God’s blessing.
We need to keep in mind that whenever we think this way, we’ve become the problem. We have allied ourselves to the cosmic power of Sin that destroys communities by turning God’s people against one another.
The only way through or beyond these conflicts is for everyone in the community to return to regarding one another as gifts to be received with thanksgiving.
In the midst of conflict, Sin takes imaginations captive and we begin to see one another through perverted lenses.
Community members can die to Sin by resisting the urge to move in strength against others and refusing to demand that they change or leave. That’s one way we can embody cruciformity, unleashing God’s resurrection power for our community’s healing.
There’s obviously much more and much else to be said about church conflicts. But I’ve learned from experience that pathways to communal health are never for this or that person or “side” to leave or change.
The way forward is found when there’s a repentance of vision—a transformation of the imagination—so that communal health is found through a renewed embrace of one another.