No, it’s not a generic wish for peace on earth, but a specific wish for those of us calling ourselves “Christian.” I wish that we — collectively and individually –could provide an example to the whole world of mercy, justice, civility, kindness, grace, acceptance, love, and joy, so that people would come to believe that faith in Christ actually makes some kind of difference. It is not that we should never have conflict, but that we negotiate our differences in a healthier way. It is not that we make everything right, but that we speak out in the face of injustice. It isn’t that we compromise our values, but that we value respect and dignity as much as we value being righteous. I wish we could become the body of Christ, able to serve and give and heal whenever and wherever we are — beginning in our own congregations.
It seems like there are two diseases. The inability to disagree and the inability to disagree in a Christian way.
Not long ago someone made the comment in the church I serve that they were really pleased that there was no conflict. Everyone gets along well with each other. But I suspect the truth is that fear of conflict runs so deep that we avoid it at all costs.
The death of a UMC church in the county after a bruising falling out over many issues is so alive that it keeps any hint of disagreement under wraps.
Add to your list of mercy, justice, love, etc, for some is the need for “truth.”
Blessed Christmastide to you and yours.
It seems to me a better starting place– certainly easier and less complicated– might be our workplaces or small groups rather than congregations. I think we can aspire to “work up” to change at that level, but we’ll get there with better skills if we’ve practiced them in less complex and less public systems.