FT: Is there a way for the Church to
combat that wrong idea of having it all
MV: I know this is extremely difficult for
pastors, but a little more transparency
from them about their struggles in their
own lives could be a great way to model
for parishioners that this is okay. But for
some pastors it can sound like they’re not
functioning well in their jobs, so it’s hard.
As church congregations, very seldom
do we know how to have difficult conversations with each other in a safe way.
Churches could focus on developing patterns of communication that make it safe
for people to express their deepest feelings,
even when there is disagreement.
FT: What would a difficult conversation
in a church be about?
MV: Here is a common one – traditional
versus contemporary worship. Rather
than speak about it, people tend to cau-
cus in their own group and write letters of
complaint without speaking to the people
they’re opposed to. Whole conflicts can de-
velop along those lines, and they can even
become polarizations along multi-genera-
tional lines if they’re not dealt with. If we’re
a church where it is normal and routine to
have those difficult conversations, then we
can gather in a circle where no one gets
interrupted, everyone can speak, and we
find ways to hear each
other. We talk about
conflict friendly. Con-
flict is welcomed as
an invitation to deep-
en relationships with
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