At Peace Hub, we often talk about ‘big’ peace & justice issues – but what happens when conflict arises in our own lives? In this guest article, Rhiannon Grant explores how Living with Conflict can help.
Living With Conflict is a set of online resources to help people think about how conflict and disagreement are handled in their communities. It might be useful for anyone, but is aimed mainly at members of pacifist religious groups, because we think that these communities can have different problems with conflict. If you spend a lot of time trying to create peace in the world, and your message to other people is all about how peaceful you are, it can be especially scary if an argument breaks out among your own group. How can we handle that? How can we be ready to do conflict well ourselves, even when we are busy doing peace work with others?
At Living with Conflict, we don’t have any neat answers – but we do have questions, and suggestions, and reassurance that you are not alone in facing these issues. We have guides for thinking about how you respond to conflict, stories about conflicts and how they have been handled, ideas about how to use the website with other people, and a heap of other things.
The core of our material is based on research in which Susan Robson looked at Quakers, Mennonites, and other Peace Churches to see how they handled conflict within their faith communities. She concluded that ‘Being Peace-able’ did sometimes stand in the way of handling life’s inevitable conflicts in a healthy way – but that there are ways we can improve on this. Inspired by the American Mennonite community’s document Agreeing and Disagreeing in Love, Living with Conflict has tried to work through how these ideas might be applied and used by Quakers and others. This can include using Biblical texts as a foundation, drawing on a wide range of traditions for ideas (as in our piece about listening from Buddhist, feminist and Quaker perspectives), and sharing stories about successes so others can learn from them.
Living with Conflict is currently edited by Rhiannon Grant, and contains material written by Susan Robson, Rhiannon Grant, and many others who have submitted individual pieces. It is a constantly growing resource – for updates, follow us on Facebook or sign up to our newsletter – and we are always pleased to hear from others. What’s your conflict story?