Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has a new book published today: ‘The Power of Reconciliation.’ He wrote an article about it yesterday, describing reconciliation as ‘seeking to disagree well’. ‘
Throughout history the Christian church has disagreed badly with disagreements, divisions, excommunications and wars…
I’ve attended church all of my life. My experience, the experience of many friends is that churches still disagree badly, causing division and pain. I’ve seen many people damaged, rejected, leaving churches…
We can’t change the fact that we’re all different in opinions, beliefs, practices. Diversity, differences and disagreement will always be there. It’s how we handle those differences that’s most important.
Justin Welby suggests ‘three habits, which, when practised, are transformational’:
- ‘Be curious… truly wanting to know others, to hear their stories and understand their perspectives…’
I listen, looking outwards beyond myself. I try to see life through the eyes of others. I’m not defensive or judgemental. I become vulnerable; I may be wrong. Challenging my preconceptions, views and practices may be uncomfortable.
- ‘Be present… having the courage to encounter others with authenticity, giving them our full attention – even when we disagree with them or find them difficult…’
I’m intentional in spending time and conversation with those who are different from me It may require… humility and strength to retain my conviction yet remain loving… facing up to power or conflict in a spirit of peace… rediscovering my own fears and faults.
- ‘Reimagine… Reconciliation requires the moral imagination to hope for something different, even after generations of repeating the same cycles of violence…’
I continue to be optimistic. Christian faith looks beyond our limitations. It always moves from human failure, pain and death to supernatural hope, transformation and resurrection.
Musing… Jesus, teaching peace and unity, said: ‘Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.’
…No exceptions, no excuses…