Thursday, February 19, 2009

HEART AT WAR, HEART AT PEACE

Our Unleavened Bread Cafe roundtable is talking through The Anatomy of Peace

A GNARLY BUT INCREDIBLE GROUP. It's a gnarly group that meets around pushed-together tables at Unleavened Bread Cafe every Wednesday morning. Gnarly...but robust, respectful, insightful, broad, deep, and diverse. Over the years we've worked through books of the Bible and discussed books by the likes of Shane Claiborne, Jim Wallis, Christine Pohl, Donald Kraybill, and Brian McLaren. Currently, we're talking through The Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute. Here are few snippets from early in the book subtitled "Resolving the Heart of Conflict":

HELPING THINGS GO RIGHT. "I become an agent of change only to the degree that I begin to live to help things go right rather than simply to correct things that are going wrong. Rather than simply correcting, for example, I need to reenergize my teaching, my helping, my listening, my learning. I need to put time and effort into building relationships."

PEOPLE LIKE OURSELVES OR OBJECTS? "In the way we regard our children, our spouses, neighbors, colleagues, and strangers, we choose to see others either as people like ourselves or objects. They either count like we do or they don't. In the former case, since we regard them as we regard ourselves, we say our hearts are at peace toward them. In the latter case, since we systematically view them as inferior, we say our hearts are at war."

VIOLENCE OF HOW WE VIEW OTHERS. "Seeing an equal person as an inferior object is an act of violence. It hurts as much as a punch in the face. In fact, in many ways it hurts more. Bruises heal more quickly than emotional scars do."

WAY OF BEING VS BEHAVIOR. "Generally speaking, we respond to others' way of being toward us rather than to their behavior. Which is to say that our children respond more to how we're regarding them than they do to our particular words or actions. We can treat our children fairly, for example, but if our hearts are warring toward them while we're doing it, they won't think they're being treated fairly at all. In fact, they'll respond to us as if they weren't being treated fairly at all."

SKEWED VIEW. "As important as behavior is, most problems at home, at work, and in the world are not failures of strategy but failures of way of being. When our hearts are at war, we can't see situations clearly, we can't consider others' positions seriously enough to solve difficult problems, and we end up provoking hurtful behavior in others."

More as we get further in the book. Check back weekly.

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility. Shalom!

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Your tasteful comments and/or questions are welcome. Posts are moderated only to reduce a few instances of incivility.