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Being involved

Committing oneself to settle the inevitable conflicts

It is important to make a clear distinction between what happens in a group where all the members meet regularly (for example every month or fortnight) to work out decisions (as is the case in a governing body), and what happens in a group where the participants have the choice of whether or not to be present, according to their convenience, for example in order to pray and share the Sunday gospel.

Let's call the first type of group a "decision-making group", and the second a "Bible-sharing group".

In a "Bible-sharing group" as defined above, conflicts will never be worked out together because it's easy to avoid them by no longer taking part in the meetings.

In a "decision-making group", when conflicts arise, prayer and sharing the Gospel are not enough to get through them.

Therefore, for spiritual conversation (or conversation in the Spirit) to prepare us to make decisions together (whether as a couple, in the family, at work or in the Church), and to prepare us to work through the conflicts inherent in all living organisms, it is necessary that this conversation

  • be practised for a certain period of time (1 year if possible), as a training course, in a group whose members undertake to meet together on a regular basis (at least once a month)

addresses the most vital issues in the human and Christian experience. For example, sharing what our deepest desires are, what experiences of God we have had, what moves us in the resurrection of Lazarus, what challenges us in the testimony of people who have had a near-death experience (NDE)... Examples are given in the document that can be downloaded Creating a group.

When an ecclesial governing body is working well, it is worth helping it to work even better by suggesting that it implement some tips for looking after its meetings. Examples are provided in the document that can be downloaded Tips for meetings. The advantage of this procedure is that it can be practised during regular meetings, without the need for prior training, and without having to call on the expertise of someone from outside the group.

When conflicts in a Church leadership body cannot be resolved without outside help, a mediator should be called in. Experience shows that mediators trained in Marshall Rosenberg's "NonViolent Communication" (which implies recourse to divine Love), help to overcome conflicts in the long term. Their secret is to help translate grievances into vital, unsatisfied human needs. For example, the need to be listened to, to be understood, to have self-esteem, to contribute to the common good... (See the document Practising NVC) .