We have just launched Reading the Bible Through the Lens of Conflict with Padraig O Tuama For Individuals and For Groups.
“Peace is not the absence of conflict; it is the ability to cope with conflict by peaceful means.” — President Ronald Reagan
“The opposite of war isn’t peace; it’s creation.” Jonathan Larson, who wrote and composed the musical Rent.
What did Ronald Reagan and Jonathan Larson, who wrote the 1996 musical Rent, have in common in terms of the way they understood the world? Very little. But they agreed in seeing the best opposition to violent conflict as a dynamic process rather than a static absence of conflict. Larson argued that creation — artistic creation; intellectual creation; the energy of building something new — is a strong opposition to violence. Reagan — whose administration stared down the Soviet Union with weapons drawn for many years but never fell into open war — saw the process of conflict management as the best alternative to violent interaction.
In this class, Padraig O Tuama defines peace as a process rather than a static condition — one that accommodates both of these approaches to opposing violence. Padraig, a poet, theologian, and public speaker who founded the Spirituality of Conflict project, wants our culture to embrace conflict, manage it, attend to it, and use it to inspire humanity to move forward. He sees managed conflict as a way to avoid settling into a dreary and/or cowardly acceptance of the status quo.
Padraig asks us to acknowledge conflict as a potential source both of great pain and violence and of great strength and inspiration. He hopes that we will use our readings of the gospels and the ways in which they discuss conflict to explore ways of utilizing conflict in our daily lives to improve the human condition.
This course is ideal for people who are looking for ways to manage conflict in our deeply divided culture. For a preview of this course, click here.