Love Letter to a Conflicted Church
Description: The book is organized into three divisions, and as the title implies, there is a brief letter in the form of a New Testament epistle to the contemporary church, a portion of which begins each chapter. The first division...
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Description: The book is organized into three divisions, and as the title implies, there is a brief letter in the form of a New Testament epistle to the contemporary church, a portion of which begins each chapter. The first division reexamines the gifts and redemptive possibilities of anger and conflict. The barriers to healthy anger-conflict are considered and addressed. In the second, attention is given to conflicts surrounding the Bible. There is a chapter on conflict and reconciliation in the Bible, followed by suggestions on how people who read the Bible differently from each other can resolve some of those differences. Consideration is also given to discovering biblical priorities for the contemporary church. The third division offers ""vistas of change and reconciliation."" Parables of hope and promise are provided. Insights from the studies of persons and communities as well as ethics and theology are summarized. There is reflection on those unresolved conflicts that continue in spite of our best efforts. Then moral imagination is engaged to visualize the opportunities for a church that moves beyond its present stalemates. Endorsements: ""This is an impressive resource for individuals and groups wanting to re-think the reality of conflict in churches. Olson works with a wide range of biblical stories and texts in pointing a positive path through conflict. In an engaging way, he presents a concise summary of concepts and tools important for responding to congregational conflict. And he goes beyond many authors in presenting the full range of possibilities, not just for reconciliation between individuals, but also between groups and nations. There is a lot here, both for individual readers as well as groups; accessible enough to be read by laypeople and rich enough to serve seminary classes."" --Ron Kraybill peacebuilding consultant and trainer ""I am delighted to read and endorse this important book by Dr. Richard Olson. He writes with the passion of a disciple, the heart of a pastor, and the mind of a theologian who loves the church. This book is written in a manner that encourages reflection and dialogue. It correctly presents conflict as a given in life and as an opportunity to explore new ways of relating. My hope is that church groups, including pastors, will digest and discuss the book before there is perceived conflict as a way to grow as the 'peacemakers' Christ calls his followers to be."" --Rev. Dwight M. Lundgren Coordinator of Intercultural Ministry-Reconciliation National Ministries ABCUSA About the Contributor(s): Richard P. Olson is Distinguished Professor of Pastoral Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas. He is the author of many works, including Ask Anything: A Pastoral Theology of Inquiry and Families of the Future.
Olson teaches at the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology in the areas of psychology and religion, professional ethics, integrative psychotherapy, and health psychology.