3 Habits to Support Reconciliation

by Charissa Bradstreet, Interim Rector

This past Sunday we started our new adult formation series, using The Difference Course that comes from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Reconciliation Ministry. This course takes seriously a call to follow the example Jesus provided of stepping into a world that is fragmented only to cross boundaries, challenge assumptions, and bring reconciliation and new life.

This course is not only about what is fractured “out there” but also about recognizing what is fractured within ourselves—and welcoming healing into those places. Together we will meet to reflect on current day stories and stories from scripture, practice skills that can help us more effectively engage in God’s call to reconciliation, and pray over difficult situations.

This course is organized around three core habits that support our ability to have reconciling conversations across difference. Whether or not you join us for the course, I invite you to take a moment now to reflect over these three habits and consider how they might apply to relationships and situations in your life:

Be Curious: Listen to others’ stories and see the world through their eyes.

“Demonstrating a true interest in who the person is and how they have experienced the world can make it possible to begin to tread trickier territory together, because the person knows they have been heard and honored. Curiosity about the other also leads us to discover some of the limitations of our own story and perception. It cultivates humility, acknowledging that we don’t have all the answers without diminishing the value of what we bring.”

  • Is there a relationship where you find yourself reacting instead of being truly curious?
  • What helps you lean in and look for what there is to value in someone with whom you disagree?

Be Present: Encounter others with authenticity and confidence.

“The Christian faith teaches that God became human and chose to be part of a hurting world. God’s response to injustice and hurt is to step into the context in a totally new way, teaching us what it means to be present. Being present means having the courage to bring our whole, unique selves, our vulnerabilities and insecurities, as well as our convictions and our strengths, and by doing so we can open up new depths of relationship.”

  • What difference does it make when you enter a conversation with vulnerability and empathy?
  • How can being present to what is going on in your own mind and body help you stay connected when a difficult topic comes up?

Reimagine: Find hope and opportunity in the places where we long to see change.

“Our worlds are shaped by our imagination, and when divisions and conflict seem like they will never change and we face repeated disappointment, it can sometimes be hard to find hope or to imagine an alternative where healing, restoration and thriving relationships are possible. The habit of reimagining encourages us to be renewed by the Holy Spirit, stretching our understanding of what is possible. It is rarely a solo experience and often done in community. For relationships to be restored, the systems and structures with which we are familiar may need to shift in new and reimagined ways.”

  • What kinds of conversations have you given up hope on having in a constructive way?
  • Where can you invite God’s perspective and look for where God may be leading?