Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-16, NRSV
Location: First preached at Grace Presbyterian Church of Ft. Worth, Florida
Truth be told, Christians often don’t do much to diffuse conflict methodology in culture. In recent history in particular we have chosen two unhelpful ways of engaging with such conflict methodology. We either exacerbate the problem with Supremacy Theology or we retreat from our problems with Escapism Theology.
We enact Supremacy Theology with someone when we unilaterally dismiss the possibility that even part of what they might be saying could be correct. Instead we insist that it’s my way or the highway. There is no room for thoughtful debate on an issue because our “opponent” must be unilaterally wrong.
The obvious difficulty with this theological position is that is derived from pride not humility. And that is problematic because, when utilizing this method of thought, we assume in our arrogance that we absolutely know the will of God, thus putting God conveniently in a box.
We continue to see this kind of theology enacted by Christians when it comes to American politics. The other side has nothing helpful to offer. They are just wrong.
The other main way that Christians have come to engage in conflict methodology is to enact Escapism Theology. Literally we just decide to disengage from the problem altogether. We seek to hide from people engaging in conflict methodology.
Often this results from a general frustration. We don’t know how to act in a way that is helpful. We find ourselves getting lured into behaving in ways that we know we shouldn’t. So we retreat.
The difficulty with this theology though is that it assumes that God isn’t powerful enough to help us to navigate through a problem. Often times when we disengage from our problems we also disengage from God. Instead of turning to God to find a way forward, maybe even a way that we might not prefer, we seek to escape the conflict methodology altogether.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t take too long for most to realize that the conflict won’t stop just because we withdraw. We just fail to learn how to productively address conflict. By withdrawing we forfeit the opportunity for God to form us into the divine caretakers that we are called to be.
Reality Changing Observations:
Q1. Was there ever a time that you were tempted to enact Supremacy Theology and, if so, what about the situation you faced encouraged you to do so?
Q2. Was there ever a time that you were tempted to enact Escapism Theology and, if so, what about the situation you faced encouraged you to do so?
Q3. How might pausing to hear God speak into your life influence how you engage conflict methodology?