“Peace in the Parish” is a webinar course in faith-based reconciliation. Watch all eight episodes at your convenience, or revisit specific episodes to reflect on the concepts presented.
Please share the series with associates and friends.
The live presentations were delivered by mediator and author Greg Stone and Fr. Jim Clarke of St. John’s Seminary, with guest appearances by Fr. John Higgins and the Rev. Canon Brian Cox.
Each episode includes a downloadable PowerPoint presentation, complete with notes and links to supporting resources and files.
Study groups and workshops are available — contact Taming the Wolf Institute.
Note: Each episode may take up to three minutes to load after you click the link.
Webisode #1 — Tuesday, September 16, 2014
In the first episode fundamentals of faith-based reconciliation are presented. Viewers are oriented to the tasks that lie ahead. Topics included:
- Mediation redefined as a Spirit-driven process
- Process and structure foster “well-ordered love of neighbor”
- Conflict emerges from a Fallen World
- Individual free will must align with Will of God
- Matthew 18:15-17 compared with the Power – Rights – Interests model
- Assessing conflict dynamics, causes and effects
- Habitual responses inhibit our approach to conflict
- Choreographing divine collaboration
- Going “below the line” from positions to interests
For more information on the conflict grid discussed in Session #1 see the work of Thomas & Kilmann. Paper or online copies of the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), can be purchased online should you wish to use the tool to prompt discussion within a parish group. Or, you may wish to complete the Instrument to enhance your evaluation skills.
The book Taming the Wolf: Peace through Faith is provided as a Free PDF download that makes it easy for you to use the text when counseling parties.
The legend of St. Francis taming the fierce wolf of Gubbio lays out the conflict resolution arc from a faith-based perspective. You may find this tool valuable within the parish setting.
Webisode #2 — Tuesday, September 23, 2014
The challenges of convening are explored – how do we bring parties to the table? In this webcast we discuss:
- Reconciling with our Brother and with God, the Dual Axis Model
- Seeing the Divine [image and likeness of God] in the other
- Moving past the False Self
- Transition from False Self into Divine Self
- Assessing conflict, a BE - DO - HAVE model
- Overcoming barriers to convening
- Building bridges over emotional walls
- Settlement Criteria
- Opposition to the Will of God — confronting evil
Download Reflections on the False Self. Quotes by Thomas Merton, Pope Benedict XVI, John Talbot, St. Paul, and more.
Webisode #3 —Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Uncovering “what happened" — the art of discovery. The use of narrative is explored. Topics covered include:
- Intro to Hidden Influence and Destructive Third Party
- False Attribution Error
- Narrative: helping parties tell their story
- Hero’s Journey provides classic elements of story
- Guiding narrative with story elements and character arc
- Difficult Conversations and communication barriers
- Active listening
- Communication: duplication, framing, paraphrasing
- Face Work – Saving, Restoring, Protecting Face
- Face of a Franciscan
- Narrative accounts — redrafting for greater accuracy
- Normalizing conflict resolution with System Design
For additional reading consider the following:
The Writer’s Journey introduces elements of dramatic storytelling. Began as a memo to Disney screenwriters.
The Threefold Way of St. Francis inspiring volume by Friar Murray Bodo in which he speaks of the Franciscan face.
The Humility of God by Ilia Delio introduces Franciscan spirituality and humility. Insights for mediation demeanor.
Difficult Conversations is an easy-to-read guide to communicate. How to choreograph a conciliatory conversation. From Harvard’s Project on Negotiation.
Webisode #4 —Tuesday, October 7, 2014
The fourth episode covers apology and forgiveness. We may assume we understand apology but rarely do we reflect on factors that make an apology work for the offended party. A faulty apology derails reconciliation. We also may have a cursory knowledge of forgiveness, lacking ability to coach another through this difficult step.
- Apology and Forgiveness – Keys to Reconciliation
- Apology must satisfy needs of the harmed party
- Assessing needs satisfied
- Errors that sabotage apology
- Challenge of Hidden Guilt
- Forgiveness is a gift of divine grace
- Forgiveness is not logical, not rational
- Forgiveness does not balance the scales
- Forgiveness is act of will requiring divine perspective
- Barriers to forgiving
- Healing hurt, overcoming hate
- Managing the desire for revenge
Webisode #5 — Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Negotiating the exchange of valuables, tangible and intangible, and bringing satisfaction to both parties. A collaborative “dance” allows us to arrive at “a deal” that will endure.
- Negotiated agreement leaves parties satisfied they reached best possible outcome
- Principled guidelines insure fairness and reciprocity
- Seeking psychological, procedural, and substantive satisfaction
- Determining valid criteria for settlement
- Criteria drawn from needs and interests, values and worldviews, and the Will of God
- Mental shortcuts may cause faulty reasoning
- Managing emotional response to risk
- Sound guidelines reduce or eliminate manipulative tactics
- Constructive Third Parties versus Destructive Third Parties
- Discovery process – information or impeachment
- Managing use of power during negotiation
- Paradox of power — turning the other cheek
- Identifying types of power we possess
Webisode #6 — Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Fr. John Higgins of St. Raymond’s in Downey joins Fr. Jim Clarke and Greg Stone to discuss The Hidden Influence and wrestling with fear that gives rise to evil intentions. Fear that blocks reconciliation efforts, situational threat and unhealed wounds are considered. Discussion of the destructive third party — the gossip, the character assassin, or detractor — who drives the conflict from the shadows, a pattern established by the Serpent who fomented conflict between Man and God.
- Unable to accept divine forgiveness we are unable to forgive self, which gives rise to fear
- Temporary impasse common; intractable impasse requires special approach
- Impasse from opposition to the Will of God
- When others seek to bend our will in opposition to God
- St. Peter forced learned new ways of confronting evil, starting in Garden of Gethsemane
- Assessing Constructive vs Destructive Third Party
- Managing deception
- Identifying Hidden Influences
- Locating Destructive Third Party
- False Attribution Error
- Discerning evil from false attribution
- Situation-based fear; situational solutions
- Unhealed wounds and harmful intentions
The following are valuable resources that accompany Session #6:
Snakes in Suits describes psychopaths influencing organizations. Knowing the profile will help you identify damaging effects of a psychopath at work.
Rev. Louis J. Cameli wrote a practical guide for recognizing the evil that fosters harm. He eschews overly dramatic accounts and provides a profile of deception, division, discouragement and diversion that evil introduces.
Doug McManaman’s concise analysis of evil in the article “Narcissism and the Dynamics of Evil” is one of the best in the literature. Detailed and practical insights. An inventory of realistic markers that help identify difficult situations in conflict resolution.
Webisode # 7 — Tuesday, November 4, 2014
The challenge of impasse explored further, with emphasis on existential fear. This fear-driven scenario is what we commonly consider evil. This impasse dictates we utilize the resources of faith to the highest extent possible.
- In Fallen World bring peace by aligning with the Will of God
- In encounter with direct opposition to the Will of God, we face evil
- Deep-seated, existential fear gives rise to evil
- Deep fear results in behavior of a psychopath
- Person consumed by evil intentions usually operates covertly
- Party targeted by a psychopath feels trapped, unable to respond or escape
- Use of force results in additional entrapment
- Sometimes we must walk away, if not sufficiently spiritually formed
- Francis sought solitude and contemplative prayer
- Francis contemplated the suffering of Christ and thus learned to confront evil
- A person consumed with existential fear rejects love, seeing it as a Trojan Horse
- Managing deception requires discernment
- Narrative accounts redraft story toward acceptable truths
- Assessing logic of a story provides “strings to pull”
- Investigating gossip locates off-stage drivers of conflict
- Normalize conflict resolution with well-designed systems that offer safety and security
- Ombudsman improves communication, increasing security and confidence
- Process brings order out of confusion
The Word Made Love: The Dialogical Theology of Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI surveys theology that underlies many of concepts presented in this series.
St. John’s Seminary Academic Dean, Dr. Anthony Lilles, has written on the rich tradition of Catholic prayer, with emphasis on the Carmelite tradition. Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: A Theological Contemplation on Prayer introduces value of contemplative prayer.
Ewert Cousins provides an excellent translation of St. Bonaventure’s classic mystical study, The Soul’s Journey into God. Understanding the Franciscan spiritual tradition through Bonaventure assists our peacemaking.
Dig deeper into the tradition of Saint Francis of Assisi with this extensive three-volume set, Francis of Assisi – The Early Documents vol 1 -3. Most parishes would benefit from having a copy in their library.
Webisode # 8 — Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Faith-Based Diplomacy is an emerging discipline that addresses large-scale conflict with faith resources. The Canon Brian Cox of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy joins Greg Stone and Fr. Jim Clarke to discuss faith in diplomacy.
- Faith-based reconciliation and eight core values
- Core values provide common ground
- Reciprocity and the Golden Rule
- We make peace with our Brother while reconciling with God
- Prayer and fasting teams
- Divine Providence brings the Will of God into our lives
- Convening and communication challenges
- Agreements seeking enduring peace must be platforms for change
The Canon Brian Cox has practiced faith-based diplomacy in the Middle East, Egypt, the Kashmir, and in Eastern Europe. He provides an introduction to the principles involved in Faith-Based Reconciliation.
Mennonite peacemaker John Paul Lederach, of the Kroc Institute for Peace Studies at Notre Dame, has written an inspiring reflection on conflict resolution approaches, The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace.
The Taming the Wolf Institute’s website offers links and ideas that assist in compiling your peacemaker’s toolbox.
In this video produced by Greg Stone for Pepperdine Law School, the Canon Brian Cox, along with guests, introduces faith-based diplomacy.