Taming the Wolf: Peace through Faith was written to help readers resolve conflict in their lives and in the lives of those dear to them.
Chapters guide readers through the conflict resolution process with practical lessons designed to address difficult situations that crush happiness and turn life into a burden.
Unresolved conflict persists when two parties oppose one another and allow opposition to become locked into place. Conflict then takes on the character of a runaway train: parties feel as if they are hurtling down the tracks toward disaster with Fate at the controls.
In order to avoid ruinous consequences of unresolved conflict, something has to change—transformation must take place. Taming the Wolf guides the reader through transformation to reconciliation.
Taming the Wolf is a road map for change when conflict escalates. The book explores spiritual aspects of conflict resolution and the role faith plays in peacemaking. With emphasis on the role of faith, the Taming the Wolf approach might best be called spiritually transforming mediation.
Who should read Taming the Wolf?
Conflict affects everyone. No one gets through life or even a single day without encountering differences. Conflicting interests, views, needs, activities, positions, and identities must be worked out in order to maintain relationships and harmony.
Most of the time we are able to resolve conflict quickly and we give it little thought. We experience the give–and–take of social life. But a small percentage of those conflicts do not resolve easily and their adverse effects diminish the quality of our lives.
In addressing how to resolve the more difficult differences, Taming the Wolf speaks to all who wish to make their life more productive, more enjoyable, and more harmonious. The book may offer special value for those who:
- face adverse consequences of unresolved conflict
- desire to help others resolve conflict
- worry over turmoil unresolved conflict inflicts on our global neighborhood
- dream of a more peaceful world where all can prosper
- wish to deepen their faith by practicing peacemaking
- hear St. Francis speak to their heart
- suffer the bite of their own personal wolf
- struggle with conflict over differences in faith
- do not follow a faith tradition, yet seek effective ways to resolve conflict
The Taming the Wolf Approach
Taming the Wolf guides the reader through the mediation process from the pre-convening stage to reconciliation. It’s structure follows the mediation process, informing the reader of decisions they will need to make and options they may select. It prepares the reader to participate in mediation, making informed decisions and choices.
Self‐assessment prompts guide the party through the work they will need to complete. To use the book to full advantage, readers should document their responses to the prompts in a confidential mediation journal. This journal becomes a record of the conflict; it motivates the disputant to analyze the conflict at a deeper level; it documents the narrative of change that takes place; and it becomes a record of the story of spiritual transformation.
Taming the Wolf considers spiritual concerns in mediation. It covers topics not ordinarily found in texts on mediation and conflict resolution. These additional topics include:
- an introduction to the life of St. Francis of Assisi
- a discussion of St. Francis’ role as our guide on the reconciliation journey
- recognition that the “Prince of Peace” (Jesus Christ) is the ultimate model of reconciliation
- understanding role of the Divine in conflict resolution and reconciliation.
- reasons a spiritually‐based conflict resolution model proves successful for so many people
The structure of Taming the Wolf
Each chapter is divided into sections that provide a variety of tools to aid in the conflict resolution task. The reader will want to revisit sections as they work through a conflict.
In other words, readers should complete a chapter and then, at a later stage, return to complete tasks not fully realized on the first pass. Sections include:
- excerpts from the legend St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio
- discussion of key mediation principles and conflict resolution themes
- prompts to guide self‐analysis and assessment
- resources for additional study
Excerpts from the legend inspire contemplation. Story and metaphor transport readers to places logic and rules will not take them. After reading an excerpt, allow for a moment of silent contemplation. Ask how you might have acted if you were St. Francis.
Discussion of mediation principles provides the reader with a foundation in the theory and practice of mediation. This section acquaints the reader with concepts and practices employed by mediators and prepares readers to take an active and informed role in mediation. These discussions provide the knowledge and skills that make success possible.
Another section (the workbook) provides self analysis and assessment prompts. The reader engages the process at a very personal level with prompts designed to raise issues they may not have considered. Prompts encourage a deeper level of analysis of the conflict; they are questions often encountered in mediation, though the list is more exhaustive than found elsewhere. The prompts are not simply a checklist; they are invitations to contemplative self analysis and reasoned assessment of factors driving conflict. For maximum benefit, the reader is advised to respond thoughtfully and log responses in a confidential mediation journal.
Passages from sacred texts help readers shift gears. After applying mediation principles, they may still experience a sense of impasse. They may find conflict has hardened their hearts. They may find logic, reason, and argument dominate their thoughts. Reading sacred texts shifts readers to a more transcendent frame. Taking advantage of the way sacred story informs intuition, readers may find sacred texts deliver new and unexpected insights.
Why Read This Book?
Most men and women desire peace.
They do not relish conflict, whether with intimate partners such as their spouses, with extended family, with neighbors, or with members of other cultures or ethnic groups.
They do not look forward to conflict with business partners, with employers or employees, or with their government. Their hearts grow sad when their country enters into conflict with other nations or peoples, exacting terrible personal and collective costs.
Yet conflict seems inevitable, and the desire to live a peaceful life is insufficient. Our desire for peace, while a requisite starting point, does not guarantee peace.
To enjoy peace, we must apply conflict management skills. In Taming the Wolf: Peace through Faith readers can discover the conflict resolution process, learn about mediation, and explore practical approaches to managing and resolving conflict.
The style of mediation presented in Taming the Wolf leads to increased spiritual awareness that improves our ability to address future conflict. Conflict, when resolved with a spiritually transforming approach, turns conflict from adversity into opportunity.