Redeeming Church Conflicts: Turning Crisis into Compassion and Care
(Baker, 2012) Tara Barthel and David C. Edling
The Facts: Barthel and Edling tackle a subject most would prefer to ignore yet all have to face. Drawing from their experience with Peacemaker Ministries, the authors face the reality of conflict within churches head-on, including the devastating effects unresolved conflicts have on congregants and mission. But this is ultimately a book about redemption. Hope permeates each chapter. Multiple case studies provide nice balance to the theology and advice.
The Slant: Does anyone actually want to think about conflict? We pastors are especially prone to avoid this subject, unless it's staring us in the face. But lest this book sound like the word equivalent of broccoli (you'll eat it, but won't like it), be assured that it's more like a hearty dinner with family. Yes, there are some hard realities to face, such as our own complicity in conflicts, but there's much to enjoy as well. The book is theologically rich, seasoned with wisdom that comes from years in the trenches of church conflict. The hope here is powerful: even our conflicts become opportunities for the gospel's redemptive work.