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The Varieties of Religious Strife

The level of conflict has less to do with the problem than with people's reaction to it. Just because people are open and honest with each other doesn't mean that real differences do not exist. Of course, as the stakes get higher, so does the possibility of more intense conflict.
— Speed Leas

Conflict comes in many colors.

We normally know it as red, fiery hot: shouting matches, withdrawn pledges, fired pastors, split churches. This type of conflict burns everyone it touches.

But conflict also comes in blue, as cool and calm as a placid mountain lake. Issues are moved, seconded, debated calmly, and voted upon. People walk out of meetings "losers" but not bitter or angry.

Other conflict is green, contributing to the growth of a congregation. Some is black, foreboding doom for the church. Some is an amorphous gray, uncertain and undecided but enveloping the church like fog.

So when we talk about church conflict, we're talking about many things. And when we talk about dealing with conflict, we ...

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