Cloaked Cowards: A Theology of Conflict

Reagan Rose | April 2, 2019

Growing up, I had a tiny, white Maltese named Poppy. Poppy could not handle conflict.

Whenever there was an argument in our house, Poppy would begin to shiver and whine like a teakettle beginning to boil. If the raised voices carried on, he would carry his shivering white body on to the chest of the nearest seated person. From there, with pain-filled eyes and shortness of breath, he would climb to the shoulders. I am convinced, had he been endowed with a greater balance and canine dexterity, nothing would have pleased Poppy more than to stand on the crown of my head. What correlation that dog made between our domestic disagreements and his summit of Mount Human is anyone’s guess. But for Poppy, that was his method of coping with conflict.

I think of that dog’s conflict anxiety when I see how some Christians handle disagreement. If ever a theological discussion escalates beyond a placid tone of “agree to disagree,” observers begin shifting their weight, clearing their throats, and contemplating the carpet. I’ve had Christians with me while I was explaining the gospel to someone, and the Christians seemed more uncomfortable with the situation than the person being evangelized. So, while their apprehension may or may not lead them to physically climb onto your shoulders, the prospect of potential conflict makes many believers nervous.

Not Seeking Conflict, But Faithfulness

Certainly, Christians are to be peacemakers. And conflict, therefore, should not be sought or desired. But the problem with Poppy Christianity is that being a Christian requires believers to step into situations that are irreversibly awkward—situations that have the potential to turn contentious. We must not be so scared of strife that, in attempts to avoid it, we forsake our duties…

Continued at Source: The Master’s Seminary Blog

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