Making peace is more than seeing the bad things

Friday, July 2, 2021

In her blog post 3 Signs of Bad Church Leadership (2020-05-06), Alison Cook compares the Church with a family and describes three major issues regarding leadership of such groups: (1) disrespect for your boundaries, (2) disregard for people who are hurting and (3) lack of humility and openness.

While I appreciate her way of analysing and naming things, I am disturbed by her lack of reconciliation: she recommends “if you notice signs of bad church leadership, such as manipulation, criticism, or control tactics, then it’s best to cut your losses and leave before it’s too late”. This recommendation lets no space for the hope that people with a “wrong” attitude might eventually learn and repent. It is against the Gospel’s hope that calls us to love also our enemies and to witness the Gospel to all peoples. Loving your neighbour should include the ability to honour their convictions and priorities as much as yours.

As Christians we have no choice but to constantly retry to make peace. Making peace means that you will face manipulation, criticism and control tactics. You can’t make peace when you stay safely in the rabbit hole of your convictions. Making peace is more than to see what goes wrong.

You can leave a city or a country, but you can’t leave the planet. You can leave a given club, organization or employer, but you can’t leave your family or the Church.