I know individuals who want peace at any cost. In their minds a lack of peace is the definitive sign things are not well. Peace is required. Peace is essential. Peace is mandatory. The logic goes on to add at any price, by any method, and through any means. I always hope for peace. The rationale is that peace can and does reflect relationships and discussion filled with respect, learning, and diversity.
One of the opposites of peace is controversy. No matter how one pronounces the word, the fact is that most people see controversy as negative. Why should we have it, if it isn’t needed? Why is it tolerated in any form or shape? Why encourage it, if it is truly evil.
Candidly controversy and peace go hand in hand. I would like to suggest the model of yesterday holds today. In one example a simple statement by Jesus “stirred up a hornet's nest of questions among the disciples: ‘What's he talking about: ‘In a day or so you're not going to see me, but then in another day or so you will see me’? And, ‘Because I'm on my way to the Father’? What is this ‘day or so’? We don't know what he's talking about.’” (John 16.17, 18) Nothing was smooth, conciliatory, or comfortable in this conversation! Every word was being questions and challenged. The very premise of the trust and relationship was under examination. This was controversial and personal.
Serious discussions are always like that; personal, potential controversial, and deeply meaningful. We need to confront the difficult conundrums in life. We need to struggle with the wicked problems which defy problem solving. We need to debate the pros and cons in the choices we face. In other words we need alternative viewpoints, the struggle, and the controversy to take everyone involved to a higher place.
The real issue isn’t about controversy and peace; it is about mutual respect, shared honor, and collective acceptance of whom and what we are. Without these things, unending controversy is the only norm we will ever know.
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