“We don’t need to think alike to love alike”, UU Francis David
Conflict is present in all communities. It is not the presence or absence of conflict that demonstrates the health of a community but the way that conflict is managed. As Unitarian Universalists, we embrace and celebrate diversity of ideas and opinions. No one person knows everything. By engaging in debate, and even argument, we create what Emerson called “a thoroughfare of ideas” from which truth can emerge.
Conflicts arise because engagement can trigger negative feelings. These feelings get in the way of being in right relationship and accomplishing shared goals. Generally people don’t set out to cause conflict. But sometimes anger or hurt feelings arise as a result of what we say or do. Unresolved conflict can affect us all.
There is a long mystical tradition that recognizes that spiritual union happens more from listening than from speaking, more through experiencing than formulating and more through surrender than control. Our hope is to follow in that tradition when dealing with conflict.