Opening the Ear of Your Heart: Spiritual Conflict Resolution
This two-night overnight retreat helps a group learn to live and work together as the body of Christ even if they hold opposing views on important issues. Through contemplative silence, creative engagement with Scripture, meditation exercises that draw upon the senses, deep listening and reverent speaking, the participants engage in discernment around a controversial issue that divides them.
Any group that yearns to work together in a God-centered way will find that this program provides helpful building blocks and deepens the bonds of Christian community. It is suitable for a governing board, a congregation, or church leaders on a regional or national level, especially if a controversy is looming.
Summary of Content
This retreat first carefully cultivates an atmosphere of non-confrontation, openness, and mutual respect. Then participants enter into spiritual discernment around a question such as: “God, how can we live together authentically as the body of Christ, even as we struggle with sharply differing views on issues related to [liturgy/ church leadership/authority/sexuality/distribution of wealth/or any issue that is causing dissension]? “ Those who take part leave spiritually fed and ready to help develop the practice of prayerful listening in the church.
“The intentional silence allowed time to listen to both others and the spirit, and space for openness to speak.”
“I liked the periods of waiting in silence. A good attempt at what I find difficult. This is an area I will actively work on.”
“I sensed the Spirit’s presence and the reality of the ‘Body of Christ’.”
“I was aware of each person’s heart, or being, connected with mine.”
“Very much experienced the group as the body of Christ present in this place.”
“The mobile with the barbed wire touched my heart.”
“I have several difficult situations that are coming up. I feel God was inviting me to have some lightness in these places.”
“God took & tore the veil in two, allowing me to see and know God in me.”
“I have been confirmed in my willingness to take a place at the perimeter of the circle…giving up my space at the center to God … .”
“Contemplation exercises & time to interact were most helpful. I loved the music and the meaningful words. I didn’t feel pushed or prodded but allowed to progress at my own pace.”
“We grew into a real living authentic body of Christ.”