Can there be peace in Unity?

Anatomy of Peace banner Yes, we can have peace in Unity. But to do so, we must embrace wholeness as much as we embrace oneness, as individuals and as a denomination.

The book I am about to introduce to you, The Anatomy of Peace—Resolving the Heart of Conflict, provides a way to accomplish that.

Before I explain what I mean, let me say two things at the start. First, this book is the best secular explanation I have ever read of what we mean in Unity by “I Behold the Christ in You.“ What the book refers to as Way of Being shifts our focus from culture, institutions and theology to the experience of the sacredness of people, particularly the sacredness of people with whom we cannot agree. And it provides a framework for each of us to do that, through a peaceful heart, right now, just in time for Christmas.

Second, the United Methodist Church, which is struggling over diversity and inclusion problems way beyond what we have in Unity, has credited this book with helping to keep itself together: Can a book help the church stay together? In their search for how to maintain oneness, the methodists are arriving at “a way forward” to wholeness. We have much to learn from their story.

We still have issues with wholeness in Unity. I've written several times about the need for wholeness and healing in Unity: what seems to me to be The biggest mistake people in Unity are making today, our problems with Diversity, Branding and Worldview in Unity, why I believe The Hinge Is Off in Unity, and the importance of The Rise of Institutional Pluralism in Unity. The common thread in these articles is the struggle we still have in accepting people from all walks of life. If we can't accept people in our church, we are unlikely able to accept people in our families. And if we can't accept people in our families, we are not likely to have a sacred experience at Christmas.

That The Anatomy of Peace can help bring wholeness to Unity should be no surprise. Hundreds of corporations are using it to resolve conflict and release compassion among their teams. The book is a product of a larger consulting company that offers a variety of trainings and resources based on peer-reviewed research that has stood the test of time.

The spiritual underpinning of The Anatomy of Peace is evident on nearly every page and references to the spiritual journey are everywhere: the Crusades, Saladin, Martin Buber’s I and Thou, self-betrayal, Jews and Muslims, locating the peace within, and walking without shoes. The central premise is that “a heart at war ruins everything”, that our problems are deeper than behavior and that “resolving the heart of conflict” rests in a “heart of peace”.

So is that anything new to those of us in Unity? For some of us, no. But for me and for many more, I am sure this book will explain peacemaking in a new way.

Marion Blumenthal Lazan, a holocaust survivor and bestselling author endorses The Anatomy of Peace, calling it “A book that could change the face of humanity.” I will only add that it changed my own humanity and that I believe it could do the same for all of us in Unity.

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Third Sunday in Advent, December 16, 2018