Engaging Our Conflicts

Engaging Our Conflicts

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Engaging Our Conflicts represents an adaptation of Pace e Bene’s Engage: Exploring Nonviolent Living and From Violence to Wholenesscurricula. It incorporates Christian scripture, prayers, readings, stories, and Church teaching about justice to empower participants to learn, act, and reflect upon the stories, experiences, principles, tools, and strategies of nonviolent peacemaking for living more fully a Christian life grounded in peace and justice.

Engage: Exploring Nonviolent Living is a substantially revised and expanded version of the From Violence to Wholeness curriculum that Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service first published in 1996.  It reflects the feedback that Pace e Bene has received after leading hundreds of workshops based on this material and after hearing from many people who have used this book in modules, classes, and trainings.

More significantly, Engage was broadened to be useful and accessible to people from all walks of life.  From Violence to Wholeness, emerging as it did from a Franciscan nonviolence project, had been designed primarily as an exploration of Christian nonviolence for people in churches and faith-based organizations.  The response in the intervening years has been very robust from many churches and denominations, and we are passionately committed to continuing strong and vital From Violence To Wholeness programming in many religious settings.

With Engaging Our Conflicts, we believe we have integrated the very best from the development of the process as reflected in Engage with the exploration of Christian Nonviolence as exists in From Violence to Wholeness. Furthermore, with Engaging Our Conflicts, we believe we have strengthened the experience of Christian nonviolence through additional scripture passage, prayers, stories and Catholic Social Teaching.

Engaging Our Conflicts: An Exploration of Nonviolent Peacemaking offers you and others an orientation and process for introducing you to the ongoing spiritual journey of the nonviolent life.  It recognizes that this journey is life-long.  It does not pretend that one “achieves” this in eight weeks or even eight years.  Pace e Bene regards this training as a modest introduction to some tools and techniques with which to experiment.  It offers a vision and toolbox that may be handy in applying grounded nonviolence to the challenges of our lives and to the cry for change and healing in our world.

Guided by four commitments to relationship building, diversity, spiritual practice, and nonviolent action, Engaging Our Conflicts seeks to support the deep, slow work of becoming more whole human beings.  It seeks to do this by:

  • Cultivating the integration of the whole person: mind, heart, body, and spirit;

  • Connecting personal transformation and social change;

  • Offering spiritual grounding for the nonviolent life;

  • Exploring the history and practice of active nonviolence;

  • Providing concrete skills for putting nonviolent power into practice;

  • Creating safe space for transforming personal and social violence;

  • Helping people make connections with many different movements for change;

  • Encouraging the development of nonviolence support groups to help make a difference in our lives and our world; and

  • Offering a leadership training program for those interested in facilitating and supporting workshops, retreats, and study groups.

The Structure of Engaging Our Conflicts

This program is designed to be a small-group learning process in personal and social transformation appropriate for a wide range of settings.  It can be led by people with a minimum of facilitation experience, not only by those with significant background in leading group process. The process will be quite familiar for those who completed the 30-week JustFaith process but this is not a prerequisite to participate in this module.

The more experienced a facilitator is, the more effective she or he will likely be, but the curriculum has been organized so that people with little formal facilitation training can lead it.

The Module is composed of eight 2.5-hour small-group sessions.

Sessions 1-6 familiarize the participants with how violence and nonviolence work including an exploration of nonviolent responses to structural violence.

Sessions 7-8 guides participants through the process of developing and carrying out nonviolent action.

Each session uses a multiplicity of learning styles and methods to explore nonviolence: story telling; role-plays; small and large group discussions; creative imagination exercises; journaling; and action.  At the end of each session in this book, several blank pages are provided for participants to write about the process, their actions, and their reflections on the readings.

There is also an audio CD per-group designed for use in this book called Peace Grows. Inquire about this CD at info@paceebene.org

Click here to see the Table of Contents and Introduction to this book (PDF).

A note about this book:

Engaging Our Conflicts was developed jointly with Pace e Bene and  JustFaith Ministries as part of their JustMatters series in 2009 but has since been discontinued as part of JustFaith’s programming.  The book makes reference to the JustFaith program in various places, but the book is fully adaptable for use in communities and small groups not familiar with JustFaith.

Those interested in Engaging Our Conflicts might also be interested in the JustFaith program that includes a six session phase on nonviolence. Learn more at www.justfaith.org.

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