Alban Weekly | Practicing kindness in the midst of rage

6 months ago

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 Practicing kindness in 
the midst of rage 
Rage seems to be an ever-present part of daily life. It's in my conversations with friends and strangers, in the checkout line at the grocery store, at the dinner table, in my social media feeds. And often, frankly, it's in me.
Many times, the rage is a response to violence committed against vulnerable people. It's grounded in real, personal experiences of abuse of power, denial of dignity, manipulation, coercion and harm. Sometimes, it's a response to a gradual erosion of trust between people.
As a Christian, I feel my rage rise when I see the sacred breath of God in one person being used to silence that very breath in another. I find myself frequently astonished by the human capacity to incite anger in one another, to default toward distrust and disbelief, to allow bitterness to fester -- to our own harm. Doubtless, each of us, without much preparation, can name moments when we've witnessed, experienced or even perpetrated such a denial of another's humanity.
While rage in such moments can be justified, it can also rob us of hope and diminish our capacity to engage fruitfully in our relationships, our work and our play.
Recently, in the midst of yet another grueling national media story about women's experiences with sexual violence, author Glennon Doyle asked her social media followers to hold her accountable to being kind in the midst of her rage.
Read more from Alaina Kleinbeck »
You can change the conversation
In this archive column from 2014, Managing Director of Alban Nathan Kirkpatrick writes that Christian leaders can reject the tone of current debates and, instead, elevate the level of discourse.
Read more from Nathan Kirkpatrick »
A pastoral response to meanness 
In 2009, Jason Byassee asked "What does a pastor say when a visitor curses her at the church door?" He wonders if aggressive kindness might be part of the answer. 
Read more from Jason Byassee »
Resistance and healing after the election
After the last presidential election, the CEO of Sojourners said that it was time for listening and learning. With the midterm elections ahead in the United States, how might we continue to practice those skills?  
Read the interview with Robert Wilson-Black »
Communication in the Church: A Handbook for Healthier Relationships
by Thomas G. Kirkpatrick
Communication is integral to the mission of the church, but it can go awry in myriad ways, both obvious and subtle. Communication in the Church helps congregations create healthier ways for their members to relate to one another for greater personal and congregational success. The book offers practical guidelines to help readers become more effective in how they build relationships, lead meetings, experience trust, practice forgiveness, use power, and bridge cultures. 
Communication in the Church distills the latest social science research for readers including clergy, lay leaders, continuing education planners, students, scholars, and others. Each chapter includes real-life scenarios, sensible guidelines, practical applications, and suggestions for further learning. This book aims to help readers communicate more effectively-from leading more engaging and productive meetings to preventing or addressing communication breakdowns.
Learn more and order the book » 
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