Conflict can be said to be good for a community from time to time. It sharpens our minds and ideas. Of course conflict that is physically and destructive is not good conflict for example war, enslavement and human traffic these are bad conflicts which do not ever produce a positive outcomes. On the other hand healthy arguments lead the community to discover more of itself and formulate clear and inspiring visions and missions statements. These will stimulate growth in a community. Communities require healthy conflicts for them to grow and to deepen. Of course sometimes conflict arise within ourselves and we project them to others. Such confict is as a result of us on our part refusing to grow up. It is when egos are strong and sensibility is thrown out. Conflict and tensions arise because we want to control the conversation and the direction of that conversation and not to allow the free flow of ideas. Ideas can threaten us especially if these are taking us away from our comfort zones and then conflict will arise.
Tensions arise because of fear of the future. Not having enough money to pay the bills can cause endless conflict. The tension arises because of the sense of responsbility towards those who we owe money and the commitments that we may have as a community. Such conflict can make us be fearful of the future and lead us to failure to make or take appropriate decisions.
Tension arises within a community because people have not come to terms with themselves. It is quite a struggle to come to terms with oneself. The conflict of the self. Self acceptance is the most difficult thing to do. Hence Holy Scripture teachs us to love our neighbour as we love ourself. We cannot accept the next person as being loveable if we do not have the same view of ourself.
Of course tensions and conflict are not limited to these only. What is important is that conflicts which result in tensions can bring a community together as it struggles within itself to find a solution to the problem. It can be a wonderful time for the community for this increases fellowship and sense that we belong together. Conflict and tensions help us to seek the place of the pain and the cause of that pain and to bring relief.
Conflict helps to come to terms with our spiritual poverty. We move away from blaming others and we take responsibility for our party in the argument. When a community faces the conflict together it means that we have recognized that we need to take responsibility and not to pass the buck. I Peter 2 vs.1-10, says to the Christain community, "Be sure, then, you are never spiteful, or deceitful, or hypocritical, or envious ad critical of each other. You are new born, and like babies you should be hungry for nothing but milk- the spiritual honesty which will help you to grow up to salvation-now that you have tested the goodness of the Lord." If gossip, slander and egos are not checked this my lead the community ceasing to exist and us losing the anionting of the Holy Spirit, which we first received when we where baptised.
Finally conflict and tensions are good bed fellows for these bring us to our knees in prayers as we seek the wisdom and guidance of God as a community. It is an acknowledgment before God that we are helpless. This helps us to overcome the crisis and to move on as a community. A community without God at the centre of it, is bound to fail. A community needs to be continually to be soaked in the life of prayer, day in and day out. For the Holy Spirit will continue to bring light in those areas of the community that need healing and this takes place through the name of Triune God.
Fr. Barnabas Nqindi
Last week on his visit to the Diocese of Natal, Archbishop Thabo spoke on the life and work of a priest. He began by saying that the ordained live a strange life. We are called by God to be partners with him in the world. He emphaised that the ordained are not Angels but human beings first. The calling of the ordained is to serve God first and his Church. We are priests for others and never to our selves. He pointed to the ordained when being made into priests are given the charge, "Like Aaron, you will bear the names of your people on your breast in intercesson before the Lord." (APB 1989 p.587) At the Altar as the ordained celebrate mass we stand as intercessors between God and his people, between heaven and earth. It is not the priest who makes Christ present but it is Christ who invites us. Priest are not called to be Christ, hence mass is called the Lord's supper we are merely earthen vessels called by God to this sacred ministry. Our Task is to let God help us reach to others to follow Jesus. Hence the priest at questions during ordination will say, "with God's help,I will." (APB 1989 p. 588) underpinning that this is the work of God. Clergy need to remember that they are fallible and will make mistakes and sometimes we will get it terribly wrong. Thank God for God who know us as better than we know ourselves. The clergy needs to have humility so that one can receive the things of God from the people of God. The ordained need to have Spiritual directors to keep on the straight and narrow. We are fallible human beings after all. Clergy are called to be soaked in prayer and sometimes the ordained will suffer the dark night of the soul. However what matters is that the daily offices are done regardless of state of the priest. Not saying prayers is like not brushing our teeth. Prayer is God's gift, we should have no excuses we should always say the office. The ordianed need to be faithful at prayer and further studies. The ordained need to be fed at the Eucharist and be transformed in the Power of the Holy Spirit. The priest needs to read the whole Bible for it challenges our prejudice and it forces us to read scripture in its rightful context.
Work of a Priest
We face impossible expectations from lay people. The trick is not to be sucked in by these expectations because then as a priest you will lose you connecting with Jesus Christ who is the only expectation. We need to be able to live with our failures and success. The call of priest is a calling from God and not people. The work we do is done in his name and power. This will bear fruit and is depended on God. And not what the clergy says or people say for they can get it wrong at times. No priest is self sufficient. Clergy need to remember that they are not one man band show. The egos that getting in the way push away God, we need to depend on God and not ourselves. As priest one needs to remember that nothing is outside God including the bread and butter issues (politics) The greatest Challenge for the ordained and indeed the priest in the parish is to discern where God is call us.
The Internet was buzzing a few weeks ago on the news that Gadhafi had died. It soon dawned to people that he had been killed in cold blood. The question to be asked: When Gadhafi was caught did he not become POW? Since the UN sanctioned this Civil War with resolution 1973? Though the liberators were a ragtag army it was supported by the UN through NATO and this meant that rules of engagement had to be respected by the Liberators. The style of execution used by the liberators was the one common to Gadhafi. This begs the question did liberators turn thuggery like Gadhafi? For no difference was shown and this does not bold well with the new Libya. Of course the world is glad that the new rulers in Libya have calmed our fears by stating that an investigation will take place and bring those guilt to book. It remains to be seen. My concern is that resoluton 1973 was used and this made all the countries in favour of this move to support the Liberators to be eqaully involved. What is surprising is that those in the western world did not distant themselves from this act publicly in the same measure as they had hailed the liberators success of doing away with Gadhafi. Gadhafi was a mass murderer and we could have acted better so that out integrity would remain intact.
My name is Barnabas Sibusiso Nqindi, rector of St Barnabas-Bluff. I enjoy a good debate and I love to see people grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ