That the recent presidential election turned the existing political and social divide in the United States into a gaping chasm is news to no one. And it should also come as no surprise that this chasm of division has extended to conservative and liberal Christian denominations. Yet what is not as widely known is how badly the election has divided individual congregations. But a growing number of church leaders are realizing that these divisions are deep and dangerous, and are seeking ways to break down the walls of pain, anger, and distrust before it results in schism.
In that regard, several dozens of churches across the country have taken me up on my post-election offer to provide a free 10-pack of my book, Paradoxy: Creating Christian Community Beyond Us and Them, to use as the basis of conflict transformation dialogue. One of those congregations is St. Philip the Apostle Church in Scotts Valley, California, a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real, where a team composed of two priests, Mary Blessing and Lucretia Mann, and a lay leader, Tina Grubbe (pronounced “Groob”), are facilitating a Paradoxy Conflict Transformation group. Members of the team have agreed to keep journals on the sessions, the content of which I will summarize (anonymously) in this and future blog entries.