Ready, Aim

“Vigorous organisms talk not about their processes but about their aims.” G.K. Chesterton

A conflict resolution process aims to resolve specific instances of disagreement between parties. Its aim is resolution. Its aim is resolution. Its aim is resolution. When the process becomes the aim there can be no resolution–only more process.

Processes must serve aims. We’d better be clear on the latter, because the former have been badly disrupted, and if all we’re after is a restoration of processes we’re in trouble. Youth groups, worship services, mission projects, anti-racism trainings: these are processes that serve the aims of growth in faith, glorifying God, loving neighbors, and maturation into Christ-likeness, respectively (actually not respectively; all those processes serve all those aims).

Confusing processes for aims makes panic inevitable when a process is forced to change. But we’re free to choose new processes to accomplish our aims. That’s how we got these processes to begin with.

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