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Behavior That Reduces Conflict

by John K. Stoner  (July 7, 2017)

Responding to yesterday’s blog, some readers will say, “But this blog is supposed to be about an alternative to empire.  Miller’s story is about nothing but an encounter of a few people on an average day, it’s not about how to run the world.”


The macro is contained in the micro. 

This is totally about how to manage the relationships of large groups of people—from social clubs to nations.  The principle is to do what will reduce conflict, not what will enlarge it.

This kind of behavior is within the human capacity and actual reach of people in every kind of situation. 

And further, for those who give the Judaeo-Christian history any kind of privileged place as especially instructive for how to manage human affairs—Jesus was a specialist in the practice of behaviors shaped by love.  And his teaching was never intended to be restricted to the interactions of individuals—he always presented it as a different way for social, cultural and national entities to relate to each other.  That is why the language of corporate entities, starting with “kingdom” was so central in his teaching and actions.  

Again and again, Jesus framed his message in terms of a new, a different kind of “kingdom,” but a kingdom nevertheless, and for all the reductionist interpretations given to it, still a kingdom.  He presented it as a way of thinking about, processing, and organizing human relations on the largest of all corporate scales.  He called it “kingdom of God.”  He brought the transcendent into the most totally, and abjectly depraved by greed and violence,  structure which deeply affected the lives of everyone around him.  People in Jesus’ world called the supreme structures of human organization kingdoms.  Today we call them nations, or corporations, or empires. 

So in his teaching and public actions he spoke often of, and interacted with, Gentiles and Jews, women in a patriarchal society, Pharisees, Scribes, Herodians, centurions, priests and levites—all of them representing corporate powers.  He challenged their oppressive behavior by liberating people who suffered their abuses of power, and encouraged people to assert their personal freedom and power.  

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