2:30 p.m. Tuesday 16 May 2017 – Chemainus, BC

Pick a film that moved you and explain to one other person the connection you had with the film.

What is it about stories that make them so moving for us?

We find our identity in stories. They give us meaning and purpose. We are shaped by stories. We can lose ourselves in stories.

Still with your partner talk about a conflict you have been in. Describe the conflict while your partner listens without comment, then switch.

What did it feel like to receive a story of conflict?

In leadership is it safe to tell a true story about your own humanness?

We have confusing events that are upsetting so we try to knit them together into a story to try to piece together and make sense of what happened to us. We are trying to integrate what doesn’t make sense. But my feelings are getting blended in with what has actually happened so the story is always a partial fabrication. The same event will be told in radically different ways by different people.

Conflict stories are told in layers:

1. external layer – focus is often to dehumanize the other person, tone often angry and pained

2. inner layer – inside the external layer is the story we are telling ourselves in which we seek to justify ourselves. The tone inside is often guild and shame, “I should have done this differently;” “I did this wrong”.

3. core layer – there is a core story where we accept responsibility for who we are and what we have done. This story is centered.

When I tell my stories I emphasize some things, and minimize others to get you on my side.

Because I want you to listen to me and feel empathy for me, I am going to tell you a story that makes that happen, by leaving out facts that might cause you not to respect me so much.

There is a danger in conflict stories: we get hooked in our identification. We need to be aware of all components in the story and of the temptation to portray ourselves as the victim.

If we are going to do the work of peace building, we need to come to that core place where we can speak out of authenticity. If we are living out of an inauthentic place, we cannot help people come to their own core place.

What is your external voice?

There are issues in my country (the US) that are off the table now for discussion (eg. racism) – How do you talk authentically about a topic which has been taken off the table? How do you talk authentically about a topic that is difficult to talk about?

Reconciliation is a tough topic. But if we can learn to talk about this authentically, it could be an opportunity to go a little deeper and to get to know each other more intimately.

We are not trying to unpack something you don’t want to unpack. But if you are willing to move forward, it could go to places you had not quite imagined, and perhaps your Bishop hadn’t imagined either.

Bishop – this is a good direction we are going. I am placed we are going in this direction. I want to listen and to hear where we are.