an appetizer review of the book by John Coblentz used in Team Launch
I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I’d like to keep this book by my side as a handbook on relationships. My favorite chapter was Chapter 9: Peacemaking. John’s down-to-earth way of relating the Biblical principles for peacemaking really struck a chord in my heart, particularly since much of the chapter was pertinent to a situation or two I’ve been dealing with recently. In the section of Chapter 9 called “We Are Called to Find Peaceable Solutions” (pp. 182-189), John develops the following questions that should be asked in our pursuit of peaceable solutions.
- 1. Are we both right?
- 2. Are we both wrong?
- 3. Does it matter?
- 4. What matters most?
- 5. Do we need each other?
- 6. What would Jesus do?
I also deeply appreciated John’s call to hard-working humility in our relationships – understanding that we do NOT know everything, acknowledging that we are all imperfect people, and being committed to working hard through difficult times in relationship until peace is achieved.
Lastly, I appreciated John’s reminder that, while relationships among people are very, very important, they still come in second compared to our relationship to our Creator. In a time when relationships receive a lot of attention in the American church, we must remember that (1) human relationships cannot function well without the foundation of good relationship with God, and (2) when human relationships are prioritized over our relationship with God, a reversal occurs that bears bad fruit.
Below are some quotes from the book that I particularly liked:
“As the law of sin destroys peace with God, so the law of obedience maintains it.” (p. 13)
“…one of the dangers in a controversy is that we too easily form our convictions from what we don’t believe and what we disagree with instead of what we believe and where we agree.” (p. 40)
“Our culture is in trouble. The answers are not always easy. While we were focusing on the dangers of heresy in the last generation, I strongly suspect, we honed our understanding of truth so sharply that we actually devalued our emotions. Having right answers became so important that we allowed a vacuum to develop in our lives. So with the increase of disconnection in our culture, as a church we have been caught ill prepared to care for the hurting.” (p. 40)
“And yet, in all Jesus’ interactions with them, we never find Him attacking the personalities of His disciples. He never said to Peter, for example, ‘Why do you talk so much? If you would learn to keep your mouth shut like Bartholomew, you might learn more!’ Jesus did rebuke His disciples at times, but never as an attack on their personalities.” (Emphasis mine.) (p.76)
“Thus, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a personality clash. …The clashing happens not because we are different, but because we are immature.” (p. 78)
“If spending time with God puts us above the needy, if it makes us more intolerant and judgmental, if we come out of the closet more demanding of others, we are using God instead of truly meeting with Him. …if we are seeking [God] in opposition to someone else, in conflict with a church faction, or in a control battle with a spouse, we may easily have the hidden motivation of winning a conflict instead of the pure motivation of truly knowing God.” (pp. 81-82)
“In general terms, truth sets the standard for what we say, and love sets the standard for how we say it and why.” (p. 114)
Reviewed by RB
Order the book from Christian Light