Tom Ehrich watches the conflict going on at the Episcopal Divinity School and observes that this is no way to teach seminarians how to manage conflict.
I read letter-bombs from the leadership conflict at my seminary, Episcopal Divinity School, and I shudder….
…Viewing this battle from afar, I come to two conclusions:
First, ordinands heading to congregations should remember this conflict as an example of how NOT to behave. Leadership conflicts happen constantly in churches, and they are made worse, not better, by tactics such as secret votes of no confidence, citing rules and procedures, encouraging non-combatants to take sides, and scapegoating.
Second, if we wonder why two successive generations of young adults have shunned our churches, we need only look at a conflict like this. Bitter feelings, toxic attitudes, strong accusations, people talking past each other, idolatry of right opinion, and a determination to win — not to serve a “sinful and broken world,” as our Prayer Book puts it, not to grapple with new realities affecting congregations, rather a determination to win.