By the Ruth Ivory-Moore, Program Director for Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility
Crisis and urgency bordering on chaos are common themes of most news outlets’ headlines. Violence, climate change, hunger, migration… Are we faced with hopeless situations as the headlines seem to indicate? Absolutely not. Hope lies in and with our God not of disorder but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33), and the peace of Christ can rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15).
Addressing crises of the world may be urgent but must be expediently tactical. God has gifted us with many tools to help us navigate toward viable solutions. The Talanoa Dialogue process is one such tool. Useful for addressing a variety of problems, the process and outcome model the peaceful, serene promise and strength of Christ.
The Talanoa Dialogue process was introduced to the world stage in 2017 by the leaders of Fiji during a climate change conference in Bonn, Germany. The process lays a foundation for bringing diverse parties together to talk, take stock of a current situation, and help devise and implement solutions. It embraces mutual respect. Ideas and experiences are shared through storytelling while fostering inclusiveness and building trust through the advancement of knowledge with empathy and understanding. There is no blaming. Solutions for the most challenging problems surface on this bright path.
Features of process implementation are available in a resource from ELCA Advocacy. The ELCA social statement, The Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective, says, “This church has a responsibility to mediate conflict and to advocate just and peaceful resolutions to the world’s divisions” (page 3). Consider using the Talanoa Dialogue process in your congregations and synods as we engage our responsibility.