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Raising the Heat

I’m not a fan of conflict. Thankfully, I didn’t have to deal with it much growing up; my extended family all got along and went out of their way to spend happy time together. My parents always “presented a united front” to us, so we never saw them argue, or really even disagree. They both knew several foreign languages, so perhaps some of the negotiation was in front of us, but we didn’t understand what they were saying!?

The first time I felt that conflict had some positive qualities was when I went with other Salem friends to the Kansas Leadership Center in Wichita and learned the phrase “turning up the heat.” As opposed to “put up your dukes,” which either means start a fight or defend yourself from one, KLC describes raising the heat as “doing something big or small to compel people to act — to make it more uncomfortable not to address the issue than to live with the issue.” Since that leadership training, I have witnessed many breakthroughs in conversations when conflict is not stifled but encouraged. When difficult things are named and discussed, people are empowered to step out of their comfort zones to deal with issues so they can find resolution together.

In this Sunday’s Gospel lesson (Luke 12:49-56), Jesus lets his followers know that obeying God’s call can cause conflict between friends and family. Normally we see Jesus as greeting us with “peace be with you,” but he’s getting a little fed up at this point and is ready for some heat! I encourage you to think about a time when you were discouraged at the status quo, hoping someone would speak up to change what’s happening. If that time is now, know that Jesus didn’t hesitate to turn up the heat, so be inspired to do so for justice’s sake.

In Christ’s love,
Heather Lewis
Director of Music and Worship

Tags: Weekly Word