16/06/2014

Conflict (by Joyce Huggett)

Joyce Huggett is a Christian writer who used to live in Cyprus. I've enjoyed a couple of her books; she has a relaxed writing style and makes a lot of sense. I am not entirely sure how this one arrived on our shelves; possibly it was given to us by someone who was moving.

I know I read 'Conflict' many years ago, and found it both wise and helpful, but it was before I started reviewing books and I didn't remember anything about it. So I picked it up again recently, even though I'm not currently in a situation of conflict; perhaps that's the best time to read it!

Essentially this book is helpful for anyone wanting to understand what conflict is, from a Christian perspective. There are some thorough explorations of what causes conflict, including a whole chapter on anger in its various forms. There are also some helpful suggestions for resolution and moving forward.

The book begins with an overview of situations in the Bible where there was conflict, emphasising that it's not always wrong: that conflict WILL happen when people have opposing viewpoints or experiences, or perhaps when they're tired or hungry. What matters is how we react, and what we do with it. It can be used in a positive way, or it can be used destructively.

I slightly skimmed the first part of the book as none of it was new to me, but found the majority both interesting and readable. There are plenty of anecdotes and personal experiences scattered throughout the more direct teaching, and I found myself relating to a lot of them.

Some might, perhaps, find her suggestions - in the latter part of the book - too prescriptive. When tempers are raised most people aren't going to sit down with paper and pencil and work through their deepest emotions together, or even think logically about the root causes of the conflict. But there are, nonetheless, some useful ideas which are relevant to those without faith as much as those who are believers.

Recommended. No longer in print, but there seem to be updated versions of this which are sometimes available.

Review by copyright 2014 Sue's Book Reviews

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