Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Resolving Everyday Conflict, by Ken Sande


Essentially a condensed version of Sande's excellent and well-known Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict.  I'm not exactly sure why Sande felt the need to publish this particular volume, since the original book, while substantial (320 pages), was a fairly easy read.  Perhaps there really was a need for a booklet sized adaptation of Sande's curriculum, but it ends up feeling like an attempt to drum up further sales for Sande.

This little volume, at 128 pages or just under three hours for the audiobook form, did seem to capture the essence of Sande's trademark concepts (the four promises of forgiveness, the slippery slope of conflict, the four G's of conflict, etc.).  I was struck by the confidence of some of Sande's predictions--he seemed to reiterate in no uncertain terms that his methodology would change your life, that his system works, and that it's right.  Granted, pretty much anyone who writes a how-to book believes that he or she is right about how to do whatever he or she is writing about, but I don't remember that tone of absolute certainty in the original.  At times, he almost sounded like a snake oil salesman guaranteeing positive results--it ended up having a slight negative effect on his credibility.  Later in the book, he explains that you can't force others to reconcile, and it becomes apparent that some conflicts are messier than others.  Still, he's awfully confident that his way is the right way.

And for what it's worth, I do think his suggestions are quite good, and I've benefited from them myself.  I find his four promises of forgiveness particularly helpful in thinking through the process and definition of forgiveness.  

Bottom line: the original is better, so if you're interested in Sande's admittedly insightful suggestions for conflict resolution, just read Peacemaker instead.  It's well worth the extra $2 Amazon will charge you.  If, however, 320 pages just seems like too dang many, well, this book may be for you.

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