Holy Spirit, holy conflict: toward Wesleyan pneumatological leadership in conflict transformation
Gaskell, Victoria Hart
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This thesis develops a practical Wesleyan approach to leadership in conflict transformation, aimed toward guiding leaders and communities in conflict situations. The thesis analyzes a conflicted situation in the United Methodist Church (UMC) through a case study of the UMC General Conferences of 2012 and 2016, supplemented by interviews that draw wisdom from leaders in the field. It then creates a dialogue with the biblical witness, contemporary movements in pneumatology, and leadership theory. Particular attention is given to John Wesley’s pneumatological thinking and practices as a transformative leader. Both the contextual and theological analyses reveal human capacities and failures to relate with God, self, and neighbor, as well as the movements of the Holy Spirit in situations of conflict and transformation. The thesis concludes with practical guidance for UMC congregations and other bodies to support and expand the work of transformative leadership in situations of conflict.