Matthew Code – A useful guide for addressing conflicts in our camp

Everyone putting their feet in

Many Christian Science schools and colleges, branch churches, societies, organizations, prison ministries and informal groups have adopted the “Matthew Code” as a way to resolve misunderstandings and disputes.  I propose Christian Science at Burning Man adopt the Matthew Code as well as a formal policy of our group.

— Loren M

The Matthew Code is based on words in the Bible by Christ Jesus:

Matthew 18: 15-17 (KJV)   : (“The Matthew Code”)

“if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican”

The process is in four steps:

First, go to the person involved alone, not tell it to others. Try to work it out.

Second, If it cannot be worked out, bring another one or two others to talk to the person to try to work it out, still in private except for the people concerned. That is to show the person that the issue is larger than one person’s grievance, that it has agreement from others.

Third, If the issue still cannot be resolved, tell it to the group and try to work it out in the group.

Fourth, if the issue still cannot be resolved and the party or parties cannot “hear” the grievance/issue/problem/communication that party or parties is given a time out from participation in the group.

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