I WAS STUCK.
I had recently left a full-time college teaching position, in part so I could engage more actively in conflict resolution with a religious dimension, my area of expertise. It was the late '90s, and a flowering of inspiring work was taking place in some of the world's most violence-ridden arenas. People were drawing more deeply on their religious values and practices to find creative ways to build peace. Inspired by their activities and organizations, I wanted to devote writing my PhD dissertation to these religious peace activists.
But the project just wasn't coming together. For a variety of reasons, I couldn't figure out how to move it forward. So I decided to go to a professional conference where many individuals pioneering this work would be attending. I hoped this conference would help me break through. I also used the time away from my busy home life with small children to pray. I wanted to listen to how God wanted me to go forward with this work.