Thursday, May 28, 2009


How does a person "discern"? I find it easy to live with unanswered questions. Many people don't. I used to drive Mom crazy with questions and I'm sure plenty of others as well. Yesterday I asked some questions of an Episcopal priest. He hasn't answered yet. I wish I would have thought of using the word "discern".

He said, for him the Word of Godde (using my spelling) is Truth. For him Truth is of the utmost importance. Godde's Word is the Bible. I didn't ask which translation. He doesn't trust the APA - the topic addressed in his original message was the usual homosexuality - because it is too political. He apparently believes that only the Word of Godde in the Bible contains Truth without political implications. I asked if perhaps the men who chose the writings to include in the "official" Bible weren't also very political. I find it difficult to believe that a group of men who could have their control of the church wrested away by others would really listen to the Holy Spirit. How does one "discern" who is being political and who is responding to the Holy Spirit? Perhaps I'm too cynical?

I wondered about the difference between worshipping the Word of Godde and following the Word of Godde. For me it is an easy "discernment". I am curious to know why others are so tied to words and rules and what may be only the writings of men who had a good thing going and want(ed) to preserve their privileges. Yes, I believe that many of those/these men believe they were/are faithful to Godde and Jesus and were/are good people. I believe many of them try hard to be good servants and shepherds. I question how they "discern(ed)" they were/are so "right" to the exclusion of all others.

And how does one "discern" a call to the priesthood? What if many roadblocks are placed on the path? How does one "discern" whether the roadblocks are trial by fire or serious? What if everyone "discerns" one path for a candidate for ordination yet the person "discerns" and pursues something else in spite of roadblocks?

I'm afraid I don't have much love for "discernment". I do not believe that I am better at "discerning" than anyone else. Or that I am any more right or wrong than anyone else tho I wonder about people who use their Words of God to abuse, exclude or otherwise denigrate other people. I believe that those of us who take seriously the admonition to love everyone unconditionally, even when it seems impossible, have better, calmer, happier lives. That isn't "discernment". It is experience.


Suzer said...


Joan said...

EXCELLENT!! Well said.


Funky Grampa said...

So 'discerning'! Aren't we all called to witness to and live within the 'gospel'. My question to live in is "Since when is preaching the Scripture (an historical document) witnessing to the Gospel?

sharecropper said...

The Quakers have "clearness" groups that help a person sort through situations and reach decisions. These groups listen, reflect, ask questions, reflect, and then give their individual opinions. You may choose to follow their suggestions or not. I have used these for "discernment" at times and have found them very helpful.

Discernment committees are a different ballgame. They are political (following the polity) church machinations that churn out opinions with impact on a person's future.

As for me and mine, we will live and love in the good news.

Saint Pat said...

Amen to all the above. (Sigh)

Barbi Click said...

I am biased, I suppose, since I am in discernment. But then I have been in discernment for the past few years. Rarely has is been a lone process. It has been in the midst of friends, a spiritual director and now in the midst of a committee. But it is not political. It is quiet and noisy; soothing and confounding. Mainly, it makes me realize that I am not alone in trying to hear and learn.
I just know that it is a forever process...everyday is a process of discernment when we try to follow Jesus.