What Is Yours (Not) To Do?

Merton

Two of my favorite quotes have been coming to mind recently as I reflect on the fresh start of a new calendar year. The first quote is from the Roman Catholic monk Thomas Merton, who was both a contemplative, cloistered in a monastery, and an activist, heavily involved in corresponding and meeting in person with those at the forefront of creating social change in the 1960s. In his book, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander: There is a pervasive form of modern violence to which the idealist...most … [Read more...]

How To Lead a Congregational Discernment Process

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Discernment was a major emphasis of my spiritual direction training at San Francisco Theological Seminary. The following is adapted from my coursework, and is based on a congregational discernment process that I have used in the past and continue to refine.Ground Rules (adapted from Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, MN)You don’t get to complain about what you’re not willing to help fix. Every vision/passion has to have someone’s name on it. Week OneWhat aspects of this congr … [Read more...]

Discernment: A Spiritual Practice for Preaching 1 Samuel 3 (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for January 15, 2012)

In this passage, God speaks to Samuel four times. The first three times, Samuel does not know that the voice he hears is the voice of God. He mistakenly assumes that his mentor, Eli, is calling him. As we read in verse seven, “Samuel did not yet know God, and the word of God had not yet been revealed to him.”  Eventually, however, Eli realizes what is happening, and equips the young boy Samuel with what he needs to identify God’s call. And here we see that the first step of spiritual discernment … [Read more...]


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