Wednesday, July 25, 2007
More on As Way Opens
As I wrote on my other blog (friendsinfellowship.blogspot.com), Nancy and I hosted the second gathering of our new worship sharing group last Sunday evening. Much of our talk centered around the topic of spiritual discernment. Besides the personal searching of this topic, it's also of interest because I'm writing a book on the topic.
We spent time talking about how you know a leading is from God -- and not your own ego. Are the voices we hear from the Divine or from Legion inside us? And why are we so fearful at times that we distrust our leadings -- testing them over and over again, afraid to act. One Friend suggested that it was time to put away false modesty and lay claim boldly to the leadings God gives us. To say, ala' Luther, I guess, "Here I stand, I can do no other."
We also talked about whether leadings were always personally rewarding -- or could a true leading take us to dangerous places emotionally or soulfully. As we talked about that I thought of what writer/theologian Frederick Buechner says, “The vocation for you is the one in which your deep gladness and the world’s deep need meet -- something that not only makes you happy but that the world needs to have done” and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s dictum that “When Christ calls a man he bids him come and die.” Perhaps both overstate sides of leadings. Or perhaps both are true -- ultimately. Perhaps the idea that we are called to die somehow leads us into deep happiness -- as we die to self and live for God.
One of the few things I do know (how's that for boldly proclaiming a leading!) is that discernment is a lifelong process. And as one Friend mentioned the other night, it takes the ability to long backward over life more than it does to look forward. In the case of spiritual discernment, hindsight being twenty-twenty is a very good thing.
-- Brent Bill