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Christianity for the Rest of Us by Dianne Butler Bass, Harper One 2006: Session 2

We reviewed 2 further signposts of renewal in Mainline US Churches.

Discernment  This is defined as being open to God’s will, searching for answers to ‘what does God want me to do?’  The author suggests developing the practice of asking ‘God’ questions in place of ‘I’ questions.  This requires openness and time and then interaction with others to ‘test’ the authenticity.  If one is to develop an ‘inituition’ about a subject, one needs to immerse oneself in the subject area – we felt this also applied to discernment through immersing oneself in God and thereby being open to the leading of the spirit.

Contemplation  The author’s main requirement here was quietness, silence, being still.  This chapter complemented Discernment as quietness is a key tool.  She advocates silence during communion and as ‘white spaces between words’.  Silence allows for assimilation – for our minds to sort out and order ideas.

Ian Harris