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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Discerning God's Will Together: A Spiritual Practice for the Church

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Danny E. Morris, who developed the Upper Room Academy for Spiritual Formation, and Charles M. Olsen, who founded the Worshipful-Work Center for Transforming Religious Leadership, examine some principles and practices for the spiritual renewal of Christian communities. The emphasis is on both personal and communal discernment of God's will, which involves both knowing and doing.

We can find examples of discernment in the Old and New Testaments, the words of the desert fathers and mothers, the Protestant Reformation and the Quaker tradition. The authors present a series of stepping-stones to spiritual discernment, including grounding, shedding, rooting, listening and exploring. There are also helpful reminders for individual or group practice, including that discernment takes time, that both death and resurrection are part of the process, and we must listen to how God is speaking to us through other people (Alban Institute).


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