Anyone who invites me to a table to talk about discernment and wisdom finds me a willing participant — and I think because the older I get the more significant wisdom has become in my life. Darryl Tippens devotes a chp to “Discerning” in Pilgrim Heart, and there is here a very nice sketch of the theme.
What is God’s will? — that’s a question most of us ask in all sorts of ways. What do you think of this comment of his? “Could it be that the real duty is not to find the one true highway, but rather to be a certain kind of person — humble, attentive, and obedient — whatever the path one is on?” (142)
Wisdom, he reminds us, is not for sale.
“How … do we,” Tippens asks so well, “avoid the self-serving distortion in which we baptize our own preferences and declare them ‘the will of God’?” We need spiritual discernment. Most often “we are faced with negotiating in the fog, when the options and the consequences of our choices are far from obvious” (135).
What are its characteristics?
1. It is a gift from God through prayer over a whole life.
2. Learning to read the Bible and learning to read our lives through Scriptures.
3. Analysis and judgment.
4. Humility — smart people overestimate their powers.
5. Wisdom comes through community and mentors.
6. Wisdom coms through “downward mobility”.
7. Wisdom is not certainty but “the inward point of poise.”
8. We need to adopt the long view of God and life instead of the urgent and immediate.
What are the obstacles?
1. Cultural values like success, individualism, self-sufficiency.
2. Desire for prosperity
4. Desire for security
Next chp is on Singing — rarely mentioned in disciplines.