Introduction to the Discernment Process
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2
Discernment Process Description and Participation Policies
The Silent Communion Discernment Process is broken down into twelve parts/sessions. The parts/sessions are entirely free. Each part/session should be undertaken for one month and contains an individual syllabus, at least one video from the author, and an opportunity for a moderated participation forum (if requested via email to author from individuals working through the discernment process at the same time).
The sessions will be uploaded one month at a time beginning on January 1st, 2015. This means that you can undertake this discernment process any time on or after January 1st. You need not start on any particular date. Everyone will be working independently. I will; however, create a once a month moderated group if enough students request it via email.
Each part/session contains an individual syllabus topics outlined for you to consider through the following manner:
(a) Prayers and reflections or a period of meditation if you do not pray,
(b) Readings and/or videos - you choose how many or few,
(c) A suggestion that you keep a journal of your thoughts as you complete each reading/video,
(d) An opportunity for a moderated participation forum (if requested via email for discerners working through the discernment process at the same time),
(e) A suggestion to compile your thoughts at the conclusion of each session before moving on to the next session.
Prayers, Reflections, and/or Meditations
Participants are encouraged to spend time each day in prayer concerning this discernment process. Prayer examples will be included in the syllabus. Reflection should occur spontaneously as one is watching videos and/or reading assignments. Meditation is not enjoyed by everyone in the yoga style in which it is often delivered, but we are actually engaging in meditation each time we think. So the process of meditation will occur for each individual in some way. One method is not better than another. The Lord will talk to each of our hearts in His own way.
Readings and Videos
What one will get out of this discernment process is determined by what they put in. Nobody can force you to read and/or watch the videos, but without doing so how will you be able to examine the information and your heart? Of course, each of us will have different amounts of time to invest in this as well. Some discerners may choose to examine everything while others with limited time have to be very selective and just choose one or two per session. The Lord knows our hearts and circumstances and will bless us all equally if you just do the best that you can. Just pray about how much to participate and the Lord will lead you.
Readings and Videos are provided from sources that are free at every possible opportunity, but you may find some with minimal costs (such as a video rental) associated with some of my recommendations. If you haven't the funds to pay for certain suggested media then please use the free alternate bible verse suggestions to partake in Lectio Divina. The beautiful act of Lectio Divina is best described here.
Journal Your Thoughts
You are encouraged to jot down your thoughts as you complete a video or reading. Why? ... Because it is important to be able to reflect upon your thoughts from current and prior months as you examine all of these different sources. It will also help you compile your thoughts more accurately at the end of each session.
Possible Moderated Participant Forum
Groups can be started upon request for discerners interested in live online forum meetings for each session. Email me at [email protected] if interested.
Compiling Your Thoughts at the End of Each Session
If you cannot explain what is in your own heart, how do you know what is in it? I struggled for decades with not having words for what was in my heart. I thought I was a decent person and being "decent" made everything alright within my heart, but going through this discernment process made me realize that this lack of words helped allow apathy in not defining my beliefs to avoid things that I did not want to have to do or deal with. Being a decent person didn't give me a pure heart. Becoming a child of God moved me more toward Him and that came from a discernment process.
My 'decent person' stance had allowed me to sin in ignorance and it had no outward appearance of negative consequences at the time or for many years. Yet, it did hurt me, those around me, and other lives that my opinion or lack thereof impacted. The development of a few simple words in a journal as you work through each session will allow you the opportunity to compile your thoughts at the end of each session and not have to suffer in such a fashion.
You will, however, eventually face your own battles if you find that your heart and words differ from your actions, but better to take a start with these small statements to yourself as you work your way through the process than to live in ignorance and apathy as I did for so long.