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In my view, discernment is always a perilous and provisional process. What human - or human community - could ever claim to fully know the mind of God?

The things we've listed are all helpful safe guards, but not guarantors.

Nonetheless, coming from, and being, a dyed-in-the-wool very liberal, social activist denomination (the United Church of Canada), I think we have tended to distort hearing / seeing Jesus in a couple of ways:

1. We tend to ignore our own fundamentalism and rigidity when it comes to "What the Bible says about justice ..."

2. We tend to let the very real issues re: interpretation / discernment block us from having ANY personal relationship with Jesus.

My ego constantly gets in the way of me truly knowing everyone and everything.

But I have learned from history, from friends, and from mistakes to trust - for the time being - that the relationship I am in will be self-correcting and inwardly-formative.

As you will notice from my posts here, I am impatient with the liberal assumption that we can only have IDEAS about Jesus and not have a relationship with Jesus.

One word: Ego.
Where and what role does the ego play in the "discernment" process?
Does anyone ask what role our egos play in pursuing a degree that reads "Master of (the) Divinity"?
Do other voices, like Buddha, count?
I am inclined to think that we can discern the voice by, as said in the text, "the works" (praxis) "that testify" to the voice! There are a lot of "voices" in the world claiming authenticity and, hence, authority in the name of Jesus and, obviously, other names. I will hedge my bets with the voices that do the works of/like Jesus (healing, empowering, inclusion, truth telling, etc.)

Hubby & I talked this out-loud a little last night... my thoughts were similar, that our discernment must be prayerful, & within the community of faithful. Avoiding isogesis vs. exogesis, perhaps. And yet... so many denominations w/n the US & Canada claim to faithfully discern & understand God's wanting-to-be, Jesus' voice in their mission & ministry. On the outside some, to us mainliners, even look like cults, inasmuch as they proclaim to be faithful to the Gospel.
A hard one to wrangle with... to discern!
Thank you so much for your helpful thoughts & perspectives.

So thanks back to you all.

As to the "how" ... Well I can't really say much more than it is not any more difficult than learning to "hear" the voice of a friend. First. Read the scriptures as being addressed to oneself, personally. Do NOT read them as information to learn about Jesus - read them as conversation to hear Jesus.

And secondly - talk to Jesus in prayer. If you are not familiar with it - Google "lectio Divina" and use that as a prayer practice.

Third, it helps to have friends who are friends of the Friend. That way you can gossip about him. Find out what they know about him. Talk with them about what he has said to you - find out what is similar or different to what he has been saying to them.

Have fun, relax, and trust the process of God's presence already present in your seeking to know him.

So how do we hear & recognize Jesus' voice?

Thank you very much! Your article has helped clarify my own understanding on this section!

This is a good reflection on Jesus, the Good Shepherd. His imagery speaks volumes about our relationship with him and with one another. True to form, he is the source of life and grace, the fountain of mercy and love. And being with him, I'm confident I'm one of his sheep in his flock. Kudos and more power to David Ewart. Thanks brother. Mark Escobar

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  • David Ewart
    A miscellany of writings, sermons, worship resources, leadership resources, spiritual practices, and church health.
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    Musings on various lectionary texts influenced by Process Theology, Rene Girard, class analysis, and feminist analysis.

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