Tuesday, May 19, 2009



Making Life Decisions: (Journey in Discernment) by Geoff Pound (2009).

Good books about discernment - or 'guidance' as our forefathers preferred to call it - are not common. Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak has a beautiful illustration of the Quaker model of group discernment, and Marva Dawn's Joy in Divine Wisdom is a collection of 'group wisdom' from many cultures on this important topic.

Geoff Pound's approach is to combine the personal and group quests for discernment, spread over forty days plus perhaps seven group sessions.

Each day's discipline begins with an 'Approach' where we centre down and 'focus our lives before God.' Then there's a Scripture, a time for silence (that's a challenge for mind-busy Evangelicals and noisy charismatics!), a Reflection, suggestion for journaling, selecting a 'souvenir' (something to keep in mind for further reflection), a time for prayer, and finally a commission: something practical to take away on our journey.

In terms of the group meetings, the excellent suggestion of making this exercise a church-wide one is good. (I found when a practising pastor this sort of coordinated activity gives folks something other than a sporting event to talk about 'after church'!).

People like me make judgments about whether an author is worth reading by looking at her/his endnotes. Geoff combines the best of a broad range of Christian traditions, though his approach is predominantly what I would call 'progressive evangelical.' Someone who finds John Claypool, Thomas Merton, Sam Keen, the Book of Common Prayer, Richard Foster, Richard Rohr, Karl Barth, and Frederick Buechner - among many others - worth quoting, plus a lot of Bible, is my kind of mentor!

Geoff now lives not far from a middle eastern desert. He's lucky. All the biblical leaders spent significant chunks of their lives in deserts. Finding a desert in cities and suburbs (i.e. where you can't hear a phone or door-bell) is a great challenge.

I would highly commend this book to individuals and church-groups who want to 'go deeper' into the quest for discernment. I've begun a forty day journey-with-coffee each morning with the help of this manual.

Google Amazon.com or AbeBooks to locate a copy.

Rowland Croucher


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Rowland Croucher


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Husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, pastor, teacher, writer, used-to-be-academic... See here for more: http://jmm.org.au