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Document Details :
Title: Discernment for our Times
Subtitle: A Practice with Postmodern Implications
Author(s): LIEBERT, Elizabeth
Journal: Studies in Spirituality
Volume: 18 Date: 2008
This essay is an experiment in using practice to advance academic study of Christian spirituality. It asserts that some practices of discernment are ideally structured to be of help to decision-making in a postmodern context. Part I provides the groundwork by briefly describing the postmodern predicament, setting out how discernment terminology is being used. It concludes with an initial discussion showing the relevance of discernment in general for the postmodern situation. Part II begins with a description of seven components in discerned decision-making and briefly describes the pastoral circle methodology upon which the discernment process is based. The constructive section of the essay presents a discernment process called ‘Social Discernment’, shows how it fulfils the seven components of discerned decision-making, discusses its usefulness in the postmodern situation, and assesses the strengths and limitations of this discernment process. The essay draws a modest conclusion about the usefulness of practice in the academic study of Christian spirituality.