It seems that discernment is all about listening. In our case it means listening to God, but I would say that listening to God is pretty hard. Certainly, listening to people is much easier. I suppose one good way to hear God is by listening to people. Indeed, one of the things I’ve found most meaningful in this process is hearing so many other people talk. I love hearing stories about life at LaSalle. I love hearing what people have been involved in and what they’re excited about. This discernment process is the chance for us to hear each other talk about this church in a way that we don’t normally do on Sunday mornings. It represents the chance to reflect on who we are and where we’ve come from.
One thing I’ve heard clearly as I’ve listened to people: they care a lot about this church. They’re proud to be part of it. They’re proud of its history. They’re excited about where it will go in the future. They’re here because this church does something for them.
I’ve also heard that people care a lot about making the world a better place. Starting in the beginning with the $500 checks, I could see such a strong desire to do something good, to make the world a better place, to redeem it in some small way. There was so much faith in those $500 checks, that a little bit here and there would add up to something that could change the world.
Along with the desire to do something good with the money, I also hear some fear of not getting it right. Maybe I sense that fear because so many people have spread their $500 around to two or three or four different places. Perhaps if one choice turns out to not feel quite right later, then hopefully the others will. Or maybe what I sense is some reluctance to say “no” to anything: there are so many good causes out there, I want to support them all.
But I would say, at the end of the day, this whole discernment process will be as much about saying “no” as it is about saying “yes.” You can’t really say “yes” to something without saying “no” to everything else. In the end we must choose.
I trust this process. We will in the end come together with a sense of which things we should say “yes” to, and which things to say “no” to. The many voices are a gift and an important part of the process. I trust that the cacophony of voices will settle into a melody with harmonious undertones and lead us to a decision that feels right.
L&F Leadership Council
and Member of the Marlin Prayer School