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Making Decisions

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Making decisions in life can be a challenge. The Christian community can be a source of helping you hear God's voice in your ordinary or difficult decisions. One spiritual discipline that helps with discernment is from the Quaker tradition. It's called a Clearness Committee.

The Quaker Clearness Committee is a small group that is called together to assist a person who is seeking the Holy Spirit's direction. In this process of discernment, the participants listen for God who is speaking through each person present. If the participants are hearing the Spirit's leadings, there is a common direction that is discerned. As the leadings begin to coalesce around a certain direction, participants can have more confidence that it is a direction that leads us deeper into God's will.

For centuries, the Quakers have practiced this method of discernment in community. Even those of us who aren’t Quakers can benefit from a Clearness Committee to help us come to one mind about a way forward. For a helpful overview of a Clearness Committee, read this article by Parker Palmer.

Follow these steps to set up a Clearness Committee of your own:

  • Enlist the help of someone to facilitate the group. This can be a spiritual director, or some other mature person of faith familiar with facilitating groups.
  • Invite four to six trusted and wise people in your life to be on the committee.
  • Set a date, allowing about three hours for the group process.
  • Write up a one-page description of the issue on which you want clearness. E-mail the information to the committee members a few days before the meeting.
  • Meet with the facilitator of the group prior to the meeting to agree on how you want the time to go.
  • Participate fully in this sacred time with those who will sit with you in silence, prayer, and inquiry.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.