A growing interest in books on discernment points to a renewed search for guidance and direction among Christians, reports Religion Bookline (Jan. 7).
Driving the trend is more than a concern about seeking what God wants Christians to do with their lives. Popular titles such as Debra Farrington’s “Hearing with the Heart: A Gentle Guide to Discerning God’s Will for Your Life” (Jossey-Bass) sees discernment as the “uber-practice, tying together other practices such as prayer, scripture [study], reading, meditation and even group study as one tries to pay attention not just to ego or desire but also to what God wishes for us,” says Sheryl Fullerton of Jossey-Bass.
She adds that as many boomers have returned to Christianity after years of seeking and shopping for a faith, they now “want to do it right” and seek special guidance. Younger people may respond to the idea of discernment because of its ancient roots. “It’s perhaps
more dependable and more real than some attempts to be relevant or up to date,” Fullerton adds.
Other new discernment books may come in the guise of memoirs, such as. Nora Gallagher’s “Practicing Resurrection: A Memoir of Work, Doubt, Discernment, and Moments of Grace” (Knopf). The book, with sales of more than 50,000 copies, and has spawned numerous spin-off titles and support volumes. Other books, such as “Hearing God’s Call: Ways of Discernment for Laity and Clergy” (Eerdmans), focus on the idea that all people — not only the clergy — have a vocation to serve God and seek to help readers understand what God is calling them to do.