HEARING WITH THE HEART: A Gentle Guide to Discerning God's Will for Your Life

Debra K. Farrington, Author . Jossey-Bass $19.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7879-5959-3

Farrington's touch is indeed gentle as she guides readers through the steps of discernment. Rather than relying on cautionary tales of the bad things that will happen if people fail to discern God's will, Farrington emphasizes God's love throughout the book. She makes the case that God's will for humanity matches perfectly with the heart's deepest desires and enables people to do the most good for those around them. Her emphasis on the positive is enhanced by her balanced use of scripture, personal anecdotes, and stories from the lives of Christians throughout history, such as the Desert Fathers and the Society of Friends (Quakers). Perhaps most impressive is Farrington's ability to use scripture and Christian orthodoxy as the primary basis of her insights (she is an Episcopalian), but at the same time honor less orthodox and even non-Christian traditions. Staunch evangelicals will have trouble with some of her language (such as referring to people as God's "co-creators") and her ambivalence about certain portions of the Bible. But everyone from the most conservative Christian to the most spiritual-but-not-religious folks will find her tools for discernment useful. They include the Quaker practice of settling into silence and waiting on God as well as Lectio Divina, a method for meditating on scripture. Farrington's final section invites readers to go through the process of discernment, but one need not be at a crossroads to appreciate this book. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/23/2002
Release date: 12/01/2002
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