Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pastoral Tension #5 - Discernment

I felt like I was approaching heresy when I suggested another movie was better than Facing the Giants. The comparison was between it and Braveheart. Perhaps it was an unfair comparison, a battle of David versus Goliath, so to speak. Can Evangelicalism compete with Hollywood? Can the Creation Museum outmaneuver Jurassic Park?

When I raised such questions, my wise Sunday school class (who had allegedly spent the week dieting on Proverbs as part of our Bible-reading challenge for the year) said the question was "relative." No: Uncle Jeremy is relative. The quality of a movie is art and science.

Who wins a battle of Fireproof versus P.S., I Love You was not the real issue. The larger topic revolved around discernment. What value system, worldview, and biblical evaluation does one bring to watching a movie, picking a novel, or selecting a grocery store? How aware are we of our process of discernment? Do we swallow every pill that says Gospel on it? Do we reject every product made in Muslim Indonesia?

I will not answer these questions, but to say that motive and consistency is critical to the discernment process. But consistency does not mean unchanging, for consistency in discernment must include evaluation and re-application.

As a pastor I am ever facing the tension of discernment. How much to lead with questions? How much to tell it as it is? How much to confess? How much to conceal? Fortunately, I take comfort in pure motives (with a hint of vinegar and pride) and consistency (with notes of cherry and evaluation). But I take further comfort in the fact that God grants wisdom to those who ask.

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