The Spiritual Practice of Discernment A Conversation with the Rev. Dr. Jane PattersonDecember 21, 2021 By Collegeville Institute Leave a Comment Have you ever asked yourself: how does spiritual discernment work, practically? What are the signposts? How can I feel God’s subtle nudge? In the final episode of this season, we discuss the ways that spiritual discernment practices reveal God’s calling in our big and little decisions. Join our conversation with the Rev. Dr. Jane Patterson, who is Project Director of the Communities of Calling Initiative at the Collegeville Institute. Jane recently retired from Seminary of the Southwest, where she was Associate Professor of New Testament and Director of Community Care. She is a wise teacher and expert on spiritual discernment who works with congregational leaders, many of whom we’ve heard from this season on the podcast. The Communities of Calling Initiative is a five-year program that grants congregations funds to design a new project or enhance existing ministries that help Christians discover and deepen their sense of God’s calling in their lives. Topics and resources discussed in this episode: Communities of Calling Initiative (CCI) Jane’s Vocation Circle (see bottom of the page) Called to Lives of Meaning and Purpose Initiative Bios Jane Patterson is Project Director for Communities of Calling Initiative at the Collegeville Institute. She recently retired from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, where she was Associate Professor of New Testament and Director of Community Care. In addition to Biblical Studies, she teaches in the area of Christian formation, where her work focuses on vocation and Christian practice. She is a contributor to Calling All Years Good: Vocation Across the Lifespan (Eerdmans, 2017) and the author of Keeping the Feast: Metaphors of Sacrifice in 1 Corinthians and Philippians (SBL Press, 2015). With John Lewis, she co-directed the St. Benedict’s Workshop, a ministry devoted to helping laity live their faith in daily life, and served the Diocese of West Texas as a member of the Discernment Committee. Ellie Roscher is a writer, theology teacher, and host of the Unlikely Conversations podcast. She is a board member at the Collegeville Institute and the author of 12 Tiny Things, Play Like a Girl, and How Coffee Saved My Life. Ellie holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in Theology from Luther Seminary. She lives in Minneapolis with her spouse and sons. Follow Ellie on social media at @ellieroscher [Twitter, Instagram, Facebook]. Matthew Ian Fleming edited the audio for this podcast. You can find Matthew on Instagram at @matthewianfleming and his other podcasts at www.alterguild.org. Discussion questions Spend some time reflecting on the big vocational questions posed by Ellie at the beginning of the episode: Why am I here? What is the work of my life? What is my community called to? Jane says one of the most important aspects of a sense of calling is that it is relational. Calling is not solitary — it is the way in which the world around us helps complete our creation by calling something forth from us. What is the world calling forth from you at this moment in time? What tools have been useful to you in times of discernment? Or what discernment tools might you hope to try in the future? Next Steps Check out resources to explore calling in your congregation on the Communities of Calling Initiative website. Learn more about the spiritual practice of discernment by viewing these Discernment Modules developed by Dr. Kathleen A. Cahalan of the Collegeville Institute. Miss the last episode? Listen to journalist Eliza Gray and Pastor Brett Younger of Plymouth Church discuss the way COVID shifted their engagement and ministry in church community. Follow the work of the Collegeville Institute on social media at @collegevilleins [Twitter, Instagram, Facebook] and subscribe to our email newsletter Like this post? Subscribe to have new posts sent to you by email the same day they are posted.