The Jesuits (Society of Jesus) have a name for it — discernment. Discernment is basically a process of individual decision-making that attempts to get a glimpse of God's will apart from one's own ego. The raging debate on same-sex marriage brings this to mind ("A vote of conscience," Jan. 31).
I am neither a theologian, philosopher nor a present or former Jesuit. Nor do I have an inside line on the will of God. I do have some abilities to reason and to process my own life's experiences, from which I make the following observations:
If one looks to the Bible, I suspect a fairly sound case can be made against same-sex marriage. Passages can be taken out of context to support either view, but overall those against same-sex marriage will find the greatest support here. The Bible is a solid resource for determining who God is and what God expects of us.
Scriptural writings are not the only resource that we have at hand. God reveals who God is by God's supporting presence throughout the history of a people. And since cultures are so different in their histories, so are their experiences of God's relationship to them.
God is a God of change and evolution. Scripture is static, whereas history is dynamic. The two are complementary to each other, yet change is seldom embraced enthusiastically at first. The legislative outcome of this debate surely will be painful to one side or the other. The is when it will be time for the God of healing to become ever more present.
Richard Ulrich, Glen Arm