Kenneth Samuel: Got the Answer?

Romans 12:2

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect."

Kenneth L. Samuel

I'm old enough to remember the thick, hardcover book of Mathematics that was once given out to 6th and 7th grade public school students.  The answers to every math problem in the book were in the back of the book, upside down, in small print.  When assigned math problems for homework, the easiest thing to do was to simply write down the answers found in the back of the book.

The answers were easy until the math teacher called me to the front of the class and directed me to write on the board the mathematical process by which I'd arrived at my answers.  Having skipped the process, the correct answers were useless at that point.

There is no shortage of quick and easy answers for life's perplexities.  Some religions and some atheists and some everyday philosophers are armed and ready with all the right answers all the time.  But it's much easier to copy the right answers than to disengage from the cults of easy solutions and enter into processes of genuine discernment.  Discernment is not about religious or secular conformity.  Discernment is all about determined, discriminating, deliberate, demythologized discovery.

According to Romans, the will of God is not determined by easy recitations and catechisms.  The will of God must be proven.  The will of God must be tried and tested.  The will of God must be examined and discussed.  The will of God must be discerned.

True discernment will certainly lead to some answers.  But those answers will come only as a result of a process that opens us to other possibilities, other perspectives and a deeper testing of our own values.  And those answers will always be subject to the review of other discriminating minds.


Gracious God, in a world where so many minds are pre-configured to right answers, enable us to answer your call to engage the processes of critical thinking.  Renew our minds.  Amen.


Taken with permission from the UCC's Still Speaking Devotional.