Reader Comments and Brief Reviews


“Liebert (Changing Life Patterns) here offers multum in parvo [much in a small space] with this brief but excellent book on "discernment," the process of attempting to make decisions that are in tune both with the self and with God's will. Liebert approaches her subject with subtletly and intelligence and writes with unfussed clarity; better yet, her brief chapters feature clearly described actions or exercises that illustrate her points and advance the sorts of discernment she recommends.” --Library Journal, July 2008

“How can Christians invite God into their decision making? Liebert, who teaches spirituality at San Francisco Theological Seminary, says that discernment is about aligning human will with God’s. Unlike ordinary decision making, it requires prayer and the accountability of a faith community to help us know which way to go. Drawing on Christian thinkers through the ages, from Ignatius of Loyola and Jonathan Edwards to Frederick Buechner and Thomas Merton, Liebert teaches that discernment is both a spiritual gift and an acquired habit that can be honed through regular practice. To that end, she provides extensive exercises to help readers identify and work through discernment issues in their own lives. Readers should plan to take time with this book, because the exercises yield their richest rewards through careful and slow implementation—ideally over a period of 11 weeks. While the author cautions that absolute certainty is rarely possible, a diligent practice of discernment can lead to confirmation. Liebert’s wise spiritual counsel will aid many seekers as they determine their next step.” --Publishers Weekly, August 2008

“A little gem. Remarkably free of technical vocabulary, and taking account of the many ways people meet God, this book provides holistic, accessible and solid guidance for practicing discernmetn across the spectrum of Christian denominations.”  --Janet Ruffing, PhD, RSM, Professor of Spirituality and Spiritual Direction, Fordham University, New York

“A remarkably clear, practical, wise, and inviting introduction to the spiritual practices—and the good old-fashioned legwork—that constitutes the practice of discernment. Anyone who wishes to live a more discerning life as a whole, as well as the person facing specific and immediate decisions, will find the guidance and encouragement they need in these pages.” –Debra K. Farrington, author, Hearing with the Heart: A Gentle Guide to Discerning God’s Will for Your Life

“Elizabeth Liebert narries practical tools of discernment with sound theological principles. A must-read for anyone serious about teaching or practicing discernment.” –Margaret Benefiel, PhD, author of Soul at Work and The Soul of a Leader

“The book I have been waiting for for years.” –Sam Hamilton-Poore, author of The Earth Gospel