SP 2685 Discernment: Systems and Nature

January 2007

Pre-Class Assignment (II)

During January session you will be working extensively with a single structure in which you live/act in your daily life. This prayer experience is designed to help you surface the system you are called to be working with during our time together in January.

Before you begin this prayer process, please read the articles by Shea, especially 37-39 and Delbecq, especially pp. 5-9 and 13-22. (You need not try to answer the questions Shea addresses to you, as we will ponder a reworked series when we are together in January.)

This prayer process is akin to Lectio Divina, but here you “read” your daily life and allow God to draw your attention to the system where God is seeking your contemplative action. Invite God to bring this system to your attention. Your awareness may be drawn by attraction or aversion. Once you notice a single structure to be in your focus, ponder the system and your presence in it from various angles, allowing your awareness of the system to deepen considerably. We will take the next steps together in January.

Examples of structures that you might select include all kinds of teams, staffs, committees, organizations, etc. A structure which often beckons us is the family. However, because the structure of the family is replete with interpersonal dynamics, which are difficult to ferret out as distinct from the systemic dynamics, I encourage you NOT to bring a family structure for the course. Also, the more specific and manageable a system is (that is, of a scale that you can know it and interact with it significantly), the more satisfying the process is while you are learning it. Once you have discerned your system, you might want to bring with you a mission statement or other documents that give a sense of the mission and/or history of the structure. While not obligatory, this kind of documentation will be helpful at one point in the process.


Elizabeth Liebert (with thanks to with thanks to Nancy Wiens)
January 2007