DAY 12: Facing the difficult decisions together

We continue our reflection on God’s call to us through the ELCA’s “60-Day Journey Toward Justice in a Culture of Gun Violence.”

DAY 12: Facing the difficult decisions together

Though written in 1999, “Talking Together as Christians About Tough Social Issues” is still an
excellent, adaptable guide for how to approach and facilitate conversations about divisive social
issues such as gun violence prevention.

It describes the Spirit-driven work of sitting down together—face to face—to discuss, deliberate,
pray, and make decisions about tough social issues in our faith communities:

“Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we grow in understanding and service as we talk together
about the tough social dilemmas and challenges we face today. It isn’t always clear what we
should do as Christians in these situations. When we as Christians face difficult decisions or
situations in our personal lives, we often pray about them, read the Scriptures, or talk with a few
trusted friends or a pastor. Likewise, when we face difficult decisions or situations as the church,
we need to pray together, read Scripture together, study the Christian tradition, and talk together
as the church about our situation and our experiences in order to seek some guidance from the
Holy Spirit.

“Whether we do this individually, or with others, we are practicing what the Church has called
‘spiritual discernment.’ We discern together, trusting the Holy Spirit to work through Scriptures,
Christian tradition, human reason, and our experience to speak to our situation and guide our
conversation. We trust that we might come to understand what God may be telling us and
leading us to do, and that the Spirit will empower us to do it.”

Another practical resource for guiding conversations is “Talking Together as Christians Cross-culturally: A Field Guide,” revised edition, 2009.