i just got back from meeting with my spiritual director. i was talking about this whole question of accountability and my group of guys i meet with annually. i mentioned that i’d settled on the idea that our process was more one of group spiritual discernment, or group spiritual direction. she agreed, but then went on to tell me how our first two steps were the same first two steps of a “quaker clearness committee”.
1. someone talks for however long they need (30 – 45 minutes) to identify the primary themes or problems or challenges or milestones of the past year and their current reality.
2. the group probes with questions for another 30 – 60 minutes. the process of questionning, in itself, becomes an act of spiritual discernment, as the answers lead to new questions, and the group begins to zero in on new or clarified issues.
3. finally, the group (in most cases — last week, in six of eight) gets a bit prescriptive in some action(s) we collectively sense need to be taken or considered.
quaker clearness committee
1. & 2. same thing
3. someone has been recording the process (a written record), and gives it to the subject for further reflection and listening.
in other words, the clearness committee doesn’t get prescriptive.
intriguing stuff to me. plus, i think “clearness committee” or “quaker clearness committee” would be a cool band name.