Many Christians of varied theological persuasions argue for a stronger relationship with the Bible. From the literalists to liberals, the Bible is seen as an important component to living a life of Christian faith. Pay attention to Jesus. Pay attention to God's commandments. Follow the household codes of Paul. The Bible argues for a communal consciousness. Christians usually take their pick about what is important to them.
What happened to casting lots?
Since Seth Godin ruminated on the coin flip in April, I've thought about the dozen or so call processes I've watched closely. How many opportunities and resources are wasted with superfluous information gathering and study all in the name of "discernment?" I'm not sure the congregation learns any more about itself, prepares itself better for mission, or puts itself in a better position to have a better ministry relationship with its next pastor through a prolonged call process lasting a year or more (there are plenty of call failures out there). At what point is the line crossed between learning and resource wasting (I wonder about that and my own formalized education)? I believe reflection and study are important--I would be in the wrong line of work if I didn't. One thing Godin does not examine is that we are probably averse to coin flips because the primitive practice somehow insults our modern level intelligence or abilities. Are our methods at reaching a decision or a call choice reliable? Are they faithful? Godin looks at what we call in the church world "discernment" as a stewardship issue. There comes a time when a coin flip is better. If we want to make it sound biblical, let's call it casting lots.
Casting lots appears 23 times in the NRSV (by my count), and this methodology is depicted as faithful, fair and reliable as any study or prayer method. Let's be faithful prayers and students. But let's be good stewards and go for casting lots. Maybe then we won't overstate our importance, and even be better stewards in meantime.