For Discerning Readers Only
On the fifth anniversary of Discern, let’s revisit the magazine’s founding principles from the first issue.
Let’s be upfront—the unabashed purpose of this magazine is to influence the way you think … just like everyone else in your life is trying to do.
A piece of your mind
From the time you’re born, everyone wants a piece of your mind. Everything you hear or read is someone’s attempt to shape the way you think.
Likewise, everything you say or write is your attempt to shape, to some degree, what someone else thinks. Never underestimate the power of those who exert the most influence in this arena, because as the thinking goes, so follows the behavior of individuals, groups, even the world. Thoughts give birth to deeds.
The best and the worst
From this influence emerge both the best and worst of humanity’s accomplishments. For example, the dizzying pace of technological breakthroughs is due largely to the influence of globally shared knowledge. Many of these breakthroughs immensely improve our quality of life.
Why, then, are we still in the Dark Ages when it comes to finding solutions for humanity’s greatest social and moral problems?
This nagging question has a simple explanation: Since no two people think exactly alike, inevitably our values compete. And because our thinking is fluid, inevitably our standards change, our ethics evolve, our morals seesaw—but in many different directions, each person determining what is right in his or her own eyes. Sooner or later people’s attitudes chafe, egos flare, emotions boil over and people clash.
Because the conflict is so hurtful, even fatal, we grasp for better ways to think about life’s biggest issues—living peaceably, attaining happiness, resolving conflict and finding meaning to our existence. But as the answers elude us, we wobble from one crisis to another.
Wave the white flag
Isn’t it time to wave the white flag and concede that, since our best minds have failed to figure it out, we need to turn elsewhere for new thinking? Discern exists to do just that—to point in a new direction. Its reason for being is found in its basic definitions:
dis•cern 1. to examine, prove or test, scrutinize; 2. to identify, distinguish; 3. to come to know or recognize.
We don’t claim to have a corner on the market of knowledge. But we do know that humanity’s problems are spiritual in nature—they spring from misguided thinking and destructive attitudes. Hence, they must be met with spiritual solutions—changes in perception, understanding and attitude.
It’s a spiritual quest
Discerning the truth about life’s meaning, right and wrong, good and evil, is a spiritual quest. We believe humanity’s track record proves it’s impossible to comprehend these matters apart from God, whom billions of people claim to know but who, in reality, remains largely ignored, misrepresented and irrelevant in daily life.
“My thoughts are not your thoughts,” God says. But He assures us that we can learn to think His way “if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding.”
Yes, the biggest battle in the world right now is for the mind and heart of every single person. And, yes, into this confusing clamor of ideas Discern adds its voice. This fifth anniversary issue gives you a fresh view for examining the issues of life in the light of God and the timeless principles of His Word.
We hope your thinking is challenged and enlightened, and your life changed, by the power to discern.