Doing LSD


Every other Tuesday night, a group of 8-12 people gather at our house.  We start with hanging out, then we read some prayers, then we do our LSD.

Before you jump to any conclusions, LSD is the acronym we’ve chosen that stands for LIFE SITUATION for DISCERNMENT. Each time we meet, one person shares a situation in their lives about which they want the group’s discernment. They share briefly about the situation, then we study a passage of the Bible, then we come back to the person’s LSD and ask how the passage we just studied might connect. We listen more, pray, ask questions, and try to discern what God might be doing. Sometimes the process leads to a decision, sometimes to tears, and other times to some shifts in how to conceive of the situation. Focusing on one person’s LSD helps us have a pretty deep process around one person about what is most important for them.

My observation is that doing this kind of thing is fairly unusual. I think it is because we’ve lost the art of interdependence. We’re expected to figure out our lives either on our own, possibly with our immediate family, or with paid professionals.

I’ve been on both sides of the LSD; presenting my own situation and also listening to others’. It is a vulnerable thing to bring a tender and important part of my life to a group of people like this. But the pay-off is that I am not alone. My family is not an independent entity. We belong to other people and other people belong to us. It is our attempt to live life in a connected community.

Where did we lose the art of interdependence? Most of us played on sports teams, did ropes courses, or a trust walk or two, so what happened? When did being an adult become an exercise in doing everything alone? I think we’ve been sold a bill of goods. We’ve been convinced that if we’ve arrived that we have within ourselves all the perspective that we need, when actually, who can claim that? With humility about this, perhaps we can begin to carve out places for LSD’s and build a growing culture of interdependence. And maybe, just maybe, that is a more genuine expression of true adulthood.

What are your attempts at interdependence in your life? What are the blocks?


  1. I’m starting to look forward to the weekly email containing your blog comments. I forget about it and, poof, there it is. LSD, in my high school days, meant Long Slow Distance for our cross country team workout, so your headline brought me back.
    Anyway, what a great practice. My life would be sorely lacking and my growth stunted without similar opportunities to “deep process” in the manner you describe. I am grateful for all the friends who allow me this privilege. Great advice.

  2. Cute acronym! What you do here w your group sounds like a kinder, gentler and smaller version of what a presbytery meeting could be: A council, as it were, of peers meeting together to search the Scriptures, pray and, importantly, listen in order to discern a next step in life as a follower of Jesus. Rather like the circumstances in Acts 15. The listening aspect of discernment and the interdepence (which trusts that the individual seeking discernment is a free moral agent capable of making a God honoring decision) prevents the process from devolving into groupthink. This might make for an interesting Grow Group .2.0 and coupled w a missional aspect…well, who knows where that may lead in thecommunities where we live, work, and play?

  3. Very wise observation. We live such isolated lives, and we have to cherish those opportunities to get the insights of others.

  4. My experience in these situations is that one must be able to trust each person and that confidentiality be sacred. I have seen people hurt, myself incdued by people not observing these things. On the other hand, it is a freeing and growth-filled expereince to be able to share openly about one’s feelings and to know that a shared burden or joy is a double blessing. Thank you for sharing that.

  5. To answer your question about how we pursue interdependence…
    – Form a prayer group with a few other guys. We meet weekly to praise and thank God (get a right perspective), listen to God (get direction) and join Him in prayer for the things on His heart. This time has become a key life line for me each week, and the men with whom I pray grow to be deep brothers at arms.
    – Find a mentor or two – I’ve made it a habit to have one or two “elder” mentors with whom I meet regularly (once or twice a month) and one or two “peer” mentors with whom I do the same. We don’t have a process as clearly defined as LSD, but we pretty much do the same thing. Again, this is a huge help as I face the undulations, twists and turns of life as a child of God, husband, father, boss, employee, discipler, coach, evangelist, maintenance man, investor, etc.

    Overall, I’m convince that I simply CANNOT make it on my own. I was not built to. God designed me to need all the other parts of the body, and I am in desperate touch with that need. The more I get that, the better I experience relationships, especially in my family, and the body of Christ.

  6. I’m glad for all these comments and input. It got me thinking more about spaces that we have and need for deeper input. Besides my small group I described, I have been impressed with what group supervision for counselors can be like. It is often a very deep and revealing experience that really does help with one’s professional acuity. Wouldn’t it be tremendous if every profession built in input like this? The challenge–and Father Ray mentioned this in his comment–is building a culture of interdependence that fosters trust and openness to the process.

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