Even if you have spent as little as ten minutes on Calvin’s campus you have probably become sick of the words “discern” and “discernment”. It’s one of the many words that Calvin overuses, much like “shalom”, responsible freedom, community, and “koinonia” (which means, more or less, “community”, but using Koine Greek makes you look so much more spiritual and smart!). But what exactly does discerning mean and how does one do it?
Firstly, read everything David Dark ever wrote and treat Ken Heffner like a god on Earth, always paying close attention when he speaks. Never pass up an opportunity to go to any SAO movie or concert, and always go to the preceding/following discussions.
Here’s the basic outline to keep in mind: God created good and thus if there is good in anything at all (even if there is only a tiny glimmer) God created it. There, now you don’t even have to read David Dark (which is a thorougly dense, circular and quickly dated read anyhow).
Remember that it is your Christian duty to discern everything, and we mean everything. Watch any type of movie? You must discern it, whether it be “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” or “Boondock Saints”. The same goes for tv, magazines, commercials, periodicals, class handouts and books (David Dark and other books on discernment included). This all can become tiring and stressful to the freshman students in the dorms and so, on the eighth day, Ken Heffner created the Cultural Discerner to help!
The position of Cultural Discerner is usually held by two sophomores (a boy and a girl) in each dorm. They go through a process by which dorm leadership and Ken must make sure that they are up to the daunting challenges of discerning everything, not only for themselves but for everyone else in the dorm as well. But, if your dorm doesn’t have a CD already by the time people start moving into the dorm in September, a sophomore may be signed up for the post by their RA, voluntarily or not.
As a former CD, I can let you all in on a secret; No CD can ever honestly tell you what the hell they do. Sure, there’s a bunch of pompous indie scum in the group who will give you an incredibly vague answer, but they have no clue either. Basically, the CD will go to a 2-3 hour weekly meeting. During which everyone will talk in circles about nothing at all. You will leave each meeting thinking “WTF happened?” Towards the end of each meeting the CDs will listen to a song or two by a pretentious indie “artist” such as Sufjan Stevens (whom Ken and half the population of Calvin have a ginormous crush on). A warning: Ken will get severly perturbed if you mention that Sufjan really isn’t that good and should learn how to actually play the instruments well (instead of merely sounding like a preschooler with an ego problem banging pans together) and should learn that falsettos are neither sexy nor appealing (especially his), and the rest of the CDs will ostracize you.