A Heart of Discernment

Nearly 50 years later, I smile when I recall that the memories and relationships formed during ACMNP have truly shaped who I am. I am old enough to have worked with Warren Ost, ACMNP’s founder, and some of his circle.

At one point, I met a very interesting person who was the district interpretive ranger, and he said he thought I’d be good as a park ranger.

Of course, I was busy with ACMNP and pumping gas, changing flats, washing windshields, and other things that don’t happen at service stations anymore, but in the off-season went through another application process, and for the next five years I was able to remain working in Yellowstone—as a ranger. Had I not gotten a feel for the park and its people while in ACMNP, I’d never have thought of that possibility. That career turn led me to focus on environmental ethic and responsibility for God’s nonhuman creation that we as people have.

A Heart of Discernment

Perhaps the most important thing I learned while with ACMNP was that whenever we feel as if we have an answer to something we find important, we’d do well to listen to the cares and hopes and fears of others around us—for we might be offering an answer to a question they’re not asking. Listening—and watching—what is going on around us, and responding only then, is at the heart of discernment. And discernment is at the core of ministry, no matter our setting. I learned a good dose of the positive value of genuine humility.

David T., Yellowstone National Park, 1970

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