- (Church) historical
- Co-incidence (e.g. certain circumstances co-inciding with a desire)
- Pragmatism (linked but not necessarily congruent to co-incidence)
- Observation of signs
For different Christians I think different sources take a more authoritative role in the process of reflection and discernment, and soe are often totally excluded. 1-3 have been the substance of a classic theological education. But I think it is probably fair to say that 4 should probably be paramount regardless of your biases towards the rest. Biblical reflection would then be an indispensible second, but this is tricky as most of us are so bad at this. It would also be interesting to diagram the way each one potentially critiques and moderates the others (e.g. Bible and theology, or prayer and pragmatism). The last two only occurred to me as I wrote the list down - but in my experience these can often be very significant in people's processes of reflection, although 10 is especially frought with issues. By articulating and evaluating the sources we draw upon to reflect theologically we should be able to move towards a more integrated and authentic process, which is a vital key to being an integrated and authentic Christian.
let me know what you think. :-)