Saturday, May 5, 2007

Noise Saturation

There are so few quiet places. Work is not quiet. There are children imploring and groaning everywhere. The coffeeshop is not quiet. There is loud music playing and people talking. Church is not quiet. That would mean we are being too "religious." The library is not quiet. There are children screaming and cell phones ringing(and being answered, despite signs saying 'use cell phones outside') . My friends get worried or miffed if I don't say anything for a long time, or don't get in touch with them at least once a week. How many people would go insane if all noise ceased for one hour?


flyawaynet said...

I wonder if it would actually last a whole hour, after 5 minutes a conversation would start up about how quiet it is. :)

Seriously though, an hour of quiet... that would just be amazing.

Nate said...

Nobody ever thinks about it because we are so bombarded with activity and stimulus 24-7. I hardly think this is the way it has always been in all places. The fast-paced, workaholic, consumer's lifestyle has seen to the demise of most silence.

I remember my days volunteering with Young Life when, at camp, the kids would be asked...not to "make a decision for Christ," but to go outside, all 400 of them or so, and spend the next 20 minutes in absolute silence. The results ranged from nothing special to major breakthroughs...including decisions for Christ.

flyawaynet said...

That's an interesting idea, I spend so much time praying, and some time waiting on God, but I wonder what would happen if I spend equal amounts of time just silently waiting.

Nate said...

Interesting you mention that-- I would say personally, the practice of silence (that is, prolonged periods of silence and solitude, often in nature) revolutionized the way I thought about prayer. I think silence centers us on exactly what is going on- that GOd is acting, and that we are responding. Rather than the more busy, verbal types of prayer that make it hard for us to realize we are not the source of our own salvation.

Richard Foster has written about it in "Celebration of Discipline." Thomas Merton and other monastic types have written quite insightfully on the practice also.