Spiritual Disciplines // SILENCE AND SOLITUDE
On Sunday I (Isaac) quoted from Marva Dawn’s book: Unfettered Hope: A Call to Faithful Living in an Affluent Society. Marva contends that we are living in a society that bends us towards consumption and entertainment. As a result, we live stimulated lives that tend towards apathy or laziness.
None of us is immune to the challenge of living in our day and age. Our phones, tablets, video game systems and computers provide us with endless opportunities to be entertained.
Some of you may be pushing back right now saying: Isaac, I don’t watch many movies, I don’t play video games, I don’t get caught up in that stuff!
For many, the noisy, distracting vice is news consumption. Neil Postman argues that:
“…most of our daily news is inert, consisting of information that gives us something to talk about but cannot lead to any meaningful action.”—Amusing Ourselves to Death (1984)
Imbibing in regular shots of the news can feel important, meaningful or even helpful! Surely, some of it is. But, newsrooms are built to make money and they make money by selling your attention and your attention is caught by dramatic and far off events. This is why no one (yet) has made much money off of local journalism. It takes a global news cycle to sell our time to advertisers.
I offer this perspective to you so that you might understand the cultural waters that you are swimming in. You will, likely, need to regularly detox from entertainment, news and social media. Certainly, we will need to turn off our devices in order to practice the ancient spiritual discipline of silence.
Practicing silence is one way we posture ourselves to hear God’s voice. I don’t think that this means that God has a massive task list waiting for us if we will just stop and listen. However, I do think he wants us to be willing to be bold like the Psalmist in Psalm 139:
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.Psalm 139:23–24 (NLT)
Today, I invite you to be courageous.
Decide to take three 5 minute SILENCE breaks today. Work up the courage to pray Psalm 139:23-24 as your own prayer.
Then, tell someone your experience in silence. If you don’t have anyone to tell, feel free to shoot me an email. I’d love to hear what God did in the silence. firstname.lastname@example.org