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Entries in Silence (1)

Tuesday
Dec232014

Turn down the volume

I like the music of Switchfoot. They have catchy tunes. One of the songs they sing, "Adding to the Noise," is appropriate for today's world where we're so plugged into technology.

"If we're adding to the noise
turn off this song." 

Another group I like, The Punch Brothers, recently released a new song called "I Blew If Off," which has a similar theme, and a chorus reflecting the loss of face to face contact:

"There's nothin' to say
That couldn't just as well be sent
I've got an American share
Of 21st century stress."

You can click here for the rest of the lyrics.

We all know how technology affects our lives daily. I'm sure I don't feel any different about it at 49 years old than a woman of a similar age felt when the telephone came along; or when the radio became popular; or the television.

I think a woman like myself in 1950, for example, probably felt the lack of silence as I often do.

My kids are all home and that means there is a lot of talking, game playing, laughing, movie watching, and of course, music. My youngest has been playing Debussy on my neglected piano, and my other son has been up in his room with his guitar. The two of them, along with my daughter, are singing on Christmas Eve, and the boys are writing an original composition for the event. Last night, as I was trying to figure out an issue with getting some photos on a memory stick for development, I realized how poor I am at concentrating with a lot of sound around me. I've become rather used to the quiet.

Silence is good. I love music, the sounds of nature, laughter, listening to my children talk, or in the nursery at church hearing the toddlers talk to one another. But I love silence, too. I realized in the past week or so how much more of it I need. It's possible to have no audible sound, but a lot of noise. Too much social media and news can become noise, especially when the ones doing the reporting are saying nothing new, saying it badly, or revealing their ignorance. There's a lot of ignorance out there. Why do people with no real understanding think they have anything to contribute? It boggles my mind. And Christians are not immune. Just because we know the Lord, and know the bible and theology doesn't mean we know everything about a situation. More and more this past week I'm thinking that context is crucial. I live in my context, and there is a very limited ability for me to understand others outside of how they live. Truth is real, and principles of God's word are applicable to every situation, but that does not mean I understand someone else's life.

I'm becoming more and more concerned that here in Canada, Christians are checking out. Rather than understand how our life of faith relates to our culture, we look to other cultures and ignore our own. I live here. This means here is very important to me.

I realized recently that there are too many voices dragging my attention every which way. I re-visited my Facebook friend list and who I follow on Twitter and pared things down. I want to return to thinking longer about fewer things than imagining (erroneously) that I can somehow be fluent about every situation. No one can live everywhere in the world. I want to give myself 100% to fewer things rather than 10% to a myraid of things.

And yes, that may mean I am left out of the conversation. Well, I won't roll over and die if that happens, will I? The thing is to be in the conversations where God wants me, not in the conversations that will keep me with  the "in crowd." It may mean being in obscure conversations, or the conversations that are not making the rounds on social media. That's just fine.

If I'm adding to the noise, what's the point? I need less noise in my life so I can hear what I'm supposed to hear.