Refuse to be Passive

Noise

In Life in General on March 30, 2011 at 9:19 am

We live in a culture that surrounds us with noise. Both audio and visual noise bombard us constantly. How many of us don’t have a cell phone, TV, watch movies, listen to music in the car? How many of us barely even register the billboards we pass on our way into work each day? How many of us get caught up in the advertising of retail stores, and the pretty signs and mannequins in store windows? We are bombarded with messages to buy, songs of love and lament, joy and hate. And let’s not forget that Saturday comes after Friday– thank you Rebecca Black.

Do you count on white noise to fill your evenings? I was chatting with a friend, and both she and I either turn on music or the TV when we get home in the evenings, simply for the white noise. Visual noise. It’s not only advertising. What about that TV show fluff, that actually makes you feel worse about yourself. After sitting in front of the TV for an hour, you feel sluggish, and that bag of crisps you just downed without realizing it doesn’t help. The characters on TV seem to live fun and exciting lives, whereas yours is…normal. Or Facebook, Twitter, and every other social networking tool as a form of visual noise. Or how about those apps on your iPhone?

We are bombarded by noise. Has it come to the point that we can’t even handle silence? Are we scared of the silence? What does silence mean?

It’s not a wonder that people claim that God never talks to them these days. It’s not a wonder that people question God’s existence. Sometimes I think God plunks himself down right in front of us, going “Hey, let’s chat!” and he gets drowned out by all the noise and business in our lives. We’re so visually and audibly distracted by our fast paced life– exciting or no– that we fail to see opportunities for peace right in front of us. The Bible speaks again and again to encountering God in silence, calling Israel to be silent before God. Even the life of Jesus had central disciplines of silence and solitude.

This week, try to step back, and turn off you iPod when you go for a jog, or turn off the radio when you’re in your car. Opt out of checking your Facebook in the evening, or take a break from playing Angry Birds on your iPhone. Take time to encounter silence, even if you’re not aiming to encounter God. How does it effect you? Is it uncomfortable? Why? If it’s not uncomfortable for you, then why is it often avoided? Silence is a good and integral part of life. This week, make a point to practice silence.

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