Sunday, April 10, 2011

Silence as a Spiritual Discipline

In my Spiritual Formation class we will discuss silence as a spiritual discipline. I like the definition of silence that Dr. Wayne Oates penned in his 1979 book, Nurturing Silence in a Noisy Heart. He wrote, "Silence ... is not just not talking. Silence is a discipline of choosing what to say and what not to say. Nurturing silence, then, is the growth of the power of discernment as to what will be the focus of your attention, care, and commitment. If you limit what you say to what is true, if you limit yourself to what can be spoken in love, then you will have much less to say. What you do say, though, will have a hundred times more influence." (pg. 9-10) His definition sounds like Philippians 4:8 which says that we need to think on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, excellent and worthy of praise. Many of us talk too much. I'm a Minister and we have a serious vocational malady--we are too fond of words, especially our own. I think most ministers talk too much, especially when we have a captive audience on Sundays. Not just Ministers but I've grown weary of our national leaders and their speeches, debates, talk shows, etc. In my opinion, they do a lot of talking that doesn't follow the Biblical principles in Philippians, even though a lot of their talking is defending the concept that we are a Christian nation. I wish our leaders, along with us Ministers, would practice the spiritual discipline of silence.