I presented a workshop today on the need for the return of the ancient and Biblical disciplines of silence and solitude to normative Christianity. I find it difficult to practice these discipline with any regularity, because the quest of these calls is in essence a call to do nothing. J. P. Moreland summarizes the benefits of these disciplines as means to sift our hearts and return us to a clearer, devotional and honest state of being:
“The regular practice of doing nothing, however, is crucial for spiritual growth. It keeps us from having an inflated view of our importance, it surfaces anxiety, fear, and worry along with our controlling strategies to keep from facing them, and it opens our heart to hear from our real, authentic selves and God. These benefits of solitude combined with silence — a form of ‘doing nothing’ — are of crucial importance in today's climate. Arguably, the most distinctive, pervasive characteristic of contemporary folk is stress. And a stressful life is one prone to depression and anxiety. So now more than ever it is important for Christians to incorporate the disciplines of solitude and silence into their regular practices.”
May we all learn the wisdom to be still in the presence of the Lord. "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" (Psalm 46:10, NIV).
Painting by Luke Flowers (2006).