Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Barking Dogs and Other Distractions - Harris

Feeling frazzled. Turn off the television, the radio, the dvds. Move that barking dog away from the window. And listen to the silence. Try it for one minute. I bet that minute seems like hours. Try it for two. Or three. Or four.

I bet you are squirming in your seat. Or maybe not. Maybe you have tuned into something that lies hidden most of the time. Maybe you are hearing God's voice.

We are so used to filling the 'dead air' that we often do not time to listen in silence. So used to noise and distractions that we cannot think straight.

For writers who are Christian, not taking time to listen in silence can be deadly to the quality of our work and to our message.

It happens when we rush to fill up the page in the same way we rush to fill up our days with 'stuff.' It happens when we decide to reach a word count that goes beyond the message God has given us to write. When we add our own 'stuff.'

It happens when we are so busy listening to political or cultural influences that we mistake those for the voice of God. I grew up in an environment that said a 'good Christian' was supposed to think and write and act and vote in a way that fits with their peers. A lot of people where I live still think that way. When that happens sermons are more about politics than Jesus. The Christian life beomes more about fitting in than finding Jesus. More lifestyle than faith. (Neither conservative or liberal churches are immune from it.)

So how do we stay on track? I think it helps if we remove ourselves from fray sometimes.

It's that silence we need, along with prayer and meditation, that keeps us 'salt and light.'

Jane Harris

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