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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sounds and Silences

At what points during the past years have you found yourself speechless? Why? (Were you awed, outwitted, fumbling for words, suffering from a sore throat, or what?) (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 741).

Sometimes I feel talkative, and sometimes I don't. I really can't explain why except to say that at times I feel inspired (an urge to write or talk over which I seem to have little or no direct or willful control). Inhibitions to speaking also seem outside willful control. There have been times, especially over lunch, that I would have given my right arm to have the facile ability to engage in entertaining conversation with others sitting at the table. But, out of all proportion to the apparent significance of the occasion, I earnestly have felt that God did not want me to speak. It as is if my desire to speak is trumped by higher authority. Composing papers in college shared in this phenomenon. Sometimes I was inspired (again, outside willful control) and had great energy and coming ideas. At other times (outside the will) I experienced what only can be called an enforced silence. These silences are occasionally problematic as we find ourselves in command performance situations during which it is very awkward and even penalizing to remain silent. I recall in high school being on a panel aired by the local radio station in which I said not one word. This was extremely awkward and humiliating, but I honestly felt as if God desired that I remain silent. There is the saying “the devil made me do it” ejaculated when we wish to rationalize our own shortcomings. Perhaps saying that “God made me do it” is a similar and more self-righteous rationalization of my own limitations and excesses. I remember as a young man in college a professor saying that when people begin to write, they sometimes experience the urge to masturbate – a behavior that can seem more driven than willful. Perhaps something similar is going on here, but I choose to dignify the drive (or conversely its inhibition) by appealing to the throne of God.

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