The Art and Rhetoric of Silence

Politicians have to talk. That’s what they do. (To borrow from the current Geico commercials.)

Today’s newspaper carried what journalists like to call an analysis–that things presidential front runners (newspapers also love that term-they turn political contests into long term horse races to maintain our interest and readership) have said in the past are coming back to bite them.

I could make that analysis with a “Well, duh…”

Yesterday I pondered the phenomenon where you can talk, and the more you talk the more you work yourself up, until you reach some sort of height of anger.

The thoughts came because of some study and thinking on the spiritual discipline of silence.

Scientists have pointed out that children learn more from how we act than from what we tell them.

Dallas Willard wrote, “In witnessing, the role of talking is frequently overemphasized.”

Sometimes how we act screams “Liar” as we try to tell people something–especially about things such as love, joy, peace.

Sometimes just being with someone in silence is better than talking.

Being of service to others is a stronger witness than telling people to be servants.

People watch us talk about others and wonder, “Gee, I wonder what they say about me when I’m not around.”

When I was an adolescent, I was quiet. People thought I was smart. I never opened my mouth enough to prove them wrong.

Sitting in silence for an hour or spending a day in silence is a challenge greater than public speaking for most. Try it sometime. Maybe regularly. Let your actions speak. See what happens both in your soul and in others.

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