Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cultural ADD- finding silence.

I have been reading a womens Christian magazine and also their email newsletters I received this article today about finding silence in an over stimulated world- radios, music, televisions... quite an interesting read. (The bold parts are what really spoke to me) If this apeals there are more articles and information at their website

ADD and Groceries By Joy Williams

I am a noise-addicted woman in a culturally distracted world. Don’t believe me?I went to the grocery store just a few days ago. While I was busy thinking about dinner, I found myself humming along to the top 40 hits blaring overhead. I was reaching for glamorous articles (like toilet paper and lettuce) when I thought about changing the ringer on my phone … it was time. I went out to my car after purchasing my groceries, and my car stereo was tuned to the classical station. While I drove, my mind meandered, and so did my hands on the radio dial. I went from Vivaldi to Kelly Clarkson, from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to the Doors. Before I knew it, I had pulled into my driveway without absorbing one single song all the way through. With groceries unloaded, I went into the spare room to check out MySpace. Different profiles had carefully chosen songs, colors and banners to burst onto the scene with each visit. I stayed at this online dance club for a half hour and read several blogs of every emotion and opinion imaginable. All the while, in the background was the low hum of the TV I’d inadvertently turned on in the other room.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I took stock of these “natural” habits I’d formed in my day. The only word that came to the forefront of my thoughts was oversaturated.Have you ever felt this way? Has the noise in your life risen to a louder decibel? I am beginning to wonder if we are quietly suffocating ourselves with the noise by which we so quickly surround ourselves.
I recently had the privilege of going to the symposium of a highly esteemed, international cultural analyst regarding our country’s current temperature. An English accent danced through each word as he described a culture that is so noisy, so vocal. He spoke about an inflation of thought—that we desire being heard in a culture that stifles and yet promotes autonomy. His description of this constant kind of amplified motion and musing, he proposed, had caused a kind of cultural ADD … a restlessness within many of us. What he shared has astounded me, shaken me and invigorated my soul in the last few days. Though I will never demonize technology or music, this thought of “unnecessary noise” in my life has led me to a place of introspection.The world has shrunk because of the Internet. We have avalanches of opinions and information at our fingertips more than ever before.
But, herein, perhaps is the deeper issue beneath it all: If we are all “declaring,” who is really listening? This has caused a series of questions in my mind. “Am I afraid of quiet?” “Why do I always have the radio or iPod playing?” “How much time in my life is filled up with thinking about ‘me,’ when I should be thinking of others?” With this daily rush in our multitasking lives, maybe there is a great need to stop and breathe for a moment. When I tap into the silent stirrings of my soul, I can detect a desire for “still.” There is nothing wrong with quiet-nothing to fear—yet I’ve run from this many times.
For the first time in a long time, I took a walk outside yesterday while the fall was flirting with summer. I listened to the crackling of the leaves beneath my feet. I took in the sweet air wrapping around my face. I heard an old man laughing in the distance. And I sensed more glory in those minutes than I had in all the fast moments I had absorbed earlier.Moments of stillness, perhaps, allow our bulging spirits time to do some laundry.
When our mental hampers are overflowing, maybe it is our souls calling us to listen and quiet ourselves. The “motionless moments” just might allow those deeper mysteries from within to ri se up, and our hearts might be able to find fresh air again. And perhaps we’ll be able to hear a “still, small voice” in those placid moments, as well.I am inspired to remember the gift of quiet, and to be a soul that listens first before it speaks.
Maybe today is a day that you can choose to fight this cultural ADD in your own life. Perhaps today is the day you say no to the noise for a few moments.

May you find some quite motionless moments in your life.
God Bless Shelle :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Check out the new site listed immediately right: Afternoons.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

News News News News News News News

Noah has recovered well from his tonsils operation yesterday - in fact so well that they sent him home instead of asking him to stay the night. Thanks for your prayers.

Matt has had some bad news - his employer (in Disablility services) did not recieve much funding for next year, but after a very worrying week it looks like he will be picked up by the local TAFE.

We have all been at 6's and 7's lately: People on holidays, illness, meetings, concerts and winter blues. Hopefully this week we will return to a bit of a regular rhythm. At least some of us are going to be there!

I am reading Jack Dominians book "Living Love" at the moment. A wonderful reflection on love, life, community and singleness and the future of the church. Well worth your time.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Web links

Jamie Oliver teaching monks to cook!

A beautiful monastic funeral homily which contains this great poem:

God and I?
That’s simple.
We are like two big people in a very tiny boat
who are continually,
unexpectedly bumping into each other
and giggling.

Blessing to all of you

Monday, September 11, 2006


One of the community and I had a great chat on the weekend about the nature of community, its place in married and family life and the incrediable, unmissable dimension it beings to our lives.
That moment when you can't imagine being with and caring for those others you are traveling with is not only a grace filled one, but also the moment a deeper journey begins...

Nouwen, as usual, writes about it all brilliantly:

The great mystery is that in community we find a new loneliness, and it it turn, creates a new intimacy.

Paradoxically, if I'm well-embraced, well-held, well-kept by my friends, then suddenly, by the very intimacy of that embrace, I know that I am alone in a very deep way, in a loneliness that I didn't know before.

It is precisely that the love and intimacy of the other which reveals my deepest loneliness which I couldn't get in touch with before I entered into community.

In the freedom to hold, to touch, to be close, we realize how deeply alone we are, and should be, for God alone.

Alone I will die, even when I am surrounded by friends.

It's my unique journey.

I want, need, to live it with others, but life is still my lonely journey.

Yet when I realize that aloneness, I also realize a new intimacy.

As we come together we realize that we can be bonded like this only because we were loved long before we met each other ... A voice that said:

"You are my beloved son, on you my favour rests..."

Henri Nouwen, "The Road to Peace"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Australian Idol and the Christian Faith

Here in Australia, we have been exposed to the Fourth series of Australian idol. I am sure everyone around the world knows about the process - hopeful thousands are gradually narrowed down to a final winner - who is given a recording contract and instant access to the B-Grade star machine. This year they are encouraging songwriters and singers who can play an instrument to compete as well. Maybe they are searching for someone with real talent...

Interestingly, many of the winners of their respective sections thank God, make the sign of the cross, or some other religious affectation. I would love to see what the losers have to say about God! Maybe a little less complimentary. Now perhaps this is just because it is trendy to be "spiritual", or maybe its a cultural marker for some of these people (Like soccer players) but I am fascinated that an industry better know for its hedonism now is unafraid of some spiritual content...

There are larger issues at play as well. One of the final 12 contestants is the lead singer of a Queensland Based Christian band. How does the win at all costs, or I win because you lose ideal of the show fit with a mature faith view? How can a Christian compete in a competition where specialness, and "Look at me" are praised and rewarded and real qualities of compassion, justice and community could infact damage your chances? How does our real identity develop in this environment - when hidenness is so vital to spiritual growth?

Worse still, the final 12 competitors are put together in a house in a sort of competitive community. How psychologically damaging is it to spend time with people, and begin to develop real relationship, when any of them could most likely be evicted any week because of your success? How can real openness and compassion and humility develop in this environment?

What does this say about us as a society? About me? What messages are my children learning from all this? Success is all? People are to be used and beaten in the achievement of my dreams?

I don't know. But I like some of the music (and a lot drives me crazy...). And especially Bobby (pictured) because he sang the Church's "Under the milky way" - an Aussie mystic rock classic. You can read what the songs writer, the brilliant Steve Kilbey - says here. But be warned. It contains some bad and naughty words.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

On Retreat

Phil, Matt, Jason and Chris

Just us and the Monks.

That's a gift.

Lauds and Mass

Enough for now.