Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Discipline of Silence

Albert Einstein has had the following quote attributed to him:

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
I have been engaged, when I have had the time, in an on-line discussion of same-sexuality with some Episcopalians/Anglicans who do not share my convictions on the issue. We have found ourselves repeating arguments that had been unpersuasive in the past and, perhaps, expecting different results. The other day I said in a post that I was no longer going to contribute to the discussion and then posted another comment. One person, referring to the topic as the Hotel California topic, told me, "Sorry, Daniel. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."

Leaving a discussion, even a fruitless one, takes discipline, at least for me it does. I reconnected recently with someone I had know when I was an undergraduate. He had an office on campus and remembers me standing in the office door after meetings carrying on a coversation with him for ten or fifteen minutes. It was hard then, and it's hard now to leave a discussion. I think that there must be something more, something very wise that I still have to say. I want to have the last word. But my wisdom is not worth much and I never really have the last word. The only true wisdom is God's and God has the last word. My prolonging fruitless conversations strikes me as one more attempt to play God, to make myself the center of my own universe.

Several years ago I was singing the hymn "I want to walk as a child of the light" and I was brought up short by the words "the star of my life is Jesus." I suspect Kathleen Thomerson intended a celestial reference, but in that moment I saw it as a cinematic one. I want so much to be the star of the movie that is my life, but I believe that the only way for it to have a happy ending, a joyful one, will be if Jesus is the star.

I'll try to maintain the discipline of silence and let Jesus speak.

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