“Solitude, silence and contemplation?”
A friend recently sent me an email sharing a few snippets from material he had been encouraged to read by a friend who was into a religious leader, whose name I won’t mention.
One of the snippets promoted “solitude, silence and contemplative prayer.” It was somehow interwoven with “loving one another” and being connected to Jesus.
I’m paraphrasing because, quite frankly, all the ideas, though very acceptable separately, came across as mumbo jumbo. It was like the alphabet soup of religious, idiomatic jargon swirling together in a suspended state. The order of the ideas could shift with no change in meaning.
My friend wrote me wanting to know my thoughts.
To be honest, I don’t get it. Besides confusing, it is all so yesteryear.
The terminology harks back to a time when solitude was fairly common, silence was required and contemplation was allowed only in prayer, the silent kind. No audibles allowed.
I don’t know why we still use these terms.
The words were popularized when religion was owned and operated by the powerful few, centuries ago. The Spirit was entirely regulated.
Whatever ideas individuals developed through personal contemplation had to be kept a secret lest they be accused of heresy.
Today we’re smarter. We understand that these words describe the very issues that deprive people of feeling alive. Jesus commented on this very thing, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free!”
“Free” being synonymous with “Alive!”
And He said this to the most rigidly religionized people of the day. He didn’t say anything about solitude, silence or contemplation. According to Jesus, all they needed do was “continue in His Word.”
That sounds like action to me.
Should we still be using such words? Let’s look a bit closer. [Read more…]