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Why Are We So Afraid of Silence?

I read this article in Relevant Magazine today, and I feel speaks directly to a large part of the problems with many of us is today. We often distract ourselves from reality. God is constantly trying to get our attention, and many times, it is to no avail. 

Why Are We So Afraid of Silence?

We need to stop burying our emptiness in noise and activity.

by Jayson D. Bradley

Published at relevantmagazine.com 

I sat in the spiritual director’s office and wept. It was the darkest time I’d ever experienced, and I was doing my level best to make my life—and the lives of everyone in my wake—miserable.

I had decided I was done with the Church, and I was still trying to decide if I was done with Jesus. The director just sat there watching me while I heaved big, wet, snotty sobs.

“When was the last time you were quiet?” he asked.

“What do you mean?” I responded, wiping my eyes with my shirt sleeve.

“When was the last time you just sat quietly with no music, books, TV or Internet to distract you? When was the last you just were just silent? Oh, and sleeping doesn’t count.”

“I don’t …” I sighed. “I don’t even know.”

It was true. I seriously could not think of a recent time of prolonged silence.

After a long pause, he said, “It seems your emptiness has caught up with you.”

Troubling the Water

For most of recorded history, you couldn’t get away from it. The farmer, monk, chef and seamstress all worked in relative silence within the rhythms of the day, month and year. Gradually, technology intruded upon those rhythms, and upset that silence.

Electric light extended the evening and absconded with our rest. Radio introduced constant chatter, and TV doubled down on that chatter, requesting our total attention. Our ability to play music in our homes has gone through a regular evolution becoming more and more mobile. When I was a teen, I was excited for the ability to listen to a portable cassette; now I carry thousands of albums around with me.

Right now, there’s a device in my pocket that allows me access most of the world’s knowledge, music, games and film—and many of its people. It’s a technological wonder that would amaze people from just 25 years ago. I mostly use it to watch cat videos (my wife will corroborate).

My average day looks like this:

  • Wake up and grab my phone and scroll through multiple social media channels (in a timeless loop).
  • Get out of bed rush around (while periodically checking my phone for notifications).
  • Drive to work with music playing, pull into work and check phone one more time.
  • Work while listening to music when I can, or just listening to co-workers talk to themselves when I can’t.
  • Head home listening to music.
  • Eat dinner with the family (check my phone if I can get away with it).
  • Do some writing while listening to music.
  • Watch television (while checking my phone).
  • Get ready for bed.
  • Climb into bed and stare at my phone some more.
  • Pray.
  • Fall asleep.

It goes without saying that this is not the daily cycle of a healthy individual.

Fearing the Quiet

I’m not a luddite intent on dismissing technology as bad and dangerous. I’m thankful for the huge steps we’ve taken and the genuine community I have discovered online. But I am concerned about how it’s enabling our avoidance of inner pain.

Do you know those people who seem to carry with them an inner stillness? The ones who seem serene and quietly solid and peaceful? They’re getting harder and harder to find. Most people I know (myself included) are overstimulated and overwhelmed—like the whole mass of humanity is a six-pack of cola shaken and poised to explode.

We scroll through a vast network of news stories, updates and information responding in ways that seem more conditioned than reflective, our minds abuzz with constant distracted activity. More than any other time in history, we have the ability to stave off the loneliness, sadness and ennui that plagues us. Slowing down and getting rid of distractions is terrifying, because it would force us to face those thoughts and feelings we’ve been avoiding and running from.

Entering Our Experience

The void of loneliness we feel when we allow ourselves to truly be alone with our thoughts can only be filled with God, but many Christians are as guilty as anyone else of looking for a shortcut to fill that hole. And, despite what we say, we fill it with the same exact things as everyone else.

We may be able to curb that hollowness for a while, but eventually it catches up to us, and we are completely unable to deal with it. We run headlong into that void without the discipline to navigate it, and it consumes us. This is where I found myself that day in the spiritual director’s office.

What the Silence Reveals

The Monks of New Skete nail the issue of silence in In the Spirit of Happiness:

If living in a monastery has taught me anything, it’s that silence is an inner phenomenon, transcending the absence of noise around us. All it takes is several months of external silence to teach a monk what noise really is. Once the initial flush of peacefulness and tranquility fades, a deeper, more disconcerting noise awakens, rudely showcasing a world previously hidden from you and living inside yourself. It is precisely the external silence, not absolute but something quite natural, that allows this to awaken by teaching us to listen. And when it does, we become aware of the extent of our self-centeredness.

It’s like the whole of our psyche has followed Marge Simpson’s ironic advice to Lisa, “Take all your bad feelings and push them down, all the way down past your knees, until you’re almost walking on them. And then you’ll fit in, and you’ll be invited to parties, and boys will like you. And happiness will follow.” Silence is the tool that brings to the surface all that stuff we’ve buried or lies hidden from us.

The silence we need is more than an absence of sound; it’s a break from constant stimulus and activity. It’s about allowing the tangled cords in our spirit and mind to unravel and be stilled. It’s about stopping the constant need to control our surroundings with our actions and words in a never-ending quest to drown out the unrest in our hearts. It’s about facing the dragon of emptiness, loneliness, frustration, anger, hurt and need head on—and doing the soul-wrenching work of letting Jesus deal with it.

Richard Foster said it well, “The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.” This may be truer today than any time in history, and we’ll never be deep if we don’t first become still.

This article was originally published at jaysondbradley.com

Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/why-are-we-so-afraid-silence#iLlI2Jg3jVrSSSbl.99

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Come to Israel with me in May, 2015!

jerusalem

Hey, everybody! I will be hosting a 10-day trip to Israel with an Arkansas delegation, and YOU are invited to attend!

The dates are May 18th – Wednesday, May 27th, 2015.

We have two awesome tour leaders:

1. Pastor Kelley Biniakewitz of River of Life Assembly of God Church in Mabelvale. Kelley is an expert on Judeo-Christian affairs and is of Jewish decent.

2. Louie Dajani, the Founder of Friends Tours and Travel, is a native-born Israeli who has made his home in Arkansas since the 1990’s. He is a member of the distinguished Dajani family in Jerusalem. The Dajani family has carried the responsibility of maintenance for King David’s tomb for the past 800 years.

3. And then of course, there is me as your host. I spent over a year living in Israel pursuing a master’s in counter-terrorism, working for a newspaper, and serving as an Ambassador for Save A Child’s Heart in Holon, Israel. I still serve as an Ambassador, and when we go to Israel, you’ll be able to visit the children with me.

You can view the trip itinerary here!

Click here to sign up for the trip!

It’s going to be a blessed time, and you’ll never read your Bible the same again. For questions, just contact

FRIENDS TOURS & TRAVEL

Address: 3805 McCain Park Drive Suite 112 North Little Rock, AR 72116

Telephone: 501-379-9226

 

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Win two free tickets to AMERICA! the film

Hey, everybody. I’m giving away two free tickets to AMERICA! the film produced by Dinesh D’Souza.

This contest is STRICTLY for people in Arkansas. 

So, how do you win? You need to submit your top three reasons for why you believe America is the greatest country in the world. The person with the best answer will win two free tickets to the film for Thursday, July 3rd!

AMERICA! is the follow up to the 2016 film. The movie is a defense of America’s morality and all that we stand for.
In Arkansas, it airs on July 2nd and runs through July 3rd at:
United Artists Breckenridge Stadium
1200 Breckenridge Drive, Little Rock, AR 72205

 

So, let me hear it! Why do you believe that America is the greatest country in the world? E-mail me your answers, full name, phone number, and mailing address to princella@americanpridestrategies.com. 

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Vote for Charisse Dean – “Oh Say Can You Sing” Contest!

A GREAT PATRIOT, Charisse Dean, has entered the “Oh Say Can You Sing” contest sponsored by the Arkansas Gazette statewide newspaper. The contest seeks to find the best singer of the American National Anthem.

Charisse Dean is one of those people who doesn’t make a lot of noise when she comes into a room. She is reserved with a sweet spirit and a humble demeanor. She is very soft-spoken, and you may never know that she has a voice like a BELL  that can rip through an auditorium, but when she steps up on stage with the Agape Church praise team, you are SURE to be inspired by her dynamic and ultimately beautiful voice.

A group of Charisse’s friends–including me–encouraged her to enter the “Oh Say Can You Sing” contest, and she made it into the TOP TEN!

Please click here to vote for Charisse online, and help her make to to the TOP FIVE! http://arkansasonline.upickem.net/engine/Votes.aspx?PageType=VOTING&contestid=129443#SubmissionDisplay

DON’T FORGET, YOU CAN VOTE UP TO TEN TIMES EVERY DAY!

If Charisse makes it to the TOP FIVE, she will perform live at “Pops on the River” where hundreds of people will gather to cheer for their favorite singer  among the finalists.

We really want Charisse to make it to that stage and to have her chance to shine, so let’s do this for her!

REGISTER AT THIS LINK, AND VOTE TEN TIMES PER DAY TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

http://arkansasonline.upickem.net/engine/Votes.aspx?PageType=VOTING&contestid=129443#SubmissionDisplay

 

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SUPPORT MY NEW RADIO SHOW! (Complimentary Chick-Fil-A food is involved.)

cathie princella scott

 

Hello, everybody! December of 2013 and January of 2014 have been SUPER DUPER busy for me for several reasons, but one of the main reasons is the launch of MY OWN radio show, “Engage the Nation” on KARN News Radio, 102.9FM in Little Rock, Arkansas!

KARN is the largest news station in Central Arkansas, so we have a large audience and the potential to make a large impact.

We launched on December 14, 2013, and we air every Saturday from 5pm – 6pm Central Time, but we need YOUR help to keep us on  air!

This will be a show by the people and for the people because with your financial contributions and the help of our sponsors, we will have the necessary resources to maintain our show.

We’re offering promotional cards for complimentary Chick-Fil-A food to each of you who make a contribution, so make sure that you include your correct mailing address! 

chick-fil-a_meal1

CONTRIBUTE TO OUR RADIO SHOW HERE!

 

My co-host is Cathie Dorsch, the former children’s television host of “Kids Like You” WHICH I WATCHED WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL! Amazing how life comes full circle. Never thought I’d be hosting a radio show with “Ms. Cathie”. 

“Engage the Nation” covers topics that Americans care about such as politics, family, self-development, home improvement, and health . Guests range from elected officials to counseling experts. Each show is capped off with “Inspirations with Pastor Scott” in which Pastor Scott Stewart of Little Rock provides a positive word of encouragement to motivate listeners for the week.

cathie princella scott

It’s a great show, and we’ve had loads of fun as well as impacted many lives, so join our team by contributing today. We appreciate anything that you can do. God bless you all!

 

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Republican politico Princella Smith gains policy chops in Israel

Republican politico Princella Smith gains policy chops in Israel

by David Ramsey, AR Times

March 28, 2013

SMITH ABROAD: But still thinks of Arkansas politics.

What follows is your typical story of a 6-foot-tall black female Republican who starts off in Wynne, Arkansas, and ends up in Israel, writing for a Zionist newspaper and studying counter-terrorism.

Princella Smith has always been a wild card. A high school and college basketball star who interned for then-Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller and in John Boozman’s congressional office, she first drew major attention on the political scene in 2004. As a 20-year-old Ouachita Baptist University student, she won MTV’s “Stand up and Holla” essay contest, earning her a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention. Her speech was fiery and fun, and led many to proclaim her as a rising political star.

Continue reading…

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Around The World In Color: Arkansan takes hearts of Benton County women to Israel

Around The World In Color

Arkansan takes hearts of Benton County women to Israel

By BECCA MARTIN-BROWN NWA MEDIA

Posted: January 17, 2013 at 1:43 a.m.

 A project that touched the heart of an Arkansan in Israel stretched around the world to Bentonville and back at Christmastime.

Benton County Republican Women donated $1,000 and “a phenomenal” number of crayons, coloring books, markers and more to Save A Child’s Heart, according to Leigh Nogy, president of the local organization. The charity, based in Israel, treats children with heart ailments from all over the world.

The charity came to the attention of the local group because Princella Smith, a Republican activist from Wynne, is studying in Israel. Invited to speak to the women’s group during a visit home, she shared her passion for Save A Child’s Heart.

Smith was teaching English in China when she discovered the humanitarian organization, she explained.

Continue reading…