Tag Archives: Getting Older

Q is for Quiet

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)

The older I get, the more I enjoy times when the world around me is quiet. I love my children and grandchildren but sometimes putting ten young endless energy machines in close proximity to my ears creates a massive cacophony of noise. It’s a good delighted children noise, only occasionally interrupted by a disagreement, but it is still loud and ear piercing.

I’m often reminded of the Psalmist’s admonition to be still and thus draw closer to knowing God. I often want to be still, or be quiet, just to relax and calm my aging nerves. Fortunately, I can experience both of these in my time of quiet.

Let me distinguish a time of quiet from a quiet time. In Christian circles the term quiet time has been hijacked to reference our spiritual time of reflection and communion with God. It’s too often proclaimed as the solution to our difficult Christian walk in a fallen world. It’s also proclaimed, to the family of God, as if it’s a requirement for true spirituality. Thus, to me, the term, at least the Christian community version, has lost its luster and appeal.

I’m more inclined to describe a quiet time as the Psalmist does, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” (Psalm 23:2-3 NIV) I can picture myself sitting in a comfortable chair beside a beautiful, quiet lake with only the sound of the forest occasionally interrupted by some wild animal noise. There I can calm my heart and back off from the hustle and bustle of the world.

I don’t have that great push to be loud and impress the world with my spirituality in the hopes of their turning to Christ because of my noisy speech. I find it much easier to take a quiet approach, let God speak through his presence in my life, and wait to see the Holy Spirit bubbling to the surface in the form of a question. I want people to ask me, “Why am you so different from others we know?”

In the church we are often implored to get out and get going. That has its place. I should know after thirty-eight plus years as a missionary. I’m also impressed with Paul’s encouragement to Timothy when he writes, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV)

To live a quiet and peaceful life sounds really good to me. The hustle and bustle of today’s work to move up the ladder, make a name for yourself and become a leader sounds noisy and aggressive, not peaceful. Instead I think I’ll work on cultivating fruit in my life. Jesus talks a lot about the vine and producing fruit. I find it interesting that the branches (us) grow and produce fruit based on their relationship with the vine (Jesus) which give them sustenance and keeps them strong.

The Thessalonians were reminded of their place in today’s world. “But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.” (1 Thessalonians 4:10b-11 NKJV) Do your job, keep out of other people’s business and lead a quiet life. That sounds great to me and relieves me of the stress created by those who feel we must be out there working for the church which as more important than working for our livelihood.

I love times when I can sit and be quiet. It allows me to think more clearly. It relieves stress. It allows me to clear my head and hear God speaking to me. It’s so much more productive than filling my life with work and grasping after what I cannot obtain. The preacher tells us, “Better a handful with quietness than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6 NKJV)

What’s in our hands today? Is their quietness, a chance to recharge and clear your thoughts? Or, is our life filled with never ending lists, business and the noise of the world? I think I’ll work on the quiet side of life. I’m glad even God calls us to be still and realize . . . He is God!

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Digital Selection

Sometimes I feel young at heart even though I’m getting older. When it comes to modern technology I usually feel ancient. Although working with modern computer systems and knowing more about the systems than most people I meet I’m still like a dinosaur when it comes to using these devices in the modern social media inundated digital age. I’m into Facebook (to keep tabs on my children and grandchildren), email (a dinosaur), texting (formerly SMS), cloud storage, and a host of modern technological marvels which attempt to improve my life. I think I’ve got it figured out until I start interacting with the next generation’s immersive lifestyle of technology.

My wife coined a great phrase, “Digital Selection.” It started when some young upstart commented that finding such and such on the ministry’s home page was simple and intuitive. It was then we decided their definition of simple and intuitive was different than ours. I figured with my extensive background in computers, web page design, and the like, I could find what we were looking for. No success. I’ve become a victim of Digital Selection.

What is Digital Selection you might ask? It isn’t using a search engine to find the cheapest price for a new tablet or notebook or to decide the proper resolution for your new high definition television. It’s when the ability to easily wade through modern technology to the desired destination is hampered by an aging understanding of how things work in the digital world. We’ve been Digitally Selected to be out of touch with the younger generation. Beth says, “They’re going to put us on an iceberg and float us out to sea.”

Originally electronics and computers were purely logical. That I can understand. Unfortunately, with the proliferation of social media infecting the mental growth and processes of the next generation what used to follow rules has been reprogrammed to follow the circuitous pathway of the younger mind in a media saturated generation. Pure computer logic has given way to what can appear as random chaos similar to a planned life-giving way to going with the flow. In my mind, the algorithm of the program isn’t easily discovered, almost like the perfect security cypher.

For those raised in such an environment it makes perfect sense. All the pieces fit together smoothly in their concept of the digital age. Unfortunately, it leaves the older generation confused trying to put the square pegs into the round holes. Sometimes we just don’t see the connection. We are therefore Digital Selected to be relegated to the outer circle of fellowship and communication. While I poke fun at this the centuries have demonstrated the division of one generation from another almost proportionally related to the advancement in technology.

When I was young the use of electric guitars, electronic pianos and electronic organs started insinuating themselves into the fabric of modern rock and roll music as well as creeping into bastion of the classic orchestra and even, gasp, into church music. This confused parents who were familiar with the smooth tones of classical wind and string instruments, pianos and pipe organs. It was a new sound and while some parents embraced the changes many of their generation relegated it to the deepest depths of degradation and evil. There’s was an error of Electronic Selection threatening to drive a wedge between two generations.

Other things have separated the ages. Changes in cultural beliefs and activities, the redirection of skills from rural to urban work spaces, and any technological advancement from the steam engine to the multicore processor have created segments of selection. Often the selective nature of these advances isn’t perceived as a change by the generation in which they develop but as the norm. The concept that the older generation might not comprehend this shift doesn’t seem to motivate the new generation to understand the change and work towards an effective stitching together of the two worlds. So, it falls on the ousted to decipher the recent technology and introduce it to their lives in a way which will once again connect them with the new generation.

Things move forward. I’m sure there is more ahead of me to learn than I dealt with in the past. I just hope I have the where-with-all to comprehend and make use of the advances which become so ingrained in our lives. I don’t want to be Digitally Selected forever. In the church, we must be careful not to Digitally Select (exclude) those interested in helping because we have some new high-tech sign up site which appeals to the young and confounds the less young.

As a Christian, I’m glad God doesn’t use a Digital Selection scale for eternity. I’m looking forward to simplifying things and reducing my digital footprint. I figure if I’m in the presence of God I don’t think there’s a need for a Facebook status for Him to know what I’m doing. But for now, . . . I guess this is the season of the tablet, phablet, smartphone, social media and whatchamacallit and I better keep up with my skills to avoid Digital Selection.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 WEB)

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