Spiritual FormationStudent Culture, Trends & IssuesThe Campus Minister

Noise, Hurry & Crowds

In the classic, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, author Richard Foster made this significant observation:

In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds.  If he can keep us engaged in “much-ness” and “manyness,” he will rest satisfied.

He wrote those words back in 1978.

In the 3+ decades that have passed since Foster first penned these words I think it is safe to say that things have only gotten worse.

The cultural noise that we live within is deafening. We are consuming media at an alarming, and incomprehensible, rate. Our over utilization of technology is making it near impossible to have a moment of silence, solitude or rest over the course of our day. We are overstimulated and believe that this is OK — or at least will live like it.

The pace at which we try to live our lives is often damaging. We find new ways to track our overflowing schedules so that we can cram more into them… “allowing us” to do more… leaving ourselves overextended and exhausted.

The crowds of people who make up our “networks,” “followers” and “friends” serve to distract us and too often keep us from cultivating the kinds of significant, meaningful, face-to-face relationships we’ve been created for.

While those of us who work with college students have seen our present reality develop over the course of time, our students have likely only known life in this way.

To them it’s normal.

Noise, hurry and crowds have been there constant companions as far back as they can remember.

Silence, solitude and stillness before the LORD are foreign ideas that represent a life they’ve likely never experienced — or even seen modeled.

I believe we are being called to model this strange way of life to our students — and we need to invite them into it — but this may first require that changes be made to our current way of living.

What do you think?

How have you grown comfortable with the noise, hurry and crowds of this world?

What challenges do you personally identify in trying experience more silence, solitude and stillness in your life?

How might we introduce this “foreign” way of life to a generation that is “plugged in” 24/7?

I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Please take a moment to share some of your story in the comment section below.