Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Sound of Silence

I've had the lurgy for over a week now. After (grudgingly) taking two days off work I returned with a heathly mind but a husky voice.  Its now been nearly 5 days of silence and husky-ness and I'm beginning to enjoy it.  

"Using BSL, they are sharing thoughts and ideas, jokes and gestures, looking quiet animated and yet not making a noise"

I am currently sat in Friends House, Euston Road. While as a student I knew it as a centre for noise and unrest via the grand meeting hall, I am now getting to know the coffee and bookshop.  I'm sat at a table, wifi, apple mac and coffee (how sickeningly middle class) and engrosed in my work and a couple of people sat opposite.  They are in deep conversation, without even making a noise.  Using BSL, they are sharing thoughts and ideas, jokes and gestures, looking quiet animated and yet not making a noise.  This is a surprise and a pleasant one.  London is so full of noise, bustle and self importance that to see two people in animated conversation without making a noise is rather nice.

This drew my mind to the discussions about social media which have upset various sections of the Methodist blogosphere.   While some were getting irate, Revd Angela Shire-Jones stepped in to remind us all about the principes of conferring.  While not in full agreement with her blog on the subject, her reminder is a good one.  Christian conferring is as much about listening and reflecting as it is about speaking, persuading and doing.

Where I think we could all learn is about the value of social media.  Its inherant value is in its weakness. It relies upon people thinking, talking (albeit online) and doing.  While this is a great bonus it doesn't always mean people breath first.   A latenight blogpost can at times appear like a late night rant down the pub.  The only problem with this one is that you can be reminded of it again, again and again and your own personal repuation, and that of anyone/thing you imply within it can be damaged without any form of response.  It is less interactive, more spraying a 'tag' on a wall and seeing if anyone scribbles back.  One would hope that we have enough gray matter between us, enough grace, humility and hope to take us above scribbles on the back of a toilet door.  The worry is sometimes we don't.

One would hope that we have enough gray matter between us, enough grace, humility and hope to take us above scribbles on the back of a toilet door.  The worry is sometimes we don't.

So please, whatever your views on the consulation, do take time to sit and think.  Do take time to listen and pray.  Do take time to be quiet.... though I don't wish upon you this cold that enforced such principles on me. 

[The Methodist Church social media consultation can be found here:    http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AaIGTYFx5M8dZGRzcWc2NXNfNGdjdjc0NWdk&hl=en      ]

Take Care Y'All

john