Rev. Kate Hurst Floyd
Holy Covenant UMC
November 28, 2010, Advent 1
Shut up! Shut up. No, you shut up!
Have you been told this before? How does it make you feel?
Probably not very good. This phrase is used to make us feel insignificant, isolated, silenced. When I was growing up, my brother and I weren’t even allowed to say “shut up”. It was a bad word in our house. Or, as my mother would say, as women in the south are wont to say: it’s ugly talk. Don’t use such ugly language.
When we hear this phrase, we hear more than these two words: “shut up”. We hear “What you have to say doesn’t matter, doesn’t count”. Or “What you have to say does matter, but I don’t want to hear it”.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons we’re so scared of silence….because we’re scared of not having a voice. We wonder: If we live into silence, will it mean we are invisible? I don’t need to tell you that we live in a world saturated with noise, with non-stop communication. From hundreds of television stations to instant updates on Facebook and Twitter, the ability to have music and podcasts streaming through earphones night and day, wherever we are…we’re a culture that’s afraid of silence. We don’t want to be invisible.
So we post on Twitter where we are, what we’re doing, what we ate for breakfast. How much homework we have left to do or the state of our cold. It’s easy to make fun of these means of communication, or lament that they are taking over our lives and making us even more self indulgent than we usually are. I often critique these methods and use them, at the same time.
But at the root of our culture of noise and constant communication, I think, is something deeper than mere self-consumption—at our core, we want to be heard. It’s a basic human desire. And in 2010, we have more ways than ever to communicate.
It’s one way of saying: hey, world, you can’t tell me to shut up. I’m worthy of being heard. We need to have a voice. (more…)