Creating noise.

(First published May 30, 2013)

I keep saying to people around church, “we are creating our own noise.”  I realized that I need to take some time to explain what I mean.

Imagine conversing with a friend in a quiet coffee shop. You’ve not seen each other for a long time. You’ve been looking forward to this conversation, this visit, for months.

You can lean back in your chairs, speaking quietly. You hear every word, every chuckle. A couple more people come in. You lean forward. Someone turns on some music. You speak louder. It’s harder to pay attention, harder to listen.

Sentences get shorter. Ideas get less complex. You can’t talk with the same depth of feeling, with the same range of reflection when you have to shout.

Now, imagine that everyone in the coffee shop is a friend. They all have been helping you plan for this visit. They want you to be able to talk with each other, to think well together. They are all on your side. But the noise that they are creating makes intimacy and understanding impossible.

communication

That can happen when people walk into our church (Probably yours too. And maybe my blog. Possibly your store.)

Every piece of information creates a sound. Often not literally.  Sometimes we just print a bulletin. Sometimes we put images on a screen. These are silent. But they can create clutter, which is the visual version of noise. And every announcement from the platform, every facebook update, every special event, every bold headline, every display, every banner, every sign, every piece of background music has volume.

Here’s the challenge. All of events may be good. All of the announcements may be important. But if we are making so much noise that no one can hear, we are the barrier to our own communication.

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Related:

Making our own noise

More cowbell. Less noise

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

2 thoughts on “Creating noise.

  1. One-on-one time is important to keep; in the middle of a mob are thoughts don’t get deep. Sometimes there is too much of a roar; we need to talk less and to listen more.

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  2. You just illustrated the value of churches having clarity of vision, mission, and values. Filtering ministries, announcements, publicity materials, etc. through that matrix will not eliminate all the noise…but certainly decreases it.
    I like the way you think!

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