Taking an online course: ‘The Uses of Silence’

March 30, 2008

Uses of Silence

I enrolled in an online continuing education course called “The Uses of Silence” taught by Maggie Ross (aka Martha Reeves) for the Center for Anglican Living and Learning at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

I’ve taken several courses through CDSP, most of them in the Anglican Studies category. I latched on to this program many years ago when I signed up to read Kathleen Norris’s The Cloister Walk.

For the most part, my classes have been stimulating and rewarding. The idea of going through six weeks of study with people whose faces I never see is a bit disconcerting, but it has advantages, too. No one gets bogged down in fashion, as it were, and most people have to think before they communicate (mostly by Blackboard messages and e-mails). At any rate, I’m using the course as an excuse to write something for this blog.

I’ve always been convinced that most of us–especially those who spend their lives in the media–are challenged by silence; in fact, many are frightened and made anxious by it.

Certainly, Maggie Ross is not one of those. She recently placed “Silence” in the Museum of Curiosity, a clever, comical, and conspiratorial BBC radio program. I say it’s conspiratorial because under its guise of comedy and light-hearted banter, it weighs heavy in its considerations. Of course, it is restricted by the superficiality it presses into 30 or so minutes.

Speaking as Martha Reeves on the March 26 program, Ross raised some interesting ideas and challenges–not only regarding silence but also regarding her own theological stance on things such as the definition of God and whether or not she believes that Jesus was the “Son of God.”

Stop back here for further reflections.

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