From New England …

After a few good days in Nova Scotia last week, I’m a little farther south in Connecticut today. I enjoyed the warm hospitality of Christ Church Greenwich over the weekend, and today I’ll be with students at Berkeley and Yale Div schools and meeting with some clergy groups as well – a full day, and I’m looking forward to it.
Ramadan ended over the weekend, and the AP carried this story about the experience some of us shared.
Now, with the fast behind me, I feel that it’s hard to talk about the experience. I can’t explain or put into words what this has meant to me, and I fear that trying to do so will weaken or cheapen the experience. So I think I’ll wait until the time is right (if it ever is), especially in light of what I was reading this morning about silence from Henri Nouwen:

Let us focus for a moment on theological education. What else is the goal of theological education than … (More after the jump)

… to bring us closer to the Lord our God so that we may be more faithful to the great commandment to love him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind, and our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37)? Seminaries and divinity schools must lead theology students into an ever-growing communion with God, with each other, and with their fellow human beings. Theological education is meant to form our whole person toward an increasing conformity with the mind of Christ so that our way of praying and our way of believing will be one.
But is this what takes place? Often it seems that we who study or teach theology find ourselves entangled in such a complex network of discussions, debates, and arguments about God and “God-issues” that a simple conversation with God or a simple presence to God has become practically impossible. Our heightened verbal ability, which enables us to make many distinctions, has sometimes become a poor substitute for a single-minded commitment to the Word who is life. If there is a crisis in theological education, it is first and foremost a crisis of the word. This is not to say that critical intellectual work and the subtle distinctions it requires have no place in theological training. But when our words are no longer a reflection of the divine Word in and through whom the world has been created and redeemed, they lose their grounding and become as seductive and misleading as the words used to sell Geritol.

Wise words about the dangers of too many words. No wonder, in many monastaries, holy women and men “fast” regularly or perpetually from words themselves. What speaks more eloquently of the unspeakable glory of God than a pregnant stillness? (The Way of the Heart, Ballantine, 1981, pp 39-40)