Keeping Silent: The Ethical Place of Silence in Theological Communication
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McGraw, Thomas G.
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Although many people understand silence as a passive act, I argue that silence is a powerful practice that the church must properly integrate into its communication in order to speak truthfully. To do so, I investigate the ways in which silence can be a form of power. Properly used, silence can be one way to practice nonviolent resistance against violent communicative structures. Additionally, practicing silence is one way for humans to share in the life of God through the practice of listening. Yet, the church has not always properly used silence. The church has frequently misused the power of silence, both silencing those who should speak and remaining silent when speech was necessary, two practices that require the church to repent. Finally, I conclude by arguing that understanding silence as a way of communicating living truth provides the resources by which the church can properly integrate silence into its communicative practice, grounded in the practiced life of ecclesial communities.