There was an interesting debate/discussion on BBC Radio 4 this morning, talking about silence and the church (among other things). He spoke with a perspective that *sounded* as though it were outside the Christian faith, and looking in.
The description he gave of silence being alien to the old testament was interesting, where God was always speaking to His people in contrast to the idols of the other nations that were only wood and stone, and therefore dumb and without speech. He also pointed out that silence as it became adopted along with mysticism, monasticism and the experiences of the desert fathers was basically borrowed from Syria and Buddhism: traders saw people and communities who looked holy, wanted some of that and brought it back. This certainly rang true with some of the things that were taught on a CoE course a couple of years back, with a Buddhist Christian chap who came along and presented some rather extra-biblical ideas.
Now there's a risk of 'baby and bathwater' in this, because the bible talks about being still and knowing God IS God, and that's important. But it's good to see where one's roots come from, and whether they are good & healthy or tap backwards into things that are less helpful. Sure there's sanctification, but sometimes I wonder how much God has been told to bless what we have decided to do instead of following Jesus' example and doing what we see our Father doing. And I'm considering both personal lives - mine included - and church structures, present and historical.