“In a world where there is a wealth of information, there is often a poverty of attention.”
So says Ken Mehlman, a campaign manager for George W. Bush, explaining why the campaigns this year have gone back to one-doorbell-one-voter strategies. The public is so bombarded with media messages of every sort that it’s difficult to get attention.
As NYTimes columnist Thomas Friedman puts it, we are now paying “continuous partial attention” … involved in a continuous flow of interactions in which we can only partially concentrate on each.
I wonder if there may not be a deep and quiet counter-movement, a search for places that offer a space for silence, and attention. A friend who is busy lecturing all week, and preaches most Sundays, tells me that he has begun going early Sunday morning to an Anglican church down the road, where he can quiet his soul in the silence before venturing into the busyness of the “day of rest”!
Perhaps in a Faster World we could use a Slower Church! Or at least churches that help us to slow down and pay attention!