Longing for silence in a world of noise: Sorensen Lecture by Stan Grant

“Where is God when people right now may need water more than they need God?”

Such was the haunting question posed by Indigenous Australian journalist Stan Grant when he came to YDS in mid-November to give this year’s Sorensen Lecture. With war raging in the Middle East, Ukraine, and elsewhere, the onetime war correspondent spoke of the blood, pain, and deprivation of war, and the cheapness of the war of words playing out in media—a field he had left earlier in the year in hopes of doing something more constructive.

“There are so many words, too many people speaking so loudly and saying so very little,” Grant continued. “There is just so much noise. There are so many people raising their flags or their fists to stand with one side or against another.”

Now the inaugural Director of the Constructive Institute Asia Pacific at Australia’s Monash University, Grant went on to say that he longs for an antidote to the noise. “Perhaps silence would be better,” he said. “I suspect in the silence we may get closer to God.”

Grant’s lecture—titled “Exile: A Refuge From History”—began with praise for YDS. The Divinity School, he said, is “a soft place to ask hard questions. How we need that in a world of too many jagged edges where we don’t afford each other love, kindness, and generosity.”

‘Exile: A Refuge From History’: Watch the video.

The Margaret Lindquist Sorensen Lectureship was established in 1978 by a gift from Ms. Sorensen’s son, Dr. Andrew A. Sorensen ‘62 B.D., to provide an annual lecture on politics and ethics.


November 17, 2023