I wonder what a lecture theatre sounds like today? When I was a student, the sound of the lecturer was accompanied by the scratch of pens on paper. If we wanted to reflect on what we’d heard — and to be able to do so again when exams were looming — we had to take notes. I’ve still got the bump on the second finger of my writing hand which developed through school and university. Nowadays, there is probably the clack of keyboards although I wonder if a high proportion of students record the talks or expect to be able to download the recording after the fact?
Churches too used to have a fair number of people jotting down thoughts in their notebooks. I assume they weren’t just adding things to their weekly shopping list and I certainly wasn’t. I used to take quite detailed notes and refer back to them at least later in the week. I’ve kept up the habit to some extent, although my notes tend to be looser – the points that make me think rather than than every piece of knowledge I’ve heard and the stories. I’m in a minority though. Either there was a secret of prodigious memory that I missed the memo on or most people no longer consider the Sunday service as a place where they come to plant the seeds of learning and practice.
Perhaps we shouldn’t bother with the sermon any more? Or perhaps it would be better if there was a revival of note-taking, in some shape or form, for future reference and simply as a way of crossing the ear-brain barrier and demonstrating that we are true disciples and not just temporary seat warmers.