Group settings are not always the most conducive to conversation. But typically there are those who feel too awkward in silence, so they fill the void with an expected response. A brave minority will wander into the realm of self-disclosure.
A high school student once told me he was doing me a favor by participating in class. To me his contributions sounded more like distractions, but he tried to convince me that without his input the class would suffer. "I'm saving you," he promised. Not really, I thought. Salvation wasn't the issue, participation was.
In learning environments, a question that elicits no replies means one of three things:
- The question was poorly phrased (too confusing, obvious, or rhetorical, never too dumb
- The inquirer is not trusted (he may be laying a trap)
- The respondents do not want to share (due to reasons 1 & 2, apathy, fear, or irrelevance)
Silence. Perhaps this was too confusing. Too obvious. Too rhetorical.
I counted to sixty-six. Perhaps I wasn't trusted.
The Sound Guy cued the Jeopardy theme song. Perhaps people didn't feel safe to share. Too personal. Too intimate.
Epilogue: The tragedy is the pastor now has nothing to pray for on Monday morning...