Vaughn: Experiencing, Managing, and Cherishing Time God’s Way

Time_06132014Ellen Vaughn.  2007.  Time Peace: Living Here and Now with a Timeless God.  Grand Rapids:  Zondervan.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra [1]

Ellen Vaughn starts her book, Time Peace, with a question:  How can an earth-bound person really connect with an eternal God? Does God’s Shalom rub off on the people we meet every day or are we afflicted with hurry sickness? (16-17)  If our lives are deprived of Shalom and dominated by hurry sickness, what can be done about it?

Ellen segments the time problem into 4 parts:

  1. Experiencing Time;
  2. Managing Time;
  3. Re-viewing Time:  A New Paradigm; and
  4. Enjoying Time.

God’s perspective on time is different than ours. God manages time; time manages us.  For us, a wristwatch serves as a kind of virtual handcuff (61).  God is eternal and the stars serve as his wrist-watch (Job 9:3-9; 19).

The biblical notion of stewardship: doesn’t really strike a cord with many 21-century Americans (74). Ellen asks: whether we live to the age of of 34 or 104, how do we use the time we are given? (77)  The biblical view of time (stewardship) is in strong tension with our everyday experience of time (the wristwatch)?

Reviewing many details of quantum physics, Ellen notes that science does not seem to explain the created universe as neatly as we learned in high school.  She remarks:

I do find it interesting that in the Bible…that is thousands of years old…[it] casually makes claims that seem to jibe with what is intimated in the weird world of 21st century quantum physics (187).

When we experience the eternal God, God must deliberately break into our time-bound world to touch our lives.  We experience God’s intrusion as a kairos momenta Greek word describing a moment of crisis and decision [2].  Our usual experience of timechronos time as measure by our watchesis not nearly so threatening.

In evaluating how to enjoy time, Ellen asks:  How do we seize the moment and invest time to extend God’s kingdom? (206)

In her book, Time Peace, Ellen’s writing craft is displayed in at least 4 dimensions:

  1. She does her homework. In researching time as a topic, she reviewed film, time management books, scripture, and scientific literature. I suspect that she also did a number of interviews.
  2. She paints wonderful mental pictures and tells numerous stories. I will never forget her lesson on the six deadly sins and how they relate to Gilligan’s Island (8) [3].
  3. She is willing to take theological and intellectual risks. Most Luke commentaries do not offer alternative readings of the Mary and Martha story. Likewise, I suspect that most English majors do not write extensively on Einstein’s theory of relativity and string theory.
  4. She throws curve balls in her prose. I doubt, for example, that she really sits much on the beach throwing alka seltzer tablets in the air to the sea gulls, but the thought is interesting.

Time Peace is perceptive, theologically engaging, and witty. Small groups will want to look at it for study and discussion.

 

[1]  Ellen Vaughn (www.EllenVaughn.com) is a local author who I met in 2007 at a meeting of the Capital Christian Writers Club (www.CapitalChristianWriters.org).

[2] I was personally touched by her story about Vicky Armel, a police officer gunned down for no apparent reason within walking distance of my home in Centreville, Virginia.  Only 2 years prior to her death, Vicky unexpectedly committed her life to Christa kairos moment. Her testimony was recorded on Easter Sunday.  Vicky accordingly had the rare privilege of addressing her own funeral via video tape (183-185).

[3] Ellen writes:  Students of the show advance the theory that the Professor exhibits the deadly sin of pride…Ginger, the lascivious movie star, represents lust.  Envy goes to Maryann who wanted to be Ginger. Thurston Howell the Third, who took a large trunck full of money on a three-hour cruise, is greed.  Since Mrs Howell never did much of anything at all, she is sloth…We are left with the sins of anger and gluttony, and the mad and corpulent Skipper personifies them both (88).

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1 Comment

  1.   I have often reflected on how some things in the Bible jibe with quantum mechanics or visa versa.  

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