Of predicaments and mysteries in time
Lee July 14, 2018

Making progress, kinda, sorta: About six months ago, I shared with you my plans for this year. Back then, I planned to blog more often, preferably weekly, and to tell you more about my everyday writing life and my latest book project exploring the topic of Time. I also planned to be more active on social media, sharing work in progress and thinking out loud about life.

Let’s just say that the results so far have been patchy, with short bursts of activity but not a lot of consistency. There’s a long way to go yet. Sigh. But I guess that’s what plans are for.

One thing that keeps tripping me up is blog posts. Every time I begin a post, I set the bar high—too high, it seems. I want to do the very best I can for my readers, but my posts usually take days of hard work before I’m happy to click ‘Publish’. And each one ends up more like a carefully crafted essay than the carefree stream-of-consciousness you might find on other blog sites.

Of course, I’m free to do whatever I like with my blog. But writing an essay-like post every week consumes so much time and energy that other projects tend to come a poor second, including my book project about time. And conversely, whenever I give the book project more attention, blogging sometimes doesn’t happen at all.

So, I’m caught in a predicament of my own making, having tied myself into intricate knots that are hard to undo. But, undo them I must. As much as I want to do everything well, I simply can’t sustain that level of effort and activity for very long. Something has to change.

That’s why I’m declaring a temporary moratorium on essay posts. Maybe I’ll get back to them some time, but for the next little while, as an experiment, I want to see what happens if I take a more casual approach to blogging. I want to see what happens if I focus more on my discoveries about time and write shorter, less structured posts.

I’m glad to say that, overall, I’ve done better on social media in the last six months, especially on Instagram at #leecartertimeproject. I’ve enjoyed sharing fun facts and quotes about time, and photos of time-keeping devices mostly from around Sydney. Some of you have even sent me photos of clocks and suggested things I could read. That’s really encouraged me and multiplied the fun!

About time: But blogging allows me to share more with you. In fact, there’s so much I could tell you already, so many mind-bending facts about time and how it intersects with everyday life. And I’ve been pondering what these things mean for Christians as we inhabit time, as we relate to God and each other within time, and as we live for God, in time, with eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Cogs and face of old clock with Roman numerals
Photo by Lehman | Lightstock.com

I’m curious about these things and I want to understand so that I can write about them. However, I admit that the more I read about Einstein’s theories of relativity, quantum physics and cosmology, and the more I read philosophical imponderables about the beginning of time, the more it feels like my brain will explode!

I’m considering arguments for and against the big bang beginning of the universe, and whether or not that event also marked the beginning of time. And I’m trying to understand the discussion around questions like: if time did begin with the universe, how can the eternal God who created time then enter it, in Jesus, and remain eternal?

I’ve also discovered that scientists can now slice and dice a second into micro-, nano-, pico-, femto- and atto-seconds, while other scientists maintain that time doesn’t even exist—that it’s an illusion. Is it possible that we’re getting cleverer and cleverer at measuring something that isn’t actually there?

That’s why it feels as if I’ve stepped into swift unknowable waters or I’m free falling into a landscape that constantly shifts between clarity and cloud, substance and intangibility. And it seems especially foolhardy when I am a just layperson. It’s like venturing into the rapids without life-vest or rope, like jumping at high altitude without parachute or map.

But I want to explore and understand as much as I can, because my research is already making me sharply aware of my creatureliness before God, and of his otherness (Isaiah 57:15). He defies every attempt to shrink him down to human size. And I want to marvel at that. I want to think hard about how we as finite temporal beings can relate to him, the boundless eternal Being who created everything.

These mysteries encourage me to sit with the fear of things I don’t understand, so that my trust in God stretches and expands. Wonder returns. And I remember that he’s in complete command of everything, including the mysteries that make me feel small and inadequate.

I hope you’ll come along for the ride, possibly a wild one, but I trust it will be edifying.

2 Comments

  1. Lee, I just happened upon your blog while reading the Matthias Media article sent to my inbox. I clicked on this first post and could relate immediately. I started a blog a number of years ago, VersesFromMama.com, to help my children seek God through His word everyday. I have enjoyed doing this and been blessed with a good response from my kids as well as others, but in time it does become a big burden. I think a lot and can never seem to get everything down that I want to say. Plus time restraints make it difficult to write as much as I want. I must constantly remember that God doesn’t work through my words of human wisdom but by the power of His Spirit! God can speak through laypeople like us when they are connected to Him, just as much as anyone. Looking forward to getting to know you through your writing.

    Sandy Sheridan

    1. Thank you, Sandy – how kind of you! I truly appreciate your encouragement, especially as a fellow blogger who understands the challenges of maintaining a blog site. Like you, I think a lot and I struggle to write as much and as often as I would like to. But what you say about how God uses our words through his Spirit is so true and so important to remember. I checked out your site, VersesFromMama.com, and really enjoyed reading your posts! Your love for the Lord and his Word is so evident and you have a lovely gentle tone that I feel sure is a reflection of your character. And you certainly live in a beautiful place! Sandy, thanks again for connecting with me and for introducing yourself to my readers too. xx

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