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Posts Tagged ‘civility’

Nothing challenges your sense of the existence of real time like international travel. Look at how relative time is in our world:

  • Twice a year 49 out of the 50 states change the clock one hour for daylight savings.
  • When it is 12 noon in Texas and the Sunday football game is about to start, it is 1:00pm in New York and the Californians are still in church because it is 10am. So what time is it really?
  • The tip of Chile is 6000 miles from Dallas and is only one hour ahead of Central time, whereas Tokyo—about the same distance—is 14 hours ahead of Dallas.

Sherrylee and I left DFW at 10pm on Saturday, flew direct to Brisbane for 15 hours, but on the ground it was Monday at 5am.  When we return from Sydney, we depart on Monday at 3:20pm and we arrive in Dallas on Monday at 3:45pm—20 minutes later!!!

So what time is it really?  Or is there a real time—anywhere??

Then you have the “sense of time” or whether time has a feel to it.  Does time move at a different speed depending on whether you are in a boring movie or at a thrilling ball game?  Do children have any sense of time?  Is it something you learn?

Time is somehow connected to intervals between events. We have a great need to know how long since the baby ate—in fact, the baby’s body has a rhythm that demands certain time intervals be acknowledged!  Most time is measured by the time it takes for the earth to travel around the sun—which has for millennia been recognized to be about 365 days plus or minus. Days have been measured in all sorts of ways: watches, quarters, hours, tidal rhythms, lunar patterns, etc.

So there may be time, but the only way we can talk about it is to agree on some standard of conversation. If Texas says it is noon and California says it is 10am, someone has to explain why both of these answers could be correct.

And so it is with good and bad, with moral and immoral, with definitions of colors, of words—of life and death.  The only way we can talk about any of these is to agree on some standard of what is true.

The world becomes a much more difficult place when we quit talking about what we have in common and start focusing on what is different.

I think that “live at peace with all men, as much as it depends on you” (Romans 12 :18)means being willing to search together for “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8)—and primarily to believe that people can agree on these things for the common good.

So,  if you ask me what time it is, I will tell you it is 8:25am on Tuesday, July 24, but you might say, no, it is 5:25pm on Monday, July 23rd. If we will keep talking, we will come to an agreeable understanding, won’t we!

If that works for time, maybe it will work for other things that we seem to have trouble agreeing on.

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