March 29, 2007

Who Keeps Time?

Category: Church Year,Miscellaneous :: Permalink

In his very enjoyable A Dresser of Sycamore Trees: The Finding of a Ministry (the title is taken from Amos 7:14-15), Garret Keizer describes his work as the clock-winder of the church clock in the town in Vermont where he serves as the lay pastor of Christ Church (Episcopal).  Just as you start spotting Hondas as soon as you buy a Honda yourself, Keizer has become aware of mechanical clocks all over the place.

He points out something worth considering:

I also realized that the public keeping of time has passed from the church and possibly the municipal building to the branch bank.  In most towns of any size, that is the place to look for a digital display of the right time.  The location of the public clock has something to say, I think, about the way a culture gives meaning to time.  It was logical for a church to tell people the time when one of the things they needed to know time for was when to pray, and when church feasts and holy days colored the calendar.  Equally logical is it that the bank should tell the hours to a populace for whom time is not liturgical but financial, who inhabit a fiscal year broken into quarters and the maturation periods of certificates of deposit (p. 86).

Posted by John Barach @ 1:35 pm | Discuss (3)

3 Responses to “Who Keeps Time?”

  1. Chuck Hartman Says:

    Thanks, John.
    Yes! Keeping time writ large is even more important. What time is it? is one big question I attempt to answer, not only for a town, but for the whole society. When Rome fell, A. D. came in–and the names of the days of the week.
    Also, To move from the space-oriented last millennium to the time oriented next millennium (ERH), or from church-state-university to the next new organization, time is a key consideration.
    Who keeps the time? In this pluri-timed age, 4 types of time are key: community, work, ecclesiastical, and academic. In history, ERH says, these were Tribes, Empires, Israel, Greece. Past, Present, Future, As-If_For-The-First-Time. Universal History 1957,–and see the Gardner quote on Carmen Humanem.

    The SuperCalendar HOST (House O Singing Times) ‘solves’ this by rhyming covenant sequences.

    I’ll post on BH and soon.

    Thanks again!

    Love in Christ,

    PS. 90:12

  2. michael Says:

    Fascinatingly perceptive. I can’t think of one church in OKC that has a clock. All the banks do, though.

  3. Nathanael Says:

    That statement seems right on. Think about how the workweek mentality dominates most congregations. So many Christians (for right or wrong) have entered into contracts for financial livelihood which completely dictate the rest of their week.

Leave a Reply