Ven Elizabeth Adekunle, Archdeacon of Hackney

And in the Big News today from a Faith Perspective, time.

Lots of news has happened over time. And there, I mentioned things in the news, laying to rest the old lie that this slot ignores its news brief, or simply makes perfunctory references to the news.

Time flies unless it doesn’t. Science measures time. Time is mentioned in the Big Book of Magic Stuff. Yes, time is that important.


8 thoughts on “Ven Elizabeth Adekunle, Archdeacon of Hackney

  1. If time is so important why does the BBC continue to waste 3.5 mins of valuable air time every day on waffle such as this?


  2. The Ven Elizabeth solemnly tells us to “make the most of the time we have”, as if this notion had never occurred to anyone before. She didn’t help her case by quoting from Colossians, which is one of the “pseudepigraphical” (ie forged) Pauline Epistles in the New Tasty Mint.

    Mike Atherton has written an affectionate portrait of Shane Warne in today’s Times. He ends by quoting Mae West: ” You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough”. If we’re going to quote cliches on TftD, let’s at least have some amusing ones.

    And on the subject of time, “The Order of Time” by the Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli, is worth reading. He suggests convincingly that our naive conception of time is hopelessly inadequate for understanding what’s really going on in the universe. Maybe the Ven Elizabeth should give it a go.


    1. ” “The Order of Time” by the Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli, is worth reading. ”

      You’ve finally reminded me to order a copy, which should arrive tomorrow.

      Carlo Rovelli is not only knowledgeable and thoughtful, he is also a beautiful writer, even in English translation. His “Seven Brief lessons on Physics” was my favourite gift to people for several years. He touches briefly on time in that small book, so I’ll be very interested to see what he has to say in more detail.

      Time really is quite mysterious. At the level of basic physics there seems to be no reason whatsoever why there should be any difference at all between past and future. It’s only when we begin to include statistics, with the possible number of future states so vastly greater than past states that we begin to get hints of what might be going on.

      There’s also the hypothesis that time did not exist “before” our universe existed, making it difficult to even ask the question, what came “before” our universe. How do you interpret causality without time?


      1. “At the level of basic physics there seems to be no reason whatsoever why there should be any difference at all between past and future”. This is one of Rovelli’s points: as he puts it, “the difference between past and future does not exist in elementary equations of the world”. It’s only when you introduce concepts like entropy that directionality starts to emerge.

        I agree that Rovelli is a wonderful writer (and his translators must take some of the credit). I haven’t read “Seven Brief Lessons”, but I have got “Reality Is Not What It Seems”, which was apparently written first but translated later, and covers some of the same ground. The sort of writing to inspire some real Thoughts.


  3. As the great Douglas Adams said: “Time is an illusion, lunchtime, doubly so”.

    I recall having a somewhat heated debate with someone who was adamant that “time and truth” were universal and couldn’t be debated (yes he was very religious).

    I proposed a thought experiment [one which could be done in reality**] of having an electrically operated bell and drum situated about 350 metres apart in a wide open space [to avoid echo effects]. If the switch was thrown so both triggered ‘simultaneously’ (from the frame of reference of causality), different observers would experience quite distinct and “conflicting” results.

    One standing between the bell and drum would hear both simultaneously; one near the drum would hear the drum first and the bell about a second later***; the one nearer the bell would hear the bell first then the drum.

    If the switch were thrown at 12:00:00 (an arbitrary choice of time), the timings the observers reported of hearing the sounds would also vary — and other observers located around the area would also report different times.

    Each observer could swear on oath the sequence of events in court, yet there would be three separate, different versions of the truth.

    I somewhat mischievously asked whether differences in perspective was the reason for different religions, or even flavours of the same religion? and if so, how could any claim to be the right one?

    Neither of us was convinced of the other’s viewpoint, but I like to think my approach was at least demonstrable and capable of being falsified.

    ** assuming you have a big field and no complaining neighbours/local council who’d get upset about loud noises 🙂

    *** Assuming standard atmosphere, no wind, warm, dry air… — in reality the conditions don’t matter much as it’s the relative timings and not the absolute speed of sound that matters — I chose 350 metres to get a one second difference; any value would do, but you’d need to adjust the time difference expected/observed accordingly


    1. Doh!

      Missed out my concerns about the blockchain craze and how to resolve two ‘miners’ claiming to have solved the crypto hash at about the same time — with network latency issues.


    2. There’s also an interesting theological question. In frames of reference where time passes very much slower than our own, so much so that JC has not yet been resurrected, have the inhabitants been saved or not?

      Maybe this is why Christians go through the “we’re all very sad” Lent to “we’re all very happy” Easter every year. They’re just sympathising with those in an alternative frame of reference?


  4. What does time mean to a Christian who thinks she could end up in heaven for eternity?
    I’m surprised she is bothered about time at all. If she really, really believes in eternity then your short time on earth is pretty meaningless from a religious point of view. 70 years out of eternity – why did god bother with the 70 years on earth bit at all?


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