An Eternally Present Time (2-26-14)

Living in the "now" is not a new concept. Nearly one century ago T.S. Eliot wrote, "Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future." American University professor Michael Manson was on hand in the Feb. 16 Adult Ed to help Dumbartonians understand the poet's conception of an eternally present time. The Adult Ed session coincided with a month-long, church-wide focus on Eliot's "Four Quartets.*

T.S. Eliot contemplated time in "Burnt Norton" the first poem iin the Quartets. "For Eliot, only in time present can we make choices to repent, worship, or act," Manson explained. In each moment, we are making progress towards or away from God. Time is redeemable. The consequences of the past can be transformed  by what Eliot called "sinful" or "right" action. 

According to Manson, Eliot viewed action as mainly "worship." Justice and acts of charity were less important to the poet than ritual, devotion, and prayer. "He got half of Christianity right," joked Manson.

--By Ginny Finch