Becoming Friends of Time
Disability, Timefullness, and Gentle Discipleship
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In Becoming Friends of Time, John Swinton crafts a theology of time that draws us toward a perspective wherein time is a gift and a calling. Time is not a commodity nor is time to be mastered. Time is a gift of God to humans, but is also a gift given back to God by humans.
Swinton wrestles with critical questions that emerge from theological reflection on time and disability: rethinking doctrine for those who can never grasp Jesus with their intellects; reimagining discipleship and vocation for those who have forgotten who Jesus is; reconsidering salvation for those who, due to neurological damage, can be one person at one time and then be someone else in an instant.
In the end, Swinton invites the reader to spend time with the experiences of people with profound neurological disability, people who can change our perceptions of time, enable us to grasp the fruitful rhythms of God's time, and help us learn to live in ways that are unimaginable within the boundaries of the time of the clock.
John Swinton explains his reasons for writing the book in this video
Table of Contents
Part 1: Time and Disability
1. Thinking about Time
2. Time and Progress
Part 2: Learning to Live in God's Time
3. Time and Christ
4. Becoming Friends of Time
Part 3: From Inclusion to Discipleship
5. Time and Discipleship
6. Time and Vocation
Part 4: Reclaiming the Heart
7. Time and Memory
8. Time and Heart
Part 5: The Horror of Time
9. The Horror of Time
10. The Time Before and the Time After
11. Time and Ritual
Conclusion: Being in Christ, Being in Time
Appendix.: Redeeming Time
"With his usual insight and wisdom Swinton has written a timely book on time and disability. Swinton's work is profoundly human and humane because it is so determinatively christological. Becoming Friends of Time is a gift for all of us who struggle to survive in a world of speed." -- Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, Duke Divinity School
"How Swinton brings together God, time, and disability transforms the understanding not only of disability but also of church, society and ordinary life. This is a profound and moving book, both pastoral and prophetic. It takes further the insights of Jean Vanier, and above all invites us into the truth that 'time is for God, God is love, time is for love.'" -- David Ford, Emeritus Regius Professor of Divinity, Selwyn College, University of Cambridge
"With characteristic wisdom and grace, Swinton's book invites us to reimagine time through rediscovering the gospel and the life of Christian discipleship in all its fullness in relation to the human experience of disability. His writing is elegant and embodies the gentle, time-full cadence it speaks about, offering a host of compelling insights along the way." -- Thomas E. Reynolds, Associate Professor of Theology, Emmanuel College, University of Toronto
“Swinton challenges the notion that ‘time has become a commodity to be bought and sold rather than a gift to be received, cherished, and valued.’ On this assumption, only those who are capable of using time productively have value in society. But he demonstrates that these ideas are anything but biblical. Taken seriously, they would dictate that the unborn child with Down syndrome not only can but should be aborted. Or that people with dementia are a ‘waste of time,’ justifying euthanasia. Swinton’s love and compassion for the disabled is contagious. He casts a Christian vision of time in which every person has a real, unique, and valuable identity.” —Matthew Barrett, executive editor of Credo Magazine
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