I Just Need Time to Think!

Tuesday, March 11: Indianapolis LifeWay Christian Store hosted Mark Eckel for a signing of his new release I Just Need Time to Think! I wish that I  had reason to be in the area. Maybe there will be other opportunities . . .

Incline my heart. – Pascal.

Ever find yourself shouting out, I just need time to think! How do you and the communities of which you are a part respond? Looking for a resource with some clear, focused recommendations to assist you in taking another step on the journey?

Over the past year I have enjoyed getting to know Mark Eckel[1] and keeping up with his challenging blog posts (warpandwoof.org). In the coming weeks Mark will share material with us on the ESN blog 🙂 As an introduction, I am drawing from a book review I posted for his new release: I just need time to think! When I mentioned this ESN blog post to Mark, he passed along news of a book signing. Wow!

Back to the book . . . From the moment I saw the cover and the description of I just need time to think!, I knew this book was speaking to the Emerging Scholars Network. Why? I just need time to think! all to often applies not only to Emerging Scholars, but also to my own life. Yes, even in a campus ministry focused upon Emerging Scholars, enrolled in a seminary (2 classes this term at Evangelical Seminary), and part of a local congregation with a Christian Scholars Series, I have seasons where I lose “reflective study as Christian practice”. When such occurs, I find myself rudderless.

Mark’s engaging invitation to retreat and study led me to sit, giving prayerful consideration to

  • study
  • retreat
  • discipline
  • holiday
  • reading
  • reflection
  • obstacles
  • walking
  • path
  • place.

Are all of these topics ones which I should add to ESN’s Help Me Write, possibly invite Emerging Scholars to address through posts in the coming weeks and months? How do they match up with the entries in ESN March Madness ’14?[2]

Mark’s call to embrace the personal responsibility of the vocation of student and “plunge into reality” with hope (79-80) when young is particularly apt for Emerging Scholars. As you know it is my passion to advocate that the Body of Christ (and campus ministry serving alongside the Body and the higher ed) not forget to journey with students as students (and professors as professors) in the ordinariness of “the natural, God-given creation” (82).

I am truly looking forward to have Mark part of the team of contributors encouraging and equipping us to be gracious, lifelong, teachable learners marked by virtue, i.e., ordering one’s life after God-ordained ends, as the Lord walks with us (2). Toward that end, I leave you with the questions he offers to his readers at the close of the first chapter of I just need time to think!, i.e., Study: Habits of the Heart. True education builds from the inside out. I encourage you to give these questions prayerful consideration individually and as part of your fellowship.

  1. Does this thing have an eternal focus?
  2. Does this activity promote virtuous living?
  3. Does what I read build internal fortitude?
  4. Do I practice justice, prudence, temperance, and courage as the framework of my being?
  5. Is what I see always seen through what is unseen? (3)

To God be the glory!


  1. Dr. Mark Eckel is Professor of Leadership, Education & Discipleship at Capital Bible Seminary. Indianapolis, Indiana is his home. For over 30 years Mark has served the Christian community as a high school teacher, college professor, essayist, curriculum writer, faith-learning integration leader, and international speaker. — Biography from the warpandwoof.org. To get to know Mark more deeply, read Mark’s Bio. ↩
  2. As I post there are a number of thought provoking match-ups, e.g., Purpose of higher ed is tied with Diversity of Higher Ed AND Integrating faith and field is leading Meaning and purpose of life: 79% to 21%. Please don’t forget to check out all of the match-ups, vote, and invite your friends to do likewise on What is the most pressing issue for the Christian to engage when journeying in higher ed?
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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

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