Mark D. Eckel: I Just Need Time to Think! Reflective Study as Christian Practice

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Mark Eckel, author of “I Just Need Time to Think!” and Professor of Leadership, Education & Discipleship at Capital Seminary & Graduate School, Washington, D.C.

He sat across from me and uttered the famous phrase, “I just need time to think!”Eckel Cover

One of my students said what I often hear.  Life, and education, is moving too fast.

People who care to take their time to study hate to be rushed.

My motivation to write I Just Need Time to Think! is inspired by classes who love to ponder, meditate, contemplate, and deliberate over their studies.

Dr. Mark Eckel (ThM PhD) practices the craft of teaching-learning with students at Capital Seminary and Graduate School as well as other venues.

The book’s subtitle is just as important: Reflective Study as Christian Practice.  For years I have utilized the Hebraic concept of selah to encourage reflection with my students.  Selah is a word that appears often in the Psalms.  I wanted students to stop, think, and consider.

Instead of requiring hundreds of pages, students were asked to read forty, musing over ideas.   I wanted question, stimulation, tension, or compare-contrast.  I wanted students to agree or disagree with me.

  “I had never thought of that before” or “This idea bothered me” or “The page prompted me to write” were introductory clauses which made me smile.

What we reflect upon shows what is valuable to us.  I value time.  I want my students to take it as they study.  I want to give them an interlude. Pause for thought. Take a break.  Take a minute.  Take a breath.

My job as a professor is to help my students succeed.  Students succeed when they do well in their studies.  Doing well in studies takes time.  I believe time for reflection values my students, their time, and their study of God’s Word and His world.

The same student who wanted time to think gave me a Christmas present that year.  He created a metal sign with a phrase I repeat constantly.  But what he wrote on the back of the sign was most important.

“I enjoy not only your teaching style but the time you give us to learn.”

Class dismissed.

Connect with Mark on his website; and through Twitter (@MarkEckel) and Facebook (

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-500 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


  1. Dear Mr. Eckel, I;m so glad you emailed me to tell me you had a book published through them!I had started a book and i forgot how to get back on the site! So I haven’t finished it nor have i added anything to it and yes i would love to add some more to it.So can you help me get back on the page or as some people call it the Site if you could i would be eternally Greatfull.Oh well i tried to spell the word correctly but it just got worse So anyway If You Could Direct me I would be very Thankful. Sincerely Frances Barker !!

  2. The beauty of your book is your desire to instill a habit and lifestyle of contemplative thinking. I am a generation that has grown up with every increasing, ever updating tools for doing increasingly many things per week, per day, per hour. I will send more emails in one work day than letters my parents sent and received in any given year in the 1970s or 80s. With all that productivity gain, I’ve filled in the saved time with more emails and tasks and my friends have the same I.V. stuck in their arms. Indeed, we just need time to think, and we should not wait for Microsoft to make the workload more efficient in order to find that reflective time. Mark, your book is timely.

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