Last Sunday we arrived in North Carolina. Andrew Weisner, the campus pastor, and a couple of students picked us up. It was a very warm homecoming for me—Lenoir-Rhyne is my alma mater—and Pr. Weisner started his ministry there the same year I started as a student. The college (pardon me, university!—it has changed status since I was there) seems better than ever and I have no doubts that Pr. Weisner is a big part of the positive change.
When we got to campus, there was a nice deja-vu type surprise in store: my former dorm has been converted into guest apartments, and we were slotted to stay in my old room! That was a bit surreal, and even more so when my old roommate Suzanne drove down to see us. I wasn’t expecting to see layers of history in America the way we’ve been accustomed to seeing them in Europe, but it was so—only the history was my own history, and I was seeing what had changed and what had stayed the same since I graduated. And of course seeing old beloved friends and professors, noting how much all of us had changed—or hadn’t changed at all!
Sunday night Andrew gave his “Pomegranates” talk again to a nice mix of people, and on Monday night I gave another version of my “What Has Erfurt to Do with Rome?” talk, this time to the Monday Night Theology Class that’s been open to the public since I took the inaugural course quite some years ago. Andrew and I both had a chance to visit various classes on campus and talk with the students, as well as enjoy some festive meals. On Tuesday evening my mom joined us (she was our ride to the next place; not to mention very eager to see her grandson again), and Wednesday morning we wrapped up our stint at resident theologians with the chapel service, at which we read the Scripture lessons and I preached. It was altogether a lovely and satisfying time.
We are out in the country now, between Roanoke and Blacksburg, Virginia. Tonight we’re speaking at Roanoke College (take a look at their web story about it) and that brings the college circuit to an end for us! It has been such a whirlwind of travel from Rome to Wittenberg to Strasbourg to St. Paul to Hickory to Roanoke that I haven’t had any time or mental space to process the fact that I just spent 70 days walking 1000 miles. I hope the luxury of being at my parents’ home for awhile now will give me and Andrew both some time to rest and reflect… Zeke, however, is mainly interested in the swing and the tractor.
By the way, some exciting news: we’re going to be interviewed on Rick Steves’ radio show! We’ll be recording next Monday and will let you know as soon as we know when it will be broadcast. Very cool!