Our “post-pilgrimage” has just about wound down now. On Thursday night we were the guest speakers at a Faith and Reason lecture and dinner at Roanoke’s Center for Religion and Society. We had a good crowd and a very curious one! Our host finally had to call the questions to a reluctant halt so we could proceed on to dinner.
Comically enough, the most persistent question we’ve gotten—both on the road in Europe, and at our American speaking appearances—has been how many pairs of shoes we went through! The answer: Andrew wore exactly one pair of Crocs, and I traded in one pair of Keen’s sneaker sandals for a second pair about ¾ of the way through our trip. That’s it! Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to have “sturdy” shoes for long-distance hiking. Loose and comfortable is a much better option.
There were also lots of great questions after dinner about the spirituality of pilgrimage and the nature of ecumenism. One suspicion that has been confirmed for us in this whole project is that the people of God are hungry for the unity of the church, but what they have been told or what they have perceived of ecumenism doesn’t do justice to that desire. I myself didn’t know much of anything about it before I went to work at the Institute in Strasbourg. So we will definitely be considering ways to continue to spread the word about the rich and fascinating history and intellectual development of the ecumenical movement even though our walk is over.
In the meanwhile we have been enjoying an unusually lovely November in Virginia. The hills are nearly all gray and bare, but the fields are still covered with blond grasses, the sky is blue, and red-winged blackbirds flit about all over the place. Out for a drive the other day we stopped by a place where some folks were making apple butter over an open fire with a very long-handled wooden stirrer. Hunters are frustrated by the warm weather and abundant acorn crop, keeping all the deer happily bedded down in place. Turkey is for sale everywhere. It’s just ordinary American life, but after two years living abroad, we can recognize its peculiar charm that much better.
Anyway, a very blessed Christ the King Sunday to you all. Crown him with many crowns!