I can learn a lot simply by walking along the road with someone else. Only the sound of our footsteps below, the sounds of the birds in the trees on either side, the sound of the wind in the sky above — the sounds of our breathing, and here and there a few words.
My dad was that kind of walker. He said little. He observed much. And he carried within him questions of ultimate meaning along with anecdotes, jokes, memories, and stories. He knew things. I learned from him, not as from a book or a curriculum; I learned from him because whenever he spoke it was something that interested him, and he had a kind of passion to be sure that he was not alone in the knowing.
It might be a species of tree. He would pick a leaf or two, peel off a bit of bark, hold it in his hands and ask me (or us, as there were usually friends along with us) what I saw. As I would describe a leaf, he would distinguish it from other types of leaves; as I described the bark he would say, “But the bark of such and such kind of tree is different. How do they differ?” Then, “look around on the ground and see what else you can find to help you know what kind of tree this is; then we will talk about its life-cycle, its lifespan, its possible uses. He had a piece of equipment with which he could bore into the center of the tree without harming the tree, pull out a plug, and let us count the lines which represented the rings (or years) of growth. We would even have a history lesson: why was there so much growth in this year, and so little in another? What was the role of the weather? What happens to this tree when the seasons change? What kinds of wildlife would love this tree? Why? Why not? All of a sudden we would realized that we had been in a grand lecture hall surrounded by all kinds of silent witnesses– vegetation, trees, wildlife, birds — to what we had learned.
He was a teacher on the road. He was one who conveyed an awful lot just by walking. Or stopping. Or asking questions. Or noticing the curiosity or others and affirming it. That was my dad. He would have been 96 today, the same day Jesus celebrated the birth of his own earthly (foster-)father, Joseph. I love it that my father and Jesus’ fosterfather had the same birthdays.
To be with either one was a kind of soul-feast. At least that was my experience.
Christian College of Georgia …. The Disciples College, and The Mission for Biblical Literacy are two ministries which endeavor to “teach on the road.” We are constantly moving. The road may be the “Internet Highway” but there are never too many of us on the road together that our learning cannot be personal. We have courses for Seekers. Do you want to just walk along awhile and see if this matter of following Christ has an appeal to you? We have courses for Followers. Do you want to dig deeper into your life experience and begin to make your journey more intentional? Would you like to engage (not merely read) the major stories of the Bible? We have courses for Disciples. Would you like to structure a course of study which can lead to certification in disciplines such as Bible Study and Theology and Ministry?
We are here on the road…waiting for you to come along.
770-815-9078 is my phone number: Dr. Bob Harris, President