In my mind I’m going to Carolina. Can’t you see the sunshine, can’t you just feel the moonshine? These words made famous by singer James Taylor wafted through my mind as we landed in Asheville, North Carolina. My pastoral colleague Mike Roop and I were warmly greeted by Tom Oxenreider who serves as the Associate Dean for Calling and Career at Montreat College.Tom’s warm smile was matched with his gracious hospitality treating some very hungry travelers to the finest farm to table burger in all of Asheville and perhaps all of North Carolina.
I was delighted to participate in a Montreat College symposium on work and vocation held at its beautiful campus nestled in the North Carolina mountains. Not every Christian college cancels classes for two days for the entire academic community to engage in a serious and thoughtful conversation about calling, work and vocation, yet that is the commitment Montreat College has made to indwell a seamless Christian faith.
I found the Montreat students and faculty a delight to be with, seriously engaged in the life of the mind, and on a dedicated pursuit of the proper ordering of the loves of the heart. One of my personal joys was catching up again with my dear friend Steve Garber who also served as a plenary speaker for the symposium. Steve’s latest book, Visions of Vocation, asks the important question of whether we can truly know the world and still love the world. If you have not yet read Visions of Vocation, I think it is a great read.
It was also a treat to meet up again with Dr. Paul Maurer who is now serving as President of Montreat College. I had the joy of getting to know Dr. Maurer several years ago when he was serving at Trinity International University in Chicago. I am confident that with Dr. Maurer’s capable leadership very fruitful days are ahead for this fine institution of Christian higher learning. Though I am not going back to Carolina anytime soon, Carolina is still in my mind.