Back to Charleston

On Monday, we flew back to Beatitude II after having been gone for six weeks. Three of those six weeks were spent in Belgium, Holland, and England. The other three, for me, were spent working in Maine and Florida. For the last week, Cindy was blessed to visit our grandson, James, and his family, who have recently moved from Berkeley, CA to the Albany, NY area. (Sorry, Jeremey and Fran. You are now known as the parents of our grandson). Cindy, of course, loved every minute of it.

Jeremy, who recently finished his PhD in philosophy from the University of California Berkeley has accepted the position of Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Siena College

The Doctors Carey with James.

St. Francis in the Siena College Garden

Sign In the Siena College Bookstore showing the required texts for one of Professor Carey’s classes. He will teach Greek and Roman Philosophy and Philosophy and the Human Being

James

Son and Mom

The Carey family

The eleven month-old James at the Cheesecake Factory.

Reading time!

We were excited to return to our roaming home. It occurred to us the other day that, although we have owned the RV for just over three months, we’ve only spent four weeks on her. So, the whole experience still seems very new and fresh to us. Our first night back, we were blessed by the hospitality of our friends, Justin and Shera, who gave us a soft, comfortable bed to sleep in. The next morning, we drove our Ram truck to Extra Space Storage to pick up Beatitude II and take her to Camping World for some warranty work. They replaced a refrigerator door that had a small dent and a torn speaker cloth. This turned into an all-day affair, but finally, we hauled our 5th-wheel to Oak Plantation RV Park, where we would set up for a few days. The campground was lovely and had lots of space to roam.

Our site at the Oak Plantation Campground

Playing Frisbee at Oak Plantation

Playing Oversized Chess

She’s been checkmated!

Wednesday, though, we had to unhook in the morning and drive the RV to Corbin Hitch where we had a hitch custom-fabricated for the rear. This was done in anticipation of hauling a small scooter for short, local trips from the campgrounds. Finally, on Thursday,we were able to rest. We were exhausted and sleep deprived from the busy-ness of the last 6 weeks. We’ve done nothing touristy during this past week. We’ve spent a few days recovering our strength for the next adventure. We have enjoyed dinner with Justin and Shera almost every evening, with wonderful post-dinner conversation. We’ve eaten at their place, they’ve eaten at ours, and we’ve eaten at local restaurants. Fun!

Dinner is ready.

My wife’s delicious Lasagna

This morning, we packed up and put away everything for the thirty-minute drive north of Charleston, where we had a spot reserved at the Charleston KOA. If we could have remained at Oak Plantation we would have, but it was booked full for the grand total eclipse on Monday. Fortunately, the KOA had a spot. In fact, we were able to reserve one of the three “deluxe” sites with a patio, swing, fire pit, and grill. We are much happier with this site than the one we had here prior to us leaving for six weeks.

Our deluxe site at the Charleston KOA

Majestic Oak behind Beatitude II.

We’re staying in Charleston until Tuesday so that we can experience the total eclipse on Monday. We’re excited about that!

The End of the C. S. Lewis Summer Institute

Wednesday, August 2, was the last day of the 2017 C. S. Lewis Summer Institute. What a enriching experience “Oxbridge” was! I was able to hang out with some wonderful people from All Saints Episcopal Church in Lakeland. We were challenged by world-class speakers who shared a love for C. S. Lewis and his writings. We were blessed by visiting all the magnificent medieval churches. And, we thrilled to several artistic performances, the most awesome of which — and I don’t use the word “awesome” flippantly — was the choral music of the C. S. Lewis Summer Institute Choir.

In the morning, we walked over to Great St. Mary’s Church for our morning sessions. The Dean of Kings College, Stephen Cherry, provided our morning meditation. In our first plenary session, we were challenged to develop “Narnia virtues” in our own lives by Mark Pike, Professor of Education at University of Leeds. Then, in our last session, recording artist and author, Andrew Peterson, encouraged us to pursue our callings in spite of the difficulties and setbacks.

Stephen Curry delivering the morning meditation

Mark Pike

Andrew Peterson

Afterwards, I and my All Saints friends enjoyed a fine lunch at The Senate again. The weather in the UK has been mostly cloudy, cool, and fairly rainy since I arrived. Wednesday may have been the worst of the rain. Our free afternoon of sight-seeing was hindered by cold, blustery, wet weather. Fighting the elements, first we entered Trinity College to look around. Trinity boasts several famous alumni, including Sir Isaac Newton. We could not enter the chapel, unfortunately, because a string lesson was underway. So, we walked down to the 12th century Church of the Holy Sepulchre (aka, The Round Church) in Cambridge to look around. It’s one four medieval round churches still in use in England. And, finally, we visited Magdalene College, where C. S. Lewis taught from 1954-1963.

Trinity College Quad

Trinity College Ivy

Interior of Trinity College Chapel

Sir Isaac

Alfred, Lord Tennyson – another Trinity alum

An apple tree siting outside what was once the room of Sir Isaac Newton, the “discoverer” of gravity. The tree is a grafted descendant of the original one at the home of Sir Isaac Newton’s mother in Woolsthrope, Lincolnshire. Reportedly, on a visit to his mother’s garden during his Cambridge days in the late 1660s, he observed a green apple fall from a tree and only then began to consider the mechanism that drove what is now termed Gravity.

The Round Church of Cambridge, built in 1130 A.D., inspired by the rotunda of the Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

Interior quad of Madalene College, Cambridge

Magdalene College Chapel

The finally event of the C. S. Lewis Summer Institute was scheduled for Wednesday evening at Kings College Chapel. The chapel was built by a succession of the kings of England between 1446-1515 during the War of the Roses. It was for me, unquestionably, the climax of the last ten days in England. We were there to worship our Maker in this most beautiful edifice. The choir sang, Malcolm Guite delivered the message, and we were awed by the presence of God. The service concluded with the Holy Eucharist. I’ve never experienced a more powerful, more blessed, more overwhelming few moments in my 45 years of attending church. Words fail me to adequately communicate its beauty and significance. As I stood from my pew and made my way to the altar, I was engulfed by the magnificence of the elaborate, fan-vaulted, gothic ceilings towering eighty feet above the chapel floor. The massive, ornate stained glass windows with their blues and reds bathed the interior with a glorious, subtle light. The choir was singing with heavenly sweetness the powerful poem of George Herbert, Love Bade Me Welcome. As I approached the altar, I was first moved by the stain-glassed image of Christ on the cross between the two thieves which towered above us from behind the altar — I was coming to partake of his body and blood which were given for me at Calvary. My eyes then traced the imaginary line from the base of the cross to the Peter Paul Rubens altarpiece that bade me come further to worship the Christ, just as the magi were doing in this great painting, The Adoration of the Magi. It was as if all of heaven and earth came together for that moment, when all of my senses — of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell — combined to transport me beyond the physicality of the moment to a spiritual reality unseen. I shall never forget it.

Kings College Chapel,

Stained Glass Windows, Back Wall

The spectacular Kings College Chapel

Kings College Chapel Ceiling

View through the choir to the apse with the massive stained glass windows showing the crucifixion above and the Rubens altarpiece below.

On Thursday, I arose early to meet my taxi at 5:30 a.m. which carried me to London Heathrow Airport. The 9 1/2-hour flight to Atlanta was uneventful, as was my connecting flight to Akron. Today, I rest. Tomorrow, I fly to Maine for a few days of work, and then to Florida for a few days of work. Finally, after six weeks away from Beatitude II, Cindy and I will return to Charleston, SC to continue our adventures. Until then, the torrential pace of blog posts will slow.

To conclude the story of my time at the C. S. Lewis Summer Institute, I provide the words to George Herbert’s great poem:

LOVE bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack’d anything.

‘A guest,’ I answer’d, ‘worthy to be here:’
Love said, ‘You shall be he.’
‘I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on Thee.’
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
‘Who made the eyes but I?’

‘Truth, Lord; but I have marr’d them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.’
‘And know you not,’ says Love, ‘Who bore the blame?’
‘My dear, then I will serve.’
‘You must sit down,’ says Love, ‘and taste my meat.’
So I did sit and eat.

Cambridge, United Kingdom

On Monday morning, the 31st day of July, we awoke early for breakfast and made the 20-minute walk to town for our morning sessions in Great St. Mary’s Church. Scott Key began the morning our meditation, followed by Helen Mitchell and Greg Leith challenging us to think seriously about the theology of work.

Crossing the Cam River Again

Great St. Mary’s Church, Cambridge

Interior of Great St. Mary’s

Helen Mitchell, current Director of the Talbot Center for Faith, Work, and Economics at Biola University.

Greg Leith, CEO of Convene

Our All Saints’ group then had lunch at the Anchor Pub. Besides serving great food and being located right on the river with a great view, it’s claim to fame is that the founding member of Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, was a regular at the Anchor during the sixties and played here on a regular basis.

The Anchor Pub on the Cam

Lunch at the Anchor Pub (Photo courtesy of Linda Marichal)

In the afternoon, I listened to Terry Glaspey talk about the history of Christian Art. It was interesting since I had taught the same material for 13 weeks at All Saints a few years ago. We chose many of the same works of art to talk about, but it was interesting to hear his approach to the subject and to see those few works which he included that I did not, and vice versa. After dinner, I decided to take the opportunity to attend one of the permeances of the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival which is a cultural highlight of the city of Cambridge each year. Several plays are presented simultaneously at different colleges. I chose to attend the production of the tragedy, King Lear, which was performed in the open air of Scholar’s Garden at St. John’s College. Although it was quite cool and there was brief rain, the show went on. It was excellent.

On St. John’s Scholar’s Garden for an evening of Shakespeare under the stars.

The Cast of King Lear taking their final bow.

On Tuesday morning, the sessions were all held at Robinson College. First, we were blessed to hear Larry Crabb talk to us about Relational Holiness. Then, we were treated to a few sonnets and a song by the wonderful, Malcom Guite. And, then, we were blessed to hear about a collaboration by the poet, Malcom Guite, the painter Bruce Herman, and the composer J.A.C. Redford called “The Ordinary Saints Project.” Wonderful! In the afternoon, I once again attended Terry’s session on Christian Art.

Maggie Guide, offering the morning meditation.

Larry Crabb, well-known psychologist, conference and seminar speaker.

Malcom Guite, Anglican Priest, poet, author, and lead singer of a rock band. Quite a guy! Here he reads one of his poems.

Malcom Guite performing

A poet (Malcom Guite), A composer (J. A. C. Redford), and an artist (Bruce Herman). That is an amazing cluster of talent!

After dinner, the conference shifted to St. John’s College Chapel for an incredible evening of choral bliss with a concert of the Summer Institute Choir. I wish I had the words to describe the experience. I was transported into a heavenly place, seated in the choir of St. John’s College Chapel, a holy place which housed the Spirit of the Living God on this night. The Choir, composed of world class musical professionals, sang in such a way as to communicate the truth of the Gospel to all who listened. It was, in a word, magical.

St. John’s College Chapel (Photo from Web)

Interior of the magnificent St. John’s Chapel (photo from the web)