It all began last fall when the Presiding Bishop of the ECC (Ecumenical Catholic Communion) casually suggested that I consider attending the summer seminars on Old Catholic Theology at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. Bishop Francis—friends and intimates know him as Frank Krebs—is a thoughtful 21st Century priest and a good man. Casual suggestions from a good man who is my bishop catch my attention.
This summer, I’ll trace the several journeys that are the result of the due consideration I’ve given to Bishop Francis’s suggestion.
400 miles down; about 700 miles to the Michigan-Wisconsin border. It’s May 28, Memorial Day weekend 2016 in Valentine, Nebraska. Valentine is a very popular tourist destination from Memorial Day through Labor Day: wildlife refuges and sunsets, scenic rivers and tubing, canoeing and hiking. At 7 p.m. Valentine’s motels are 100% booked.
The night manager at the Niobrara Lodge, however, rises to the occasion and offers to put us up in a room with a busted lock. He’ll check with the owner to see what he should charge us for a room that’s 80% up to snuff. I’m 110% grateful for a man with an open mind and generous heart.
This road trip’s final destination is Isle Royale, a 45-mile long island in Lake Superior, a couple of hours by boat from Thunder Bay, MN and six hours by ferry from Houghton, on Upper Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. The island’s earliest inhabitants mined copper approximately 5,700 years ago, about year one in the Hebrew Calendar—1st of Tishrei, 3761 BC, the sixth day of creation when the ancient narrative has God creating Adam and Eve.
My wife, Burna, grew up near Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; I grew up down state in Lansing, Michigan’s capital. But neither of us had visited this famous wilderness area known for wolf studies, moose, and ancient copper mines. Our RoadScholar tour will offer lectures and guided exploration of this long-neglected part of our home state’s heritage and our personal natural history.
After Isle Royale, Burna and I embark on international adventures. Burna will teach English at Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China. I’m off on a “listening odyssey” to explore some long-neglected aspects of my religious heritage and spend time with important personal friends in Europe and Russia. Join me on this listening and learning adventure. I’ll be listening for what’s happening in the lives of some very good people who live in some very interesting places.