What is the point of learning? – Steve Garber’s Journey (Part I)

Steve Garber, author of The Fabric of Faithfulness (IVP)

Last week I had the opportunity to hear “the one and only” Byron Borger (owner of Hearts & Minds Bookstore) spend a night informally chatting with his good friend Steve Garber, director of the Washington Institute and author of Fabric of Faithfulness: Weaving Together Belief and Behavior (IVP. 2007). What did Byron and Steve explore on a Friday night over coffee with a 100+ friends from South Central PA?*

Steve started by sharing his story of growing up in the large agricultural valley of San Joaquin, California, and how the orientation of the Appalachians confuse him. With a smile Steve remarked

“Jesus choose to be incarnate in a place much more like California than here” [i.e., Pennsylvania].  Note:  He mentioned this more than once ;-)

Not surprisingly, Steve quickly turned to worldview:

About the time I met my wife I heard the word “worldview” for the first time, about 17 or 18 years old.  My whole world could be made sense of by what was true. …  If faith could shape anything, then it had to shape how I treated girls.  …. I was drawn into what it would mean to relate to women. … I found it hard to find anyone who agreed with me. …

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, that’s romantic material for Emerging Scholars. Don’t worry, more to come on this topic ;-)

To wrap his mind around “worldview,” Steve dropped out of college.First he lived in a commune in the bay area of California for a year. With his father being a University research scientist, Steve traveled between campuses thinking through what his life was going to be about, “seeking a better reason to be in college than passing a test and doing it again. ”

Steve wanted to know, “What is the point of learning?” While spending a year at the commune in Palo Alto, he wrote for the commune’s magazine and listened a lot. He began to see behind every person he met and experience he had that

how we answered “Who am I?” wasn’t a silly, stupid thing.

Eventually Steve went to L’Abri to answer the question “Who am I?” He was looking for a place he “could ask an honest question and get an honest answer.”

Take a few minutes to consider/discuss with a friend, colleague, InterVarsity staffworker, faculty mentor.

  • How does my faith inform how I treat men, women?
  • What is the point of learning?
  • Who am I?
  • Where have I found a place to ask honest questions and get honest answers?

The Fabric of Faithfulness (IVP) by Steve Garber.

More notes, reflections, and challenges from the evening “in process.” If you’d don’t have a copy of Fabric of Faithfulness: Weaving Together Belief and Behavior, I encourage you to find a copy. I particularly recommend the new expanded edition.

*Note: For Byron’s summary of the evening and Saturday’s conference, visit Reflections on a local Summit: Your Work Matters to God. Thank-you for all your good work Byron and Steve! I truly enjoyed the evening. Keep pressing on in the upward hope of Christ Jesus.

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Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God's creation.

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