Looking Back

Thursday afternoon I took back the bicycle I had borrowed from Bernard Brown. I got a little bit lost, spent a few minutes visiting with the village blacksmith, but finally found my way back to the right path. When I got to his house, it seemed like just a few days had gone passed since I picked the bicycle up.

The time has gone by fast, but I also have experienced a lot-more than I normally would in a month. I wrote my wife yesterday and said I have met wonderful people and wonderful places-what more could you want in a travel adventure? She wrote back and mentioned food and entertainment. I’ve enjoyed that too.

I came here to learn, to get acquainted, to see what God is doing here, and to help out if I can. I think I’ve done a little of each of these. I have certainly learned a lot and enjoyed myself in the process.

Bill Clark accompanied me on a bicycle ride to Spey Bay and back (with a little detour on the way back, but we won’t mention that). Then he followed up a couple days later with a trek up Ben Hill. Malcolm and Lorraine took me to the Queen Mother Library at the University of Aberdeen, where Raemond later picked me up and dropped off at the train station. Ronald met me at Keith and brought me on back to Buckie. Later Wullie and Jeannie to me back to Aberdeen. While at the university I gave them examinations in theology and they both passed.

They also showed me the castle at Huntley, and then later took me on another trip to Elgin and showed me the ruined cathedral, the monastery, and the chapels that were disguised as a barn to avoid being burnt. We added a little unplanned adventure to that days outing, but we won’t go into that either.

Dyllis took me to Fochabers and into the Grampians and along the River Spey, where I saw some beautiful scenery. She also showed me the plant where the cashmere products are made. I saw a beautiful robe I would have liked to get for my wife-but first I would have to sell a condo in Florida. (Since I don’t own one, my sweetie won’t be getting the robe.) Dyllis also took me to hear some fine fiddle music in Elgin today.

Ruth and Stuart showed me the coastal villages between here and Banff. They also introduced me to the joys of haggis-and they let me get acquainted with Cody. Bernard introduced me to the men’s Bible study that meets on Monday night, and I met some wonderful Christian brothers.

In my Sunday morning messages at church, this is what I said: God is at work and all we need to do is become aware of what God is doing, and then make ourselves available. There is a ministry or place of service for each one of us. We don’t all have the same gifts, but we all have gifts that we can use to share God’s love with someone else. The Christian life is a life of faith, hope, and love.

I am grateful to the people of Buckie for their hospitality, prayers, and friendship. If the Lord opens the doors, I hope I can come back again, and bring Sonja with me.

Monday morning I fly to Tuebingen.

F. F. Bruce

FFBruceMap NE Scotland
F.F.Bruce

I am about 17 miles from Elgin (hard ‘g’ as in again), the hometown of the world famous biblical scholar F. F. Bruce.

I am tempted to write an epic poem about “Frederick the Bruce.”

If my grasp of Gaelic and Doric advances at a miraculous pace, and if the Muse of history visits me–I just might do it.

I might tell how Frederick the Bruce as a young loon, after gaining his footing in auld Aberdeen, ventured south among the treacherous English, and took degrees from Cambridge; thence to Vienna, and on Leeds where he relieved many an oor of wartime tedium commentatin on the Wondrous Acts of the Auld Apostles; how he met the Tübingen critics, the McBaur clan, on their own turf, wresting the Scriptures from the academics and returning it once more to the kirk; how he returned to his own land, crossing the Firth of Forth (an ay, the Firth of Fyvie) to pass his mantle to young Howard the Marshal, to whom young William the Baker, sailing the rough Atlantic, came seeking Aberdonian wisdom, and returned to the barbarous land of the North Americans, where he has gainit glory for himsel.

But while I wait for my muse to appear, I will have to trim my sails and speak plain prose.

F. F. Bruce was respected among historians, classicists, and biblical scholars of all stripes; but it is in particular the tribe of evangelicals, British and North American especially, who are most greatly indebted to him. He showed that faith and scholarship are not mutually exclusive. He showed that a believing Christian could undertake a historical interpretation of the Bible.

He began his academic career as a teacher of classical Greek, and received his first university appointment as a professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis after completing his commentary on the Greek text of Acts.

The Buckie library is just across the street from my back door. The librarians treated me with great kindness and extended a library membership to me, complete with a card and a permit to use their computers. I found on their shelves an autobiography of one of Morayshire’s favorite sons, from which I will be quoting or reporting in days to come.

The thing that impressed me most about professor Bruce was his broad and gracious spirit. His example of taking his graduate degree (an M.A. from Cambridge) in classics influenced me to follow in that path. I didn’t make it to Cambridge, but the training I received in classics at the University of Kansas has given me a good foundation for the study of the Bible, as well as introducing me to a world that is fascinating in its own right.