Posted by: ritagone | August 7, 2019

While I Was Away…



Last week at this time I was in Vancouver, B.C. (see photo, nighttime shot of part of the city) with my husband and our dear friends Alan and Deb Hirsch.  We were auditing a class at Regent College called “Poetry and Theology” which was taught by Malcolm Guite, a British professor/poet/theologian/lecturer who teaches at Cambridge University in England and also speaks all over the Western world.  His area of expertise is classical and British literature – especially poetry – as it relates to Christian theology.

Now, if that sounds dry, banish that thought from your mind.  At one point, while Professor Guite was speaking, I thought to myself, “If I weren’t already a follower of Jesus, listening to this man would cause me to become one.”  That’s how powerful his words and expressions were.  Sitting in the Regent chapel, where the class was held, looking around at the 100 + other students, some elderly, some college-aged, but all intently listening to what he had to say, I was struck by another thought: “This is what it’s like when someone is using their gifting for God.”  In fact, the three days that we attended the class were filled with such epiphanies, mind-opening awakenings that made me sit up and take notice of something that hadn’t struck me before.  That’s good teaching!!!

We had signed up, unfortunately, for only three of the five days that the class was going on.  But the good news is that soon recordings of the entire class will be made available, so I can listen to the lectures we missed as well as listening again to those we already heard.  They bear repeating.  I took very good notes.  Still, my notes don’t come close to capturing the insights, the beauty of the recitations of the poetry (stanza upon stanza, for example, of “The Divine Comedy” quoted from his memory) that he linked to great theological truths.  I know my God better for having been in that class.  And that’s also good teaching.

The rest of the time we were in Vancouver, we explored that incredible city.  If you’re looking for a place to go for a visit that has something for everyone, try Vancouver, British Columbia.  You won’t be disappointed.

But what really stays with me, what really has transformed my inner being and my heart is the class taught by Guite.  He is the epitome of the saying “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”  He looks like he just stepped out of Harry Potter’s Hogworts: long straight gray hair, beard, baggy pants, white T-shirt with a vest, very strong British accent.  Did he have a SAG card? Because he looked like someone had cast him as a professor in the latest Harry Potter movie for sure. But when he opened his mouth and began to teach, ah, the world was changed, enhanced, made more beautiful and meaningful by his words.

         And that’s great teaching!


  1. Hi Rita,
    I have lost most of my data after getting my phone wet so would you please text me your number.
    Thank you
    Rose Tubor

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Just in case you didn’t get it via text, my email is and my cell # is 818-601-7007. How unfortunate that your phone got so wet that it’s unusable. Hope you get a replacement soon!!! Hope you’re doing well this summer, and look forward to seeing you soon.

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