Come and See by Dr Steven Garber

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A long time ago, most of 30 years, I met a young man from Richmond, VA, in a summer study program on the Chesapeake Bay. Set on a beautiful old farm near St. Michaels, we called it “Knowing & Doing,” and spent a month together working out the connection between belief and behaviour, between our knowing and our doing.

Rob Straw was a student at the University of Richmond, almost ready for his senior year. We talked a lot that summer, and I came to love him, as sometimes happens in the push-and-shove of learning, when a teacher offers the ancient pedagogy of “come and see,” inviting a student to learn over-the-shoulder and through-the-heart. And of course, like all true learning, this is only possible when the student wants to learn, when the student has ears to hear and eyes to see.

Not so long after his undergraduate years, he went to Germany, studying business, eventually earning a PhD, and of course becoming fluent in German. And now for most of 25 years he has lived in Switzerland, for many years teaching graduate students the ways of business in the globalising economy. After years in the classroom, he has taken his insights about the marketplaces of the world into some of the most troubled places of the world. Viet Nam. Iran. Ghana. And more often than not, representing Switzerland and its banks to the countries who need help finding their way into healthier economies.

He came home for a few days to see his family, specially looking in on his mother whom he loves dearly. But on his way back to Europe, he stopped in Washington and we talked this afternoon. Watching the planes fly in and out of National Airport, drinking our afternoon teas and coffees, we talked mostly about his work in the far-flung places— and of course about what vocation is and isn’t, about what occupations are in relation to our vocations, and about what he is always learning about people whom he meets in the cities and societies he visits.

It was clear to me that Rob is still the eager man that he was, even as a 20 year-old. Deeply motivated by his deepest convictions about God and the world, his work calls him to enter into complex, even messy places, where hope and dream, money and marketplace are all twined together. Not content with a bifurcated faith for a bifurcated world, he works hard instead for one that is more coherent, where what he believes about the world is the way he actually lives in the world, personally and professionally. Listening carefully, I was sure that he longs for integrity between his knowing and his doing— across the whole of life, across the whole of his life.

We will talk again, and again and again, I hope, still having conversations with consequences, for him and for me.

Title: Come and See
Author: Dr. Steven Garber
Format: online article
Year Published: 2016
Publisher: The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation and Culture
Access: Sourced with permission from Dr. Garber, original post –

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