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06 July 2015 @ 11:39 am
Tourist or Evangelist?  
The sermon at church yesterday talked about the travel, about going to new places, about being a tourist. Having just returned from one trip and already anticipating the next, I was intrigued by this topic. Tourists plan. They pack. They prepare. But they live in a bubble, disconnected from others except perhaps in their own group of travelers. That made such sense as I reflected back on the trip to Boothbay, Maine. I prepared. I packed. But I was living in a bit of a bubble as I was surrounded by like-minded folks. We had gathered to talk about books and reading and making connections and forming communities. We were bound perhaps before we even arrived.

The other type of traveler, according to the homilist, is the evangelist. She, too, is a tourist of sorts. He might not be familiar with the people and the customs and the community. But evangelists do not live in a bubble. Instead, they have 4 tasks to accomplish. They need to show up, listen, speak the truth, and not take responsibility for the outcome. All of this was in response to our gospel reading about the disciples, of course, but I think the advice applies to me and many fellow "evangelists."

And so, we will show up. We will attend meetings and conferences. We will blog and tweet and post and write and present. We will listen to those who claim that they are also involved in the work of literacy. We will listen for key words. Chief among my key words: books, reading, readers, community, choice, model, access, response, engagement, identity. If we do not hear those words or hear them being used incorrectly, we will speak up. We will speak the truth: teachers who do not read cannot be effective teachers of literacy. Teachers who do not write cannot be effective teachers of literacy. Finally, we will not take responsibility for the outcome. We will do what we can: listen, speak, show up. If nothing can be accomplished, we will move on and listen, and speak, and show up. We will do this over and over, traveling as far and wide as we can. We will be more than tourists. We will not be content to live in a bubble.
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