I began the ride in Berea, KY which is about a 2 hour drive from Louisville where we stayed for the weekend. So it was a late start, but well worth it because of the rejuvenation that occurred during our time in Louisville. An interesting fact about Berea is that it is the home of Berea College founded in 1855 because early settlers in the area decided a local school was needed. The founder was Reverend John G. Fee who was strongly against slavery. So the school allowed any person to be enrolled regardless of creed or color. A benefactor donated 10 acres and the money to build the school. Fee then built a house on the hill overlooking the school and called the area Berea after a town by the same name in the book of Acts whose residents were open-minded and well studied in God’s Word. After a stormy start, the school began to flourish as it worked toward the goal of a mountain college open to all with ability. By 1911 they had so many applications that they decided to make the southern Appalacians their major field of admissions. Students outside of southern Appalacia are admitted only in special cases. The students are not charged tuition, but they are expected to take part in a work program. The jobs range from building maintenance to academic assistance, to work in one of the student craft programs which include weaving, woodcraft, needlecraft, ceramics, a broom-making factory, and the Berea College Press.
I was excited to begin the ride in Berea because I like this small college town and I had my primary bike fixed at a very reputable shop in Louisville on Friday. As I rode away I noticed I couldn’t shift the rear gears. I took time to assess the issue and finally called the mechanic at the shop in Louisville. We finally realized the cable was broken. If only I had checked it before leaving Lousiville. But I didn’t check it. I had been so impressed with the mechanic that I didn’t see the need. The Bereans in Acts would have checked it out. Here is what we read about the Bereans in Acts 17:10-11, The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. They were open-minded enough to listen to what Paul had to say. But they didn’t believe Paul until they confirmed it in Scripture.
I was reminded that being open-minded will lead me to truth. When I close my mind to new ideas and trust what others tell me without checking it out, I am often led astray. By being open-minded, the Appalacian Bereans led the way to allow people of color to study alongside whites at a time many felt this was wrong. I needed to be open-minded enough this weekend to check my bike to make sure it was in good working order. I find that I tend to be close-minded when I don’t want to take the time to check out what others are saying or when I simply don’t want to consider an alternative to what I currently believe. However, without being open-minded we will miss new insights and revelations.
Ride Stats: Total Miles- 74.8 Avg Speed- 10.1 mph Elevation Gain- 5,092 ft Max Temp- 114.8 with 90% humidity
Lots of churches and signs like this one in Appalacia…