I first entered Cambridge when I was fifteen years old. I was too young, really, to know what I was doing or to appreciate the advantages that had been presented to me, and I’m afraid that I rather frittered away my time on walks to the river, tramps in the nearby hills, and involvement in local theatrical productions (I really wanted to be an actor). Still, the experience was not entirely wasted, since I was introduced to many of the concepts that would come to govern my life. Furthermore, these were the years when I stumbled across J. R. R. Tolkien. At the time I had no idea who he was, but he influenced me almost immediately.

For health reasons I had to drop out of my baccalaureate program after my sophomore year. By the time I re-enrolled, I had met and married a wife, and she returned with me to Cambridge. We chose to purchase a home in the village, which placed us under some financial strain. Other factors made up for it, though, and those years were quite happy. My wife had completed her education before I returned to Cambridge, and I was studying Scripture and theology in one of the best undergraduate institutions for those disciplines. We attended a church that had been organized in the nonconformist tradition, but that had been led into Baptist convictions by a recent pastor. We made friends of both students and townsfolk. On top of all that, I got to take more of those walks to the river and in the hills.

After I was graduated with my bachelor’s degree, we left Cambridge to study and work in other places. Our travels took us to homes in Colorado, Iowa, Texas, and Minnesota. During most of that time we lived in big cities, though we did get to spend a few years in a rural town in Iowa. Through all our sojourn in the larger metropoli I missed the relaxed pace and familiarity of life in a smaller community.

Consequently, it was with real delight that I seized the opportunity last November to go to Cambridge, not now as a student, but as a minister and professor. While I hope never to stop learning theology, my vocation is now to teach it both in the classroom and from the pulpit. While engaging in that task, I get to see Cambridge from a very different perspective.

Our rooms in Cambridge are comfortable. We have a moderately large kitchen and a formal dining room. Our bedroom is adequately spacious for our needs. I have a study and my wife has a studio where she can practice her piano. Our sitting room is large enough to accommodate several guests in comfort, which is an advantage for any teacher. Furthermore, I have space for a workshop, which is a feature that not many English residences can boast.

Life here is pleasant. Once I leave my door, I can find a walking path within a hundred yards. It connects with other byways that will take me down to the river or through forests and parks, across bridges and up hills, and even into neighboring villages. The river itself is perhaps a quarter-mile from our rooms. The tallest tower in Cambridge also lies within an easy walk, just over a mile away. That walk then puts me in proximity to shops, cafes, ice cream, and baked goods. There are, of course, larger shopping facilities, but they are on the outskirts of town and require transport to reach.

The pace of life in Cambridge is gentle, and in our little segment of the community people seem especially friendly. I’m not used to having strangers inquire after my wellbeing, but that’s what I get near my rooms. Folk whom I don’t even know have begun to recognize me and to greet me, if not by name, then by title.

Because of the season, I’ve only visited the parks briefly. I’m looking forward to exploring them more during the summer. Perhaps my favorite park is one that follows the river for some distance. People both stroll and cycle along the trails, and some even skateboard. When I walk along the water, I can see anglers at its edge. Perhaps at some point I’ll give that a try. I’ve not seen rowers during the colder weather, but I expect they’ll be out when the days are warmer.

Some people don’t care for English cooking, but I enjoy most of it. I could live on toad-in-the-hole, bangers and mash, Cornish pasties, fish and chips, and scones (I’m indifferent to bubble and squeak, and I admit to hesitation about mushy peas). Of course, you can get decent pizzas in Cambridge now, and if you have a hankering for a hamburger there’s even a McDonald’s.

Life in Cambridge is certainly better than in the Twin Cities. Cambridge lies across the county line and is the seat of Isanti County. This geographical fact puts it outside the authority of the Met Council, which is absurdly controlled by liberals.

Yes, I’m talking about Cambridge, Minnesota, where I now have a home. The river near my home is the Rum River. The tower is an abandoned Forest Service lookout tower. The Cambridge in which I spent my teen and college years was Cambridge, Iowa.

Why? What were you thinking?

I have not written a word in the foregoing that isn’t absolutely factual. I’ve made nothing up, nothing at all. But if you didn’t already know me and my background, you might have come away with an impression that was not true to reality.

Here is the lesson. Telling the truth is not just a matter of stating the facts. It is a matter of clothing them in their proper context and presenting them from a proper perspective. By emphasizing certain facts and shading or withholding others, a writer or speaker can create an impression that is miles away from reality. Telling the truth is more than stating the facts—which is a lesson we need to remember whenever we encounter a news report.


This essay is by Kevin T. Bauder, Research Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Not every one of the professors, students, or alumni of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with every opinion that it expresses.



George Herbert (1593–1633)

O Blessed bodie! Whither art thou thrown?
No lodging for thee, but a cold hard stone?
So many hearts on earth, and yet not one
   Receive thee?

Sure there is room within our hearts good store;
For they can lodge transgressions by the score:
Thousands of toyes dwell there, yet out of doore
   They leave thee.

But that which shews them large, shews them unfit.
What ever sinne did this pure rock commit,
Which holds thee now? Who hath indited it
   Of murder?

Where our hard hearts have took up stones to braine thee,
And missing this, most falsly did arraigne thee;
Onely these stones in quiet entertain thee,
   And order.

And as of old the Law by heav’nly art
Was writ in stone; so thou, which also art
The letter of the word, find’st no fit heart
   To hold thee.

Yet do we still persist as we began,
And so should perish, but that nothing can,
Though it be cold, hard, foul, from loving man
   Withhold thee.