The Further Adventures of Chuck Honess as he rides his bike across America listening to the Bible
By Wickham Boyle*
November 2, 2012—Chuck Honess reads, or rather listens, to long passages from the Bible as he does his daily rides, eating up miles in order to make it across the United States. He is peddling across America to raise awareness for the great, good works that UMCOR does.
Chuck is riding between 30 and 80 miles each and every day. As he does, his thinking ranges wildly from, “Gosh, I'm 66 and my knees hurt,” to, “Isn't that just beautiful over there!" Every day, he also is listening to passages, even full chapters, from the Bible.
“When I am at home,” he says, “I spend time every day meditating, praying, or reading the Bible, utilizing various study guides. And I thought how will I do that when I am on the road?"
Well, enter the modern age, and a time when nearly everything is online. So, Chuck found a site that allowed him to download the Bible as an app for his phone. “My in-laws turned me onto it. When I heard that someone in my family was listening to the Bible, my ears perked up,” he says. I asked what version of the Bible came through his ear buds every day, and Chuck told me he had the King James and also the New International Version (NIV).
Chuck has been listening to the New Testament. “I started with Mathew 1:1—Christmas and Easter packed into one book. I have a little speaker attached to my bike; you touch the speaker and this dude starts reading, and away I go. I have been listening to six chapters a day. My mind wanders because there are often people trying to run me over, but I come back and listen when the coast is clear.”
Chuck is currently riding across Arizona on back roads: climbing hills, seeing tumbleweed and cactus, and “so many abandoned buildings," he says. I wondered if there were passages that popped out of his mini-boom box and resonated with the landscape or the voyage.
“The entire trip is particularly impactful to me. I am spending a lot of time alone and thinking. I went through [the books of] Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and I am about to begin John. Basically, the [four Gospels] tell the same story through different authors, the story of Christ.”
We all know these stories, but hearing them, reading them again and again, cements the power, rather than diluting it. Chuck continues, “I know this story, but every time I listen to the story of Jesus I get thrilled by it. It's a neat, cool, and sad story.”
Chuck Honess may seem like an improbable missionary or sower of the deep seeds of Christianity, but to hear him give the litany of his days spent rolling with Scripture, it sounds like a recipe for deeper faith.
“Listening to the Bible while riding is a substitute for quiet time,” he says. “Yes, it helps me pass the time, but more important is to be connected to the ministry of the trip. For the first 20 miles I just warm up and check in with my physical self. Then the next 20 miles I listen, going down the highway peddling and listening to the Bible. After that I hit up 50's and 60's music.”
Chuck Honess is on a personal and public mission, maybe he is following the words of Mark 16:15: “And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news to every creature of the whole human race” (NIV).
HOW TO LISTEN TO THE BIBLE ON LINE
*Wickham Boyle is a writer and frequent contributor to www.umcor.org.