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Profiles in Goodwill: Bruce Gourley

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Bruce T. Gourley, who holds a doctorate in history from Auburn University, lives near Bozeman, Montana, with his family.

He is the author of eight books, founding editor of Yellowstone History Journal, contributing editor of Nurturing Faith Journal, lifelong learning instructor at Montana State University, a photographer and owner of the Yellowstone.net website.

  • Where did you grow up?

In Coffee County in rural southeast Georgia, where my family attended a small church, and I spent much of my childhood in the outdoors.

  • What is your favorite verse, book or story in the Bible? Why?

I have come to view the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-7) as my favorite biblical passage.

I believe the Sermon on the Mount encapsulates the heart of Jesus’ message of human rights, equality and upliftment as inherent in all humanity created in the image of God.

  • What is your favorite movie? Why?

“The Princess Bride.”

It is the only movie I have watched dozens of times; the acting is superb, and the humor is my kind of humor.

  • Who are three people you admire?

Jimmy Carter, John Muir and Robert Smalls (1839-1915), an enslaved South Carolinian who heroically escaped to freedom during the Civil War, became a leading advocate of emancipation and a successful businessman; after the war, Smalls became a state and national leader during Reconstruction. He was also a prominent Baptist layman.

  • What is one little-known fact about yourself?

In wilderness backcountry away from the sights and sounds of civilization – from atop a distant mountaintop or knee deep in grasses in a remote meadow, amid whispering breezes in the forest or the gentle ripple of a river, watching a herd of bison roaming upon a landscape they have known for countless generations, or staring into the bottomless eyes of an animal free and wild – I find a spiritual connection rooted in and transcendent of earth, a mystical oneness of creation and Creator.