Suffering–not Surfing–in Malibu

Actually, I’m not suffering either, although I’m talking about it. I’m here during unseasonably warm weather (high 80s today) to give a bunch of lectures at Pepperdine University, which enjoys one of the world’s great locations high above Malibu, California. Today I spoke to 50+ professors, administrators, and staff at a luncheon (on “America Today, the Vocation of a Christian University in America Today, and What You Should Be Doing in a Christian University in America Today”); recorded a podcast; gave a lecture at the Law School (“Hegemony, Harmony, Anarchy and Affirmation: The Realities of Multiculturalism”); spoke to area pastors and spouses at dinnertime; and gave the annual Frank Park Distinguished Scholar Lecture on “Can God Be Trusted? Faith and the Challenge of Evil.”

Tomorrow I’ll speak in the all-school chapel service and then at a luncheon for 40-some professors and students who have signed up in book groups to read the new edition of Can God Be Trusted?, hot off the InterVarsity Press this month.

Here’s a shout-out to friends Tom Wright, Scot McKnight, and Lauren Winner, my three immediate predecessors in the Park Lecture who, I am told, all recommended I be invited to give this lecture. It’s been an honour to follow in their train.

And I’m so glad to have visited Pepperdine and to see a fine Christian university go from strength to strength academically and athletically (Pepperdine is elite in both respects) while becoming more intentionally Christian than it was a decade or so ago. Pepperdine is now added to my very short list (along with Hope College, Michigan–where my friend Jim Bultman is president–and the University of Notre Dame) of schools that have become significantly more Christian, rather than letting that heritage and mission slip away. And here’s hoping friend Nathan Hatch can lead Wake Forest along a similar path.

And if you’ve been blessed with some Big Money, please consider spending it to help these schools–oh, yes, and Regent College, too!–get through these next tough months, and maybe years, of economic downturn.

0 Responses to “Suffering–not Surfing–in Malibu”

  1. Nathan

    Ok – John, this post is just CRUEL. Images of you cruising around Pepperdine in 80 degree heat, unflappably cool even as you threaten to sweat through your tweed sport coat….spreading insight and good cheer…making crowds murmur and laugh…giving shouts out to NT Wright….

    I wanna be you when I grow up – you or Kanye West…the jury is still out…

  2. Clay Knick

    Is the 2nd edition of the book any
    different from the 1st? Sounds
    like you are having fun.

  3. peggy mcd-cramer

    john, you’re here?! wish i’d known, for today’s lectures. pat and i get up to many lectures at the school of public policy, so have noticed pepperdine’s upswing in recent years.
    while you were lecturing i was out on a long run at the beach….a lot nicer than the run i did in vancouver in june’s cold rain.
    for some strange reason this is the first time you’re site has let me write something—usually i type things into the slots, but nothing shows up. must be newly socal friendly.
    be well, preach the gospel, etc.
    peggy

  4. Jeremiah

    Is there any way you can upload those lectures somewhere? It would be very nice if you could do that.

  5. John Stackhouse

    Thanks for these good words, y’all.

    The second edition is significantly changed in two respects: it’s reorganized into more symmetrical chapters (not a big deal) and it includes the expansion and refinement of half a dozen arguments, including questions of why the Cross didn’t just end all evil that day (I dispute with the familiar “D-Day” pastoral illustration) and of Jesus’ teaching on evil.

    I’m sorry Pepperdine didn’t get the word out to you, Peggy! If I’d had an hour to myself, I would have been glad to have you drive over from Santa Monica, but they worked me pretty hard! Next time!

    Some of the lectures were recorded, but only Pepperdine knows what happened to them. Check their site.

    And Nathan, you’ll be pleased to know that I didn’t wear tweed to SoCal: black jacket and pants, white shirt, bright tie. Just as you told me to do.

  6. jimmymccarty

    As a graduate from Pepperdine, and someone whose calling to pursue a Ph.D. was partially confirmed by your “Thinking about a Ph.D?” post, I’m glad you had such a good experience there! I was there for N.T. Wright’s lectures. I wish I could have heard yours. Grace and peace.

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