• John G. Stackhouse, Jr.

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.

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