After several years of getting encouragement from faculty at a number of CCCU campuses, I was finally able to attend Acton University, a three-day conference sponsored by the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, June 18-20. The University serves to advance the Institute’s mission of “promoting a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles”.
Three things about the Acton University experience are well mentioning: first, the number and quality of lectures and presentations from American academe and practitioners in business, public education, public policy, and ministry. With over a thousand economists, philosophers, and theologians attending the nearly 100 sessions, the main challenge was to decide which presentation would have to be dropped from my personal wish list.
Second, the Acton team structured the event in a way which demonstrated that widely varying theological traditions–Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant (Reformed, Pentecostal, and African-American Baptist)–each have a contribution to make to the work of promoting a “free and virtuous society.”
Third, and maybe the most fun, was hanging out with the like of Tyler Castle (ASP alum now with the Value & Capitalism Project at the American Enterprise Institute) and Steve Garber (former ASP faculty now leading the Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation & Culture). Steve’s influence was evident everywhere–in conversations, presentations, books. And Tyler, well, let’s just say he’s making a strong contribution to a very important initiative. I also discovered that he is a model of grace under pressure when it comes to travel logistics and nearly-missed flights. Grand Rapids at 4am will never be the same.