Robanne, Barrett, and I spent last weekend in Santa Barbara, California. We were there because Barrett, our daughter, participated in a competition for a scholarship at Westmont College. The college brings together twenty-eight young scholars to interview them, test them, and have them write an essay toward scholarships. It’s been great to watch Barrett participate on such a high level academically.
The reason that this weekend was so important to me is that Westmont is my alma mater. I graduated in the 1970s and met Robanne there. It is the place that shaped me theologically. I began to think more consistently about God’s Word at a deeper level. It is the place that shaped me philosophically. I was a philosophy major, and we studied the great philosophers – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. I began to understand how our western culture began to emerge from some of these great philosophies. It is the place that began to shape me sociologically – gave me the confidence to lead, gave me the confidence to know that I had skills that people would follow. But the biggest thing Westmont gave me was a lens to look at the world through, called a Christian worldview. It made me not afraid of questions. In fact, Westmont’s philosophy of liberal arts education is to ask more questions than to give answers, and in the questions we find the answers.
I’m really excited about Barrett perhaps going to school there. I think, though, the moment that I enjoyed the most this weekend was hearing a mathematics professor explain how his discipline of mathematics fed into a Christian worldview and particularly into Creation. He began to talk about how different formulas and math issues come together in a sunset. So when he looks at a sunset, he sees math; he sees the culmination of various mathematical formulas. But then at the end he said something like, "When I consider all this, it tells me about the Creator, a Creator who is so ordered that He put the sunset together precisely, and He makes all things good.”
As I sit here reflecting on the weekend, I am so thankful for the building blocks that God has put in my life. It is my hope that AMF will be a building block for many, many people, and that young scholars like those I watched at Westmont will come to places like AMF and apply their strong minds to sharing the Gospel in ways that we have not dreamed of.
It was a good weekend. I don’t know if Barrett will win the scholarship, but even if she does not, the experience of rubbing shoulders with such great minds will leave an impression on her forever.