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The New Christians

For the third year in a row, I’ve spent the past few days in Waco, TX at Baylor University.  As a yankee, I hear all sorts of stereotypes about things and places Southern.  But, with the exception of some rather rude treatment by a Baylor professor at the Wheaton Theology Conference a couple years ago, I have been hospitably received by all of the Baylorites I’ve met.

Mandatory college chapel services are, without question, the most difficult speaking gigs that I get.  It’s tough to look out over a sea of uninterested faces and see earbuds, texting thumbs, and literally dozens of sleeping freshmen.  Baylor’s no exception to that.  (I will say that my experience in chapel a couple weeks ago at Houghton College was an exception — their chapel is well-lit with sun streaming in through windows, and it’s populated by faculty and staff as well as students; there was an energy in that room that I rarely experience in mandatory college chapel services.  The only other place I recall that had that energy was Pepperdine (also well-lit with windows).)

But Baylor, and its affiliated seminary, Truett, is not the stereotypical “Texas Babtist” institution that you might think.  Instead, Truett is more like my alma mater, Fuller — it’s evangelical, but open and moderate.  I had a great lunch with the staff of the Spiritual Life office, and we were interrupted by a couple students who stopped to thank me for my chapel talk.

On Monday afternoon, I stopped in Amy Jacober’s class.  Amy’s an old friend, and I got the chance to explain the Princeton approach to practical theology. I felt at home at Truett.

Last evening, Doug and I presented at an open forum, and the undergrads (not our usual crowd) were engaged and talkative.

Baylor is good people.

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