Reflections on Acton University
Religion & Liberty Online

Reflections on Acton University

If you missed the recent Acton University, here is a roundup of reactions and reflections by bloggers to give you an idea of why you need to attend next year:

Dave Doty of Eden’s Bridge gives a sense of what AU is like for those who have never attended:

The University runs from Tuesday to Friday nights and includes twelve seminars (four per day) and evening plenary speakers after what have always been excellent dinners. The event has grown to 800 attendees, more than a quarter from outside the United States, covering seventy five countries and the major traditions – Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Reformed Protestant, and Evangelical – of the global church. The last few years have also incorporated a small interfaith contingency of a handful of Muslim attendees. The last two years AU has been held at the expansive DeVos Convention Center in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids (a beautiful location on the Grand River). I was put up at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. As the previous three times I have attended AU, the food, the accommodations, the teaching sessions, and the people were all beyond expectations.

Fr. Ovidiu Petru Damian of Mens Catholica posted a homily on a Mass reading while at AU:

I remember years ago, during my years of seminary, I was reading a daily column on the Italian catholic newspaper “Avvenire” written by Mons. Gianfranco Ravasi, now head of the Pontifical Council of Culture. One day he wrote an odd story, about a man staying in a marketplace, who had something very particular to offer to the passers-by. He had this card, written on it in big letters: “Do you want to become a teacher of truth?” One man stops, curious about this and asks what do one needs to do in order to be a teacher of truth? “Well, he says, you need to suffer insults, to be ready to be laughed at, badly treated, maybe even be beaten and all kinds of hardships. All this for at least 30 years”
“But… Why 30 years?! What will happen after 30 years?”
“Well, by that time you would just get used to it”

Dan Scott posted thoughts on God’s economy and church renewal based on a presentation he gave at AU:

St. John called this Christ the Eternal Logos, by which he meant that Christ is that which holds all reality together. This implies that the Church, which is Christ’s body, exists to offer to all humanity those things already tacitly known by the people of God through revelation. As the church goes about this work, the life of Christ within the church works to draw all creation Godward that it may be redeemed and transformed. This includes the economic structures of nations and households.

John H. Armstrong of Reflections of a Missional-Ecumenist writes about sharing life with Catholics at AU:

One of the most valuable parts of an Acton experience is to be with Christians from every part of the world and from every church tradition; i.e. Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant. You sit with people from these backgrounds, you share meals together and then you gather at receptions and enjoy a glass of wine and some wonderful food. All in all it is a fantastic week! Even when a presentation is not up to par, at least for my tastes, I enjoy listening to the discussion and interacting with friends, old and new. You attend 12 seminars, four plenary evening sessions and several other unique gatherings, both formal and informal. Students often are subsidized and faculty and presidents can attend on scholarship if they qualify.

During AU Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse interviewed Father Gregory Jensen on his work at the University of Wisconsin, the Fortnight of Religious Freedom, and the nature of liberty. You can listen to the podcast here.

Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).