Skip to main content

Mere Orthodoxy exists to create media for Christian renewal. Support this mission today.

Autopsy of My Trip to the East Coast

November 22nd, 2006 | 3 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

Cause of death:  missing the wife.  10 days is a long time to be gone.

First stop:  Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC for the National Apologetics Conference.

The conference:  I didn't attend any of it, but talked with parties interested in Wheatstone Academy, the single most important ministry for young Christians.  That said, the conference was huge--some 2500 people attended, with representation from all 50 states.  And they'll probably double their attendance next year.

Southern Evangelical Seminary:  cool things are happening here.  Really.  They have a motivated and energetic new president, Norm Geisler holding down the fort, and a growing number of students who are bright, sincere, and deeply devoted to Jesus.  I have a hunch we're going to hear a lot more out of this place in the future.

Charlotte:  Beautiful.  I fell in love with the south.  If anyone in Charlotte wants to give me and my wife a job, I would be happy to move.  Really. 

Getting worked by SES prof Jason Reed, a Thomist studying under Eleonare Stump, on universals:  priceless.  Believe it or not, this post by Joe followed me into the south and got me in trouble with the smart guys there.  Jason is a brilliant young man with a bright, bright future.

Montreat College:  business took me out to this tiny school nestled against the Blue Ridge Mountains (at least I think they are the Blue Ridge Mountains).  On Montreat's campus is a Presbyterian Church that Billy Graham apparently calls home.  He apparently lives in Montreat, at least when he is in the area.  Montreat College suffers from being so disconnected from the rest of the world, but if you want a gorgeous campus where good things seem to be happening, Montreat isn't a bad choice.

Next stop:  Washington D.C. for the Evangelical Theological Society general convention.

Washington D.C.:  One local put it best when she described D.C. as a charming Southern city.  It struck a chord:  D.C. feels like the south still, despite the influx of people from around the country for political purposes.  Having traveled from Charlotte, the comparison made a lot of sense.

The White House:  Thanks to my amazing host in D.C. I was able to tour the West Wing.  It is a distinctly American building:  not ornate, but elegant.  Aesthetics are at the service of pragmatics.  It is an appropriately modest building that is fitting for the office of the President.

The Capitol:  The Rotunda is spectacular.  Worth a visit to D.C. by itself.

The Library of Congress:  This exhibition on American cartoons was particularly fascinating.  The interior of the library is fascinating in the way it pays homage to various thinkers behind the American ethos.  An eclectic conglomeration of individuals, it is a monument to the pluralism of American society.  The reading room, though with a very different style and purpose, is far more impressive than those of Oxford. 

The Folger Shakespeare Library:  fascinating exhibition right now on technology and the art of writing in Shakespeare's time.  I did not have time to see their performance of Midsums, but the theater there is cozy and beautiful.

Family Research Council:  I was lucky enough to have lunch there with Joe, Charmaine and Jack Yoest , Doc Reynolds, Roger, David Wayne (who decided to name me, "Matt I-can-take-Joe-Carter-in-a-philosophical-debate-any-day Anderson"), Jared Bridges and a number of the FRC staff and Witherspoon Fellows.  Great times.

Combine all of those stops with a trip to the National Portrait Gallery, a reunion of friends from the Oxford days, an evening listening to the erudite Lauren Winner opine, and hours spent hunting through books while pushing my own at ETS, and it was a very busy trip.  It's good to be home.

Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is an Associate Professor of Ethics and Theology in Baylor University's Honors College. He has a D.Phil. in Christian Ethics from Oxford University, and is a Perpetual Member of Biola University's Torrey Honors College. In 2005, he founded Mere Orthodoxy.