I'm a proud Perpetual Member of the program, a title that is a curiosity to many people but encapsulates the idiosyncratic (and wonderful) culture that makes the program special. If you want to know why I, now eight years gone from the program, still keep close ties there, this is a good place to start.
And yet, as I grow older, I am increasingly aware of how rare a community of learners with a shared history and common objects of love is in this world, and that is what Torrey provided us.
Even though the story of the Torrey Honors Institute deserves a broader audience, the moment the point becomes about Torrey or Biola then it will no longer be worth telling. And here again I am reminded of the understated and subtle beauty of the Torrey ring. The friendships that we forged in Torrey, the books that we read, the joys and sorrows that we shared — they are voices calling us “further up and further in,” as C.S. Lewis would put it. The well that the program points to is not, ultimately, that of excellence but the one that springs up with eternal life and consummates the goods that we have begun to taste here below. And even if that story is never told or the world never comes to understand, those who call themselves “chums” and “Perpetual Members” will know well the goods we have tasted and be content in our longing for the day when we will see the Good, True and Beautiful in the face of Jesus Christ.
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.