Last night the Believe Me book tour made its one and only stop in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to Dale Soden of Whitworth University‘s Weyerhauster Center for Christian Faith and Learning for inviting me to speak at this excellent Christian college in Spokane.
Dale even gave me a quick tour of the Gonzaga University campus. We drove past “The New Kennell,” home of the Gonzaga Bulldog basketball team on the evening they received a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. I also learned that Bing Crosby’s boyhood home is on Gonzaga’s campus.
It was good to see my old friend Arlin Migliazzo (recently retired from Whitworth’s history department), touch base with Elise Leal (a very promising faculty member in early America who just joined the department this year and recently won the Sidney Mead Prize from the American Society of Church History), and meet so many of Whitworth’s outstanding history students. I also got to chat briefly over lunch with Jerry Sittser, author of The Will of God as a Way of Life, a book I once taught as part of Messiah College’s first-year CORE. Whitworth seems like a great place to work and study. It has been one of my favorite stops on the Believe Me tour.
I think it is fair to say that the audience response to my lecture was generally positive, but there were a few outliers. Students from the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at Whitworth were out in force. I know most of them disagreed with the central premise of my talk, but they were polite and respectable. (The Whitworth YAF chapter is reeling in the wake of a recent controversy surrounding an invitation to conservative commentator Ben Shapiro). Another student (I am not sure if he was part of YAF) wore a red “Make America Great Again” hat and then waited patiently after the lecture to tell me I was wrong about Trump. We had a nice conversation and I asked him if he would read my book if I sent him a copy. He said he would. The book will be in the mail soon.
The Q&A session was spirited, but that is how I like it. Whitworth was a great host and the students and faculty who came to the lecture modeled civil dialogue. I hope to come back to campus one day!
Off to Greensboro College in Greensboro, NC on Thursday. See you there!