I spent most of the first week of May at the Pepperdine Bible
Lectures on the beautiful Malibu campus. The lectures are a feast--
of meeting new friends and reestablishing ties with old ones, of
studying scripture and scripture-related themes, and of worshipping
God with thousands of other Christians, still a rarity among churches
of Christ on the West Coast.
This yearâ€™s theme --â€œLife Together: The Heart of Love and
Fellowship in 1 Johnâ€�--challenged us to deeper fellowship in a
Jerry Rushford, director of the lectures, worked all year to plan and
put together a program of study and worship that inspired and
Then he and his efficient staff coordinated the massive logistical
effort of hosting nearly 5,000 guests from 44 states and 20 foreign
They arranged rooms, meals, display areas, and classrooms.
I happened to be crossing the campus early one morning as workers
fanned out with audiovisual carts for the first group of 20 classes that
met four times a day (none repeated) in classrooms and auditoriums
all over the campus.
I moved out to Malibu on Tuesday afternoon. I had been
babysitting with my new granddaughter two days a week so my
daughter could finish her teaching year (the kid came several weeks
early, before child care was available at her school). At first, I
wasnâ€™t sure it would work out, but my dear husband took a
week off work and filled in so I could go, and a friend from church
drove me out.
Leonard Allen announced the companyâ€™s merger with ACU
Wednesday began with Tom Olbrichtâ€™s expository study of 1
John (see article). I was running too late to catch Emily Lemleyâ
€™s opening class on the â€œDivine Secrets of the Christian
Sisterhood,â€� but I attended the rest of the week and enjoyed it
That afternoon, I went to Ron Coxâ€™s class on difficult texts in 1
John. Another thoughtful afternoon offering was the Leaven
Journal symposium on ministry.
After the main lecture by Chris Goldman from Rancho Cordova,
we went to the home of Pepperdine President Andy Benton and his
wife Debbie for a reception for participants.
Following classes on Thursday, I got a chance to visit with an old
friend and fellow journalist, Lindy Adams. Formerly editor of the
Christian Chronicle, Lindy is now working for Predisan, a medical
mission in Honduras. The Predisan director, Dr. Amanda Madrid,
was one of my suitemates and spoke to the adult class that Sunday
at Culver Palms.
I viewed a fascinating art exhibit by Pepperdine photographer Ron
Hall. Ron prints his photos using the giclee method on archival
paper, shooting wherever his job takes him, alert to the beauty or
mystery of everyday scenes (look up Ron Hall at www.art-
David Fleer of Rochester, NY, was the entertaining speaker for the
Friends of Pepperdine dinner and preached for us at Culver Palms
After the main lecture by Shon Smith of Tuscaloosa, AL, on â
€œLove One Another,â€� I spoke on a panel with three other
women interested in church planting. I had the distinction of being
both the oldest and the least qualified to speak on the subject,
having never planted a church or even prepared to, but I was able
to draw from my experience in urban ministry. The discussion was
lively and inspiring, and Iâ€™m encouraged by the renewed
interest in reaching out with the gospel, particularly to our larger
Special treats on Friday were a chance to visit with Emily Lemley
and a touching tribute to Maurice and Marie Hall, Ronâ€™s
parents and former missionaries in France and Vietnam.
â€œLife Togetherâ€� was not just the theme of the lectures, it was
the reality of a week of visiting, studying, living, eating and sharing
together as part of a larger body, the church of Jesus Christ
That first night, it was a treat
to hear Tim Spivey of Dallas,
who had served as a youth
intern at Culver Palms while I
was working there, give the
opening lecture on â€œThe
God Who Fellowships.â€�
After the lecture, we went up
to the Mallmann House,
home of Darryl and Ann
Tippens, for a reception for
Part of the crowd for main lectures.