Regent College sits noticeably on the campus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver (UBC edge of campus in the image). We were there seven days with six full days of sun — a glorious week of weather. I was there to teach a course on the Kingdom of God in the teachings of Jesus in Regent’s robust and impressive summer school offerings — I shared this week with folks like Soong-Chan Rah (Prof Rah), my former colleague at North Park (he is at the seminary though I was in the undergraduate program).
To begin with, a huge thanks to the organization skills of Molly Fogelman and Ali Cumming, as well to my TA Benj with a very special Dutch family name, Petroelje. (I did my best to convert the man toward anabaptism during the week.) They somehow conspired to find me some coffee during our class breaks so I could chat with students.
Kris and I stayed at the Gage dormitory though I must confess we were in the West Coast Suites, which gave us a little bonus room. We were just a 7 minute walk from Regent, so daily I had breakfast at the student union and then meandered over to the College — 8 am to 11am was the class time. It was a wonderful week where I got to propose to these gifted students what (I think) kingdom means for Jesus and the New Testament vision. I set this kingdom vision into the world of both Jewish politics and posed it toward Christian political theologies. Some pushback was expected but there was lots of encouragement, especially from pastors (more of that some day on the blog). These lectures are rooted in a project I am writing for Brazos called Kingdom Mission and World (hence some day on the blog).
Kris spent her mornings wandering around UBC and then we had lunch — we found a favorite place on the first day called The Pita Pit. After which we explored something in Vancouver. Our first two days were spent in Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver: Stanley Park, we were told, is the largest urban park in the world and we walked the seawall about a quarter way around (almost to the Lion’s Gate Bridge) and took in a bit of a cricket match. Then we had dinner at Stepho’s, a place that came with high recommendations and we enjoyed the Greek food. The next day we wandered the beaches … with an added humorous twist. We asked the front desk at the dorm where we could get to the beach, and they gave us a map and showed us Trail 3, which led us down almost 400 stairs to “Wreck Beach,” which we soon discovered was clothing optional. All a bit weird, of course, made even more so by the fact that it seemed (sparsley populated) by 60+ year old former hippies (males). We took the approach of keeping our eyes on the sand, which wasn’t sand after all but rocks. By the time we escaped the goofiness of Wreck Beach our legs were worn out. Anyway, we made it all the way to Jericho Beach, and then had a tough climb (foot by foot, if that long of a step) up to 4th Street to catch the UBC bus back to our room.
The rest of the week had one very special highlight: Ken and Joan Braun took us up Grouse Mountain, and we are indeed glad we didn’t do the Grouse Grind. At the top we took in the Grizzly Bear exhibit (humongous creatures, eh?) and then the Raptor exhibit, including getting up close to a falcon. Whew, the things can fly. Then Joan had prepared an incredible salad and fresh salmon, potato salad and homemade shortbread picnic — which picnic we celebrated in a park overlooking the water.
One evening we were invited to Don Lewis’ home to have dinner with the Waltkes, the Houstons, the Lewises and the Greemans. A very special evening for us. And one evening Kris and I met Jonathan Wilson for a brew at the local Irish pub to chat … Jonathan is one of my favorite theologians and he teaches up the street at Carey Theological College.
Other than that, we wandered from Kits Beach and then around Granville Island, had a splendid early evening dinner at Go Fish on the island, and learned how to use the Vancouver bus system.
Did I mention the weather? Incredible beauty.
Kris had some Tim Horton’s in the mornings but I have to confess, Not I. Is it right and meet to go to Canada and not have a Tim Horton’s?