The next morning I gave a speech called “Unequally Yoked.” I discussed the lengths universities will go to in order to infringe upon the rights of Christians at public universities. During the speech, I referred to the Southworth case, which, theoretically, prevents public universities from collecting mandatory student activity fees and then refusing to fund Christian groups and activities.
After the speech, Doc Noebel, the President of Summit, introduced himself saying “Mr. Southworth is a Summit graduate.” I already knew Summit was there to teach kids a Christian worldview – one that would help them survive a secular onslaught in college. Now I knew that Summit gave young men and women the courage to fight back. Even to the Supreme Court, if necessary.
After Doc took me to lunch we sat out on the front porch of that old hotel. I was enjoying the cool summer breeze that was flowing through the mountains. A man and his wife were there from Iowa spending the afternoon with their teenager who was enrolled in Summit. “How often do you hear from former students?” the man asked. Without hesitation, Doc replied “Every day.”
About ten minutes later, a fellow – I believe his name was Harris - came walking up the steps to shake Doc’s hand. “You probably don’t remember me,” he said. “I was one of your students back in 1962. Summit Christian Ministries changed my life.”
That afternoon I went with the kids to play sports – volleyball, tennis, etc. After a few minutes I took a rest because I hadn’t adjusted to the 7000 foot altitude. A few minutes later, someone - who knew I used to play for a living – shoved a guitar in my hand. I played a few tunes before we headed to the grill for supper.
I don’t know exactly what heaven is going to be like but I know it will involve perpetual worship – the type one experiences when admiring God’s creation. And I know it will involve joyful fellowship with one’s brothers and sisters in Christ. In that sense, Summit is the closest thing to heaven on earth I’ve ever seen.
When my luggage finally arrived, I called Delta to change my flight arrangements. They assumed that losing my luggage prevented me from finishing my business in Colorado. The truth is that I was having too much fun to leave.
When I got back to North Carolina I called one of my lawyers, Travis Barham, at the Alliance Defense Fund. I told him that far from wanting to quit I was ready to get back in the trenches and try to make things right in the UNC system. When he asked why I seemed so rejuvenated and full of fighting spirit I told him about my week at Summit. That’s when Travis told me he was a graduate of Summit Christian Ministries.
“I should have known,” I told him. And I really should have known.