Today, I write with some good news some of you may have already heard. On March 20, in Greenville, N.C., a federal jury unanimously sided with me in my claims that the University of North Carolina–Wilmington (UNCW) violated federal law in a 2006 promotion decision. Specifically, the jury found that my First Amendment–protected speech was a “substantial or motivating factor” in the defendants’ decision not to promote me to full professor. They also found that defendants could not prove they would have made the same decision in the absence of my speech activity. The case now moves to the judge to determine relief.
This has been a long seven-year legal battle and I am exhausted. Accordingly, many have suggested that I take a long vacation. And so I am. In fact, between early May and late August I'll be taking a fourteen week vacation in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Well, it isn't exactly a vacation. It's the place I've spent the last five summers. It's almost become my second home.
I go to Manitou every summer because that is where Summit Ministries is located. The ministry was established in 1962. They first invited me to speak there in 2008. Not long afterward, they decided to have me stay all summer and teach in every session. (They offer seven two-week sessions over the course of the summer). It is always refreshing to go there in the summer after spending my fall and spring at a secular university. The place keeps me grounded and rekindles my spirits.
Since 1962, tens of thousands have similarly benefitted from the Summit experience. To date, more than 35,000 families have enrolled their 16-to-21-year-old sons and daughters in the Summit Ministries 12-day experience. There, they are mentored by Christian leaders in academia, public policy, and business, and prepared to be courageous leaders who stand strong in a culture that tries to break them and cause them to abandon their faith.
Don't just take my word for it. Summit has won the endorsement of Christian leaders such as Eric Metaxas, James Dobson, Josh McDowell, and the late Charles Colson. Chuck called Summit the “gold standard” for training students in the Christian worldview. I certainly agree. That's why I always tell concerned parents to look into the summer Summit programs.
When faced with the choice of sending kids to a secular public university that charges $10,000 a year and a Christian university that charges $30,000 a year people will often pick the latter. They probably figure it’s worth an extra $20,000 a year to guard their children's souls. That kind of thinking is flawed for two reasons: First, many of these universities aren't really Christian anymore. Second, there are other remedies that cost less than $20,000 a year. In fact, you can send your college age kid to Summit for $1195. If you register before April 1, you can send them for $995.
Summit has a long track record of preparing young adults to stand strong against hostile worldviews and become courageous leaders at a time when our nation needs them desperately. That atmosphere has done nothing but strengthen me as I have fought against the UNC system over the last seven years. Please check out the website today. This could be the summer that changes your life trajectory, or that of a loved one, forever.
I'll be there all summer, not just resting but also teaching with my good friends Frank Turek, Scott Klusendorf, Sean McDowell, John Stonestreet, and, of course, Summit President Jeff Myers.
Of course, I'll also be doing a little rafting and climbing to the top of Pikes Peak. I hope to see you at the top. And thank you all so much for your prayers and support. They have helped me make it through another year and to end it with an incredible victory. We serve a mighty God, indeed. It is a lesson we must pass on to future generations.
Author’s Note: I will be speaking in Billings, Montana tonight (March 28) and again on Saturday (March 29). Please log on to http://www.bigskyworldview.org/ for event details.