October 21, 2021


This photo was taken at an Orlando area coffee shop in the 1990s when Heather and I were visiting with Patrick.  These friends of his were also studying theology at Reformed Theological Seminary there. It was a lively conversation about books and classes and faith—over steaming cups of coffee.  Always one of my very favorite ways to “spend time.”

For several years before that, I had enjoyed the preaching and teaching of R. C. Sproul who still did some teaching at RTS and also had become a devoted subscriber to Ken Myers’ Mars Hill Audio Journal. Myers  especially was a brilliant interviewer and through his monthly tapes I discovered many fascinating authors. Whenever I visited the seminary campus, I spent many happy hours browsing in the campus bookstore and often bought books Patrick recommended. One of those books that remains a favorite of mine is Miroslav Volf’s Exclusion and Embrace.

After our morning conversation at this coffee shop, I remember one of the students Glenn Lucke commenting that he was pleasantly surprised that Patrick’s mom was actually interested in then same topics they were.  Some of these people I probably only saw once or twice after this morning together.  But the stories of several of them had ongoing connections.  

Leigh Anne and Dustin Salter, the married couple at the end of the table, remained dear friends. They had graduated from college at Livingston State in Alabama, where we spent one summer when Heather was one year old. Tom was invited to teach history in summer school there as we transitioned from Mississippi State to the University of South Carolina.  They were shocked to learn that! When they were parents of three young children and doing campus ministry in the Greenville, South Carolina area, Dustin was injured in a bike accident.  After several months in a coma, he died.  With the love and support of their church family in Fort Worth, Texas, Leigh Anne has raised their two wonderful and talented sons and daughter, taught elementary school, and lives a rich life even without her beloved Dustin.

Heather sojourned in Charlottesville for several years where she worked for Ken Myers and later at the university for James Davison Hunter. There she again encountered Glenn, who got his doctorate at UVA.

My life has repeatedly been enriched by books, teachings, and open dialogue with younger people.  What a grace conversation is!

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