We are, of course, moving to Houston for the chance to serve with Robert Sloan and see the “ten pillars” move from idea to . . . concrete reality. There will be a time, around June 25, where I take these ideas with the seriousness they deserve, but this is not that day. Today I will convince you that the Ten Pillars as adopted by Houston Baptist could only take place in Houston, Texas.
I say this with no prejudice as a son of West Virginia, educated in New York, and a resident of California. I say it, because it is true.
Here are the Ten Pillars and why they could only be implemented in Houston, Texas.
A classical education requires the proper environment. One might assume that this would be an old city, but one would be wrong. In an old city, the classics are a note hit once too often. Reading Plato in Oxford is like wearing white in a snow storm.
Houston is a dynamic and modern city where the classics add a flavor otherwise missing.
Why not other bustling towns? Chicago, sadly, is the Houston of the nineteenth century. Los Angeles is the Houston of the twentieth. Houston is the Houston of the twenty-first century.
To have national influence, a region must understand what it is to be a nation. Few places in the US have experienced nationhood and Houston is one of those places.
Hawaii was a nation, but nobody can study long in Hawaii.
Why Houston in all of Texas? Houston alone is named for Sam Houston: hero of independence, but also a man that brought a nation into a greater nation and refused the lure of secession. Austin is merely Berkeley to the East. Dallas is a football team in search of a city. Houston is a polis.
Many places will claim Christian graduate education, but only Houston will be able to fully embrace it. First, such education requires: Christians. Most regions of the country are growing short on this commodity, but there is a surplus to be harvested in Texas.
Come to Texas where Christianity is still cool.
Everyone serious about education and the Faith should live in Houston. Why?
It is the weather.
I am leaving Southern California for Houston for the weather. In Southern California, the chill sea breeze blows too often for our difficult times. In Houston, especially in the summer, one faces the bloodless martyrdom of weather. Having learned that humidity is not sweat, but the embrace of Providence, a man in Houston is ready for anything.
If you can go to Shakespeare in the park in Houston in August and enjoy it, then defeating the New Atheism is nothing.
Every Christian college claims great faculty, but only Houston Baptist University can claim excellent faculty in Houston.
Some Christian colleges are too rural to be taken seriously in an urban world. Some are stuck in suburbs cut off from diversity. Others are in cities that were great when Theodore Roosevelt was president. Only Houston colleges offer the chance to be in Houston.
We embrace our destiny.
Houston Baptist sits at the intersection of opera and NASA. With world class arts and as the go to city for problems in space, only Houston can renew the West with the best of the old.
Houston has problems, of course, but those problems are opportunity. Not for the student the perfect place with no problems . . . he or she needs the challenge of the frontier.
Houston is imperfect enough to provide scope for the imagination, but so beautiful that it can be Minas Tirith in Texas.
Is there any city other than Houston that combines the blazing sun of Athens with the religious fervor of Jerusalem?
Is there any city where churches and museums are equally large?
I will leave it to civic boosters to point to the world class arts community already in Houston. It is there and you should experience it in full air conditioning.
The point here is that we can expand in Texas, because there is room and liberty to expand. California has the space, but has made land too expensive. Massachusetts has no room to grow cramped twixt Rhode Island and New York. Only Texas could hold the opera of Italy, the music of Austria, and the history of England in one county. Only Texas could embrace opera and then make it grand and old.
All roads may lead to Rome, but all airlines lead to Houston. If you want to walk, go to Italy, if you want to fly intellectually move to Houston.
The next level is before us and you can join before it is too late. Soon we will not need you and Houston Baptist will be the obvious choice . . . but now you can be on the cutting edge . . . and join the tomorrow today.
You must move to Houston.