At the Root of Wheaton

A few weeks ago Amy and I felt a call, so we ventured outwards, into the city, to the blighted neighborhood called Beverly Hills.

We, in fact, drove over the hill from the Valley to get to the Hills where Wheaton Alumni were gathering for one of their occasional club meetings. The pastor of Beverly Hills Presbyterian graciously opened the doors of his church for our little gathering. He and his wife are also, apparently, Wheaton alums. We both knew the secret handshake created by Jonathan Blanchard and passed down generation to generation. They at the door recognized us as members of this not-so-secret society and allowed us entry where we were greeted by fellow alums and cocktail shrimps.

Jerry Root was the featured speaker.

I never had Jerry Root for a class. Amy did. In fact he was her advisor, and she was, in both their words, his “favorite student”. Though, maybe he says that to all his cute, singer/songwriter students. Indeed, my friend Peter had him while at Biola and Root was one of his favorite professors.

One more important thing to note. In September of 2007, as the story goes, I made my way to Wheaton for my 10 year reunion. Before that time I had been in various conversation with Amy. The talking had fallen into a decided lull by that summer before, and when I heard she was going to be in Wheaton at the same time as me I wasn’t sure whether to mention my own travel plans.

I did mention them. On my first day there we met up at Wheaton, in front of Blanchard Hall. We walked around campus, she being my companion to revisiting old haunts. Toward the end of the day she mentioned wanting to say hi to Dr. Root. I said, “okay!” We waited and talked outside his class until it was over in the late evening. Then went inside. They said hi, she introduced me to him, and we talked some more, moving on to his office after a bit. He had walked to class, and it was getting pretty late, so I offered to drive him back. He said sure thing, more chance to talk.

We piled into my rental car. I drove the few miles to his house. He invited us in.

Then he offered us something to drink.

While we talked I shared some Scotch with Dr. Root in his living room. Amy had mead. Didn’t like it over much. Her at least. I liked mine much.

Amy flew back home the next day. It was a nice afternoon of hanging out, a resurgence of a friendship.

I walked by Jerry Root later that week while he was talking to someone else. I forget the exact words but he said he enjoyed meeting me and hoped to see me at the wedding. Our wedding. Amy and my wedding.

That was a bit awkward. I chuckled kindly and moved along.

What I learned later was that he had included Amy on his list of people he prayed for everyday, and among the things he prayed for? That she would find a great husband.

So, I never had Jerry Root but in a way, without knowing my name, he had been praying for me for a long while too. And he was the first to see the future of Amy and me.

That’s worth enduring the struggles of Beverly Hills for. He talked. We chatted. Had a nice evening.

This was a long lead in to what I wanted to mention:

His lecture is now posted online:

Dr. Jerry Root, Assistant Professor of Evangelism/Associate Director of the Institute of Strategic Evangelism, Billy Graham Center

Spiritual Maturity and the Good News

In Romans 1 the Apostle Paul said the Gospel is “the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.” Throughout Church history, Christians have understood that the Gospel allows believers to redefine who they are in Christ. Christian maturity is growing in grace in a way that leads to the discovery of God’s purposes and calling in the believer’s life. Dr. Root will explore some features relative to how the Gospel transforms and redefines us by the love of God. By considering this, we can discover God’s intention for our lives—to use each of us “for Christ and His Kingdom.”

Have a listen to Jerry Root in this mp3 download.

Amy and Jerry Root

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