Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright always enjoys his interaction with Harvard University students. “This is a place to try things out and get some intelligent feedback,” he said, near the end of his third appearance on campus within ten years.
Bishop Wright was a visiting professor nine years ago and returned for a Harvard-sponsored lecture series two years ago. At that time, Chris Nichols, InterVarsity’s regional director for New England, booked Bishop Wright for this return engagement in 2008. Chris had first gotten to know Bishop Wright several decades ago when he took a class from him at Regent College in Vancouver, B.C.
The lecture series was held for three nights in November. Bishop Wright spoke on the theme “Reconstructing Hope – The Search for the Sustainable Good.” The lectures were loosely based on Wright’s most recent book, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church.
Chris Nichols was pleased that Bishop Wright’s lectures engaged both believers and non-believers. “I’ve heard from the Christian students that they found it very energizing,” Chris said. “He has an ability to make a place for people who are feeling excluded. The way he engaged the cynics, who we think are so far away, has made me think we’re really not that far away. We’re just not speaking to them.”
Students who attended the lectures were offered the opportunity to sign up for discussion groups. Groups are forming for both undergraduate and graduate students. InterVarsity has three undergraduate chapters and five graduate chapters at Harvard.
“All the Chinese students in my I-GIG (investigative Bible study) attended the Wright lectures,” reported Jeff Barneson, another InterVarsity staff member. “One of the Chinese students decided to become a follower of Jesus during our Thanksgiving Getaway.”
Those who are interested in hearing Bishop Wright’s lectures can find them in MP3 format at the Harvard Graduate School Christian Fellowship website. Bishop Wright will be back in the U.S. at the invitation of InterVarsity in a few weeks to speak at Following Christ 2008 in Chicago. “It’s been ten years since my last Following Christ conference appearance,” he said. “I’m eager to do it again.”
InterVarsity’s Following Christ 2008 conference will be held December 27-31 at the Marriott Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago.