Acton Notes - September/October 2012 Notes

Acton Sponsors Event on Human Flourishing at Regent

Acton Institute sponsored "To Fail or To Flourish: Does My Life and Work Really Matter?" at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va., on October 9th. Acton focused on the topic of human flourishing involving students, faculty, staff and administration.

The event kicked off with a discussion on issues of human flourishing between the theology and business faculties facilitated by Scott Crosby of the New City Commons Foundation and Dwight Gibson, Director of Program Outreach at Acton.

Gibson states, "This event had the goal of providing intense exposure to core ideas about flourishing and economics to the students and professors. Through Acton resources, we continue to facilitate understanding and discussion in the classroom after the event is concluded."

Dr. Corné Bekker, professor at the School of Business & Leadership, gave a lecture titled "Does the Bible Say Anything About Flourishing?" Dr. John Mulford, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and professor in the School of Business & Leadership, spoke on the topic "How Does My Work and Life Really Matter In the World Around Me?" Dr. Jordan Ballor, research fellow for Acton Institute gave a luncheon lecture titled "Does Economics Even Matter For Flourishing, or What Does It Mean To Be A Christian Bus Driver?"

The event concluded with a panel discussion summarizing the day's lectures and describing the implications for flourishing in the various disciplines. The panelists explored questions on flourishing in the arts, technology, as well as the barriers that keep people from flourishing.

Regent University is one of the nation's leading academic centers for Christian thought and action, with a multitude of graduate and undergraduate programs available worldwide.

Amways Doug DeVos on the 'Entrepreneurial Spirit'

At an Acton Institute event on Oct. 3 in Grand Rapids, Mich., Amway President Mr. Doug DeVos delivered a talk on 'Free Enterprise and the Entrepreneurial Spirit' to an audience of 200.

"Acton is a critical organization for helping us to be good stewards and good citizens of the blessings of liberty that have been showered upon us," declared DeVos. In a talk that stressed the importance of unleashing the free market, DeVos added, "It is essential to take the entrepreneurial spirit and the ideas of free enterprise and apply them to the knowledge that is the best way to help people."

Speaking of the direction of the country, he added, "I would say in the last four years, we've been on the wrong track and we need change."

Mr. Doug DeVos oversees daily operations of Amway and shares the Office of the Chief Executive with chairman Steve Van Andel. Since 1986, Mr. DeVos has spent his career building enthusiasm for the Amway business. His belief in its ability to foster entrepreneurs around the world is reflected in the company's record of sales growth during his time as president, since 2002, and has helped Amway grow into one of the world's most international enterprises.

Capsule of an Acton University Lecture: Solzhenitsyn

On June 13, 2012, in a lecture on Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn, Calvin College professor emeritus Ed Ericson cited Michael Novak's brilliant essay in response to Solzhenitsyn's Harvard Address in 1978. Novak, in responding to that address, notes that "the most serious seekers after truth come to unexpected and remarkable convergences."

Ericson taught a course at Acton University titled "The Unknown Solzhenitsyn." The title refers to the fact that half of Solzhenitsyn's writing has not been translated into English. "He more than anybody else delegitimized the Soviet experiment at home and discredited it abroad," declared Ericson. He also quoted William F. Buckley's words, "Before the end came, the fight between the Soviet leaders and Mr. and Mrs. Solzhenitsyn was an unfair fight. The Soviets never had a chance."

Dr. Ericson also delved into the disappointment of Western liberals when they found out that Solzhenitsyn "was not the liberal we would like him to be." Ericson helped to clarify and dismiss the criticisms heaped upon him by Western critics.

He reminded the audience that if they are only now initially being introduced to his writings they can start with One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Dr. Ericson is a former national fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Acton University lectures can be purchased individually on the Acton website for 99 cents.

PovertyCure – A Six-Part Series on DVD

PovertyCure will be launching a new, six-episode DVD series on poverty and development. Three years in the making, this high-energy, 152-minute documentary style series challenges conventional thinking and proposes a different starting point for the poverty discussion.

We often begin with a focus on "the poor" and how we can meet their needs. But PovertyCure begins instead with a vision of our brothers and sisters in the developing world in terms of their God-given creative capacity.

This shift changes everything. Instead of asking, "What causes poverty?" PovertyCure asks, "How do people in the developing world create prosperity for their families and their communities? How do we build partnerships that foster entrepreneurship and promote sustainable growth?" PovertyCure shifts the focus from aid to enterprise, from paternalism to partnership, from mere poverty alleviation to real human flourishing.

Join host Michael Matheson Miller on a journey around the world to explore the foundations of human flourishing, and learn how people are moving toward partnerships and pursuing entrepreneurial solutions to poverty rooted in the creative capacity of the human person made in the image of God.

Already slated for programming for universities and organizations in the U.S. and abroad, the series is perfect for schools, churches, and small groups of all shapes and sizes. For more information, visit

Also find PovertyCure on Facebook and join the 570,000 people (and counting) rallying around these ideas. As the lead partner of the PovertyCure initiative (comprised of 180+ international partners across 100+ countries), the Acton Institute is thrilled to put forth this important program as a helpful pivot point for those interested in aligning their passion for development with their appreciation for economics, entrepreneurship, and a Christian understanding of the human person as made in God's image with His divine creative spark.