Acton Notes - July/August 2013 Notes

P.J. O'Rourke Headlines Upcoming Acton Annual Dinner

Best-selling author and leading political satirist P.J. O'Rourke will deliver the keynote address during Acton's 23rd Annual Dinner on October 24 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

With more than 1 million words of trenchant journalism under his byline and more citations in The Penguin Dictionary of Humorous Quotations than any living writer, O'Rourke has established himself as America's premier political satirist. He is the best-selling author of 15 books and both TIME and the Wall Street Journal have labeled O'Rourke "the funniest writer in America." His best-selling books include Parliament of Whores, Give War a Chance, Eat the Rich, The CEO of the Sofa, Peace Kills and On the Wealth of Nations.

Covering current events, O'Rourke combines the skill and discipline of an investigative reporter with a comedian's sense of the absurd and the stupid. Known as a hard-bitten, cigar-smoking conservative, he, in fact, bashes all political persuasions. As he puts it, "money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."

In addition to O'Rourke, Rev. Robert Sirico and Pastor Christopher Brooks will offer remarks at the Annual Dinner. Brooks is senior pastor of Evangel Ministries and Campus Dean at Moody Theological Seminary, Michigan. Brooks hosts the Equipped for Life radio broadcast which airs daily on Salem Communications-Detroit Affiliate. In 2013, Brooks taught a course at Acton University titled "Church, City, and Urban Renewal."

Last year over 700 people attended Acton's Annual Dinner to hear Eric Metaxas's remarks that defended and championed religious liberty.

For more information about the dinner, please contact Teresa Bailey at 616.454.3080 or

Profile of Acton University Attendees: James and Julie White

James White and his wife Julie live in Hope Mills, North Carolina. The two have differing backgrounds motivating their Acton University attendance; James is senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Hope Mills, and Julie works for Liberty University Online.

Regarding his pastoral role, Pastor White looks to increase his effectiveness in order "to educate, equip, and motivate his church." He hopes that in turn he and his congregation can better engage the local community. His church in Hope Mills prides itself on being a church "that produces assets for the kingdom and glory of God... rather than merely another congregation consuming its fruit."

Julie has a degree in International Business and hopes to incorporate Acton University's wisdom into her work at Liberty University Online. Furthermore, she has long-term plans to help humans flourish, especially in developing countries. She does not wish to limit herself to a particular country in this effort. As she says, "God is calling me to the international level to invest in human beings for the glory of God." Both adamantly agree with AU's major theme; that our faith is the foundation for our whole way of life and freedom requires virtue to thrive.

Profile of an Acton University Attendee: Jeremy Keene

Jeremy Keene hails from Dallas, Texas. Jeremy was attracted to Acton University partly on account of his involvement with part-time Christian ministry. AU's intersection of economics with religion, presented in ecumenical form, gave Mr. Keene a solid base of understanding for the importance of his ministry. For the future, he has an interest in politics, international communication, and civil service. Through these areas, Mr. Keene says he will "preserve liberty, while ministering to brothers and sisters in the Lord." Wisdom he gained at AU has informed him of the true significance of this mission. Furthermore, he has a better grasp of what obstacles are currently obstructing liberty in our nation, and how to go about removing them.

Acton Connects with Free Enterprise Leadership Challenge

Ray Nothstine, Acton's managing editor of Religion & Liberty, spoke to over 50 high school students who participated in the Free Enterprise Leadership Challenge on the campus of Hillsdale College on July 15. FELC is a program of the Jesse Helms Institute in Wingate, North Carolina.

The mission of the program is "to create the principled leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow." FELC is steeped in free-market principles and promotes entrepreneurial skills through engaging and interactive business practices.

Nothstine spoke to the students about the principles of the American Founding and introduced the students to the Acton Institute, its ideas, and programs. "The students asked tough questions and were very engaged. They were sharper than many adult groups I have spoken to and they had a strong sense of what is not just going on in this country but events around the world too," said Nothstine.

Acton Embraces ArtPrize

The Acton Building will be a display venue for the highly popular ArtPrize competition located in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich. The 19-day public competition and celebration of art from all over the world takes place from September 18 – October 6. With $560,000 in prizes for winning entries, ArtPrize is the largest art competition in the world. A $200,000 prize is given to the artist who receives the most votes. Last year ArtPrize attracted 400,000 visitors to Grand Rapids. In 2011, it's estimated that ArtPrize brought over $15 million to the greater Grand Rapids area.

ArtPrize promotes entrepreneurial skills and reflects human flourishing, making it an excellent opportunity for Acton to be involved and showcase its new building to the thousands of visitors in Grand Rapids. The Acton Building features a 2011 winning mural by Tracy Van Duinen on the exterior (East) wall. Acton's executive director Kris Mauren declared, "As an organization, we've wanted to be a participant in ArtPrize for a number of years. Thanks to the generous support from our donors, we are now able to take advantage of this opportunity and show that we are fully invested in this community in every sense of the word."

Acton will feature the art work of Mary E. Anderson, Mic Carlson, Daniel Jacob, Phil Jensen, and Jenny Lynn. The art on display will include sculpture, textiles, and oil paintings.

ArtPrize has come to be a much-anticipated event for the Grand Rapids community. It highlights the God-given creativity of the artists, the search for beauty and truth in that creativity, the joy of a community coming together, and an economic boost for businesses of every size in the area. "I've witnessed the popularity of ArtPrize explode in the Grand Rapids community over the years," says Mauren.