On October 15, the Acton Institute welcomed over 600 guests to its Annual Dinner at the JW Marriot in downtown Grand Rapids. A crowd consisting of college presidents and faculty, Acton staff and other supporters of Acton came from across the United States as well as the United Kingdom to join friends of Acton for a celebration of the Institute’s 29th year.
Acton’s Annual Dinner is the largest single-day gathering the institute hosts. Every year, Acton staff and volunteers look forward to this time of fellowship with supporters from all over the world. The evening’s keynote speaker was Andrew Klavan. Klavan is the author of such internationally bestselling crime novels as True Crime, filmed by Clint Eastwood; Don’t Say a Word, filmed by and starring Michael Douglas; and Empire of Lies. Andrew is a contributing editor to City Journal, the magazine of the Manhattan Institute, and has written numerous articles for them, including a report from an embed with American troops in Afghanistan. His essays on politics, religion, movies and literature have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times and elsewhere. He also hosts The Andrew Klavan Show podcast for the Daily Wire.
During his address, Klavan shared the story of his journey from atheism to faith in Jesus Christ and laid out his views on how to reach out to a culture that has largely abandoned not only Biblical truth but the very idea of truth itself. “Our culture is in the grip of increasingly bizarre delusions,” said Klavan. “If there is no ultimate truth, there can be no truth at all. If there is no ultimate good, there can be no good at all…This materialistic outlook is so pervasive now that it affects all of us.” So how can we speak truth into a culture dominated by progressive political correctness, where the claim that there is no ultimate truth reigns? To reunite reason and faith and reignite the spirit of the West, “we must enter the marketplace, the classroom, the theater and the tavern,” Klavan proposed. We must “ask questions and tell stories, and as for the consequences, like Socrates and Jesus, we’re going to have to take our chances.”
Acton’s president and co-founder, Rev. Robert Sirico, gave closing remarks addressing resurgent socialism in America and how we can reclaim the culture. “Our opponents are not merely our ideological enemies, but many of them are people really searching for justice, meaning and purpose in the world!” reminded Sirico. “We have an opportunity to propose ideas of coherent economics…and an occasion to share an anthropological underpinning of what makes for human civilization.”
The Acton Institute exists to do just that and now more than ever this mission is so critical. Needed now is an understanding of who we are, why we are in the world and “why we must build a society that is worthy of men and women made in the image and the likeness of the almighty God.” All speeches from the dinner are available online at Acton.org.