From thursday until yesterday I was at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, speaking at their annual Christian Pre-Law Conference. I was invited to participate in this event by Prof. Michael P. Schutt, who teaches at the School of Law. I was asked to speak on two topics. First, on friday morning, I spoke to the pre-law advisors on the subject of liberalism and its alternatives. The following morning I addressed the undergraduate students on the task of the christian scholar. I was pleased that my remarks were well received by both groups.
The trip got off to something of an inauspicious start. On thursday morning I woke up with a cold. Travelling was the last thing I was wanting to do at that point. I taught my two classes as usual. An Airways Transit van picked me up at Redeemer and ferried me to Pearson Airport in Toronto. As I was getting off the van, I somehow managed to leave my gloves behind. Because of bad weather in Washington, DC, my plane was late leaving Pearson, and my second plane to Norfolk, Virginia, was late leaving Dulles Airport in Washington. I didn't get into Norfolk until well after midnight. I finally got to bed shortly after 2 am. That left me about four and a half hours to sleep. At 9.15 I had to be alert enough to speak to an audience. I did indeed manage to be up in time, but as I was dressing I discovered I had neglected to pack any socks! What else could go wrong? Fortunately, nothing else did.
Regent University School of Law
During my stay, I was billeted at the Founders Inn and Conference Center, a quite nice hotel on the Regent campus boasting comfortable rooms and excellent food. I was favourably impressed with the professional quality of the hospitality, as well as with the friendliness of the staff.
Although Regent was founded by the famed television evangelist, Pat Robertson, I didn't sense that his presence is an overwhelming one. I did not hear his name mentioned once, and I saw only an oil portrait of him at the Founders Inn. There doesn't appear to be a cult of personality, if my two-and-a-half days there were any indication. Many of the people present came from a cluster of christian universities in the American south, most of which were new to me.
During my stay, I had the opportunity to visit close relatives on the paternal side who live in town. It seems they are not the only Cypriots who have chosen to live in the Virginia area. Virginia Beach's proximity to the ocean undoubtedly reminds them of such cities in Cyprus as Famagusta and Limassol. That is certainly the case with my uncle, aunt and cousins who live there.
Virginia Beach is part of the so-called bible belt. The phone directory's yellow pages are filled with pages and pages of churches, most of which are Southern Baptist, Pentecostal and various independent baptistic congregations. I understand that a municipal bylaw prohibits profanity, the violation of which will incur a fine, if overheard. (I don't know exactly which words are proscribed. Perhaps they are listed in the text of the bylaw itself.)
The Norfolk Airport is much larger than I had imagined it would be. I was told that there is a considerable military presence in Norfolk and that the airport is one of the major transit point for US military personnel.
There was no snow in Virginia Beach, although it was definitely on the cold side. Needless to say, there is plenty of snow here in Hamilton. In fact, we are getting hit with a major storm as I write. I may or may not be teaching tomorrow.