• Thank you for having me with you this morning. It really is an honor and gift.
  • Since receiving an invitation to be with you today, I have wondered what to do…
    • My work at ACU-Dallas focuses on vocational formation and so maybe I could do something “vocation-ish” and talk about work and meaning and faith and formation. But I was here in Abilene on Monday with all the kind library folks and I wouldn’t want them to have to sit through my shpeel twice in one week – once is typically enough.
    • And then I thought, “Well, most of my life has been spent preaching. Perhaps I could dust off the old sermon bicycle and see if I still have the balance and dexterity to preach.” But, I haven’t preached since last December and few things are more insufferable than a preacher with pent-up preaching energy unloading every sermon he hasn’t been able to preach in one shot.
    • And then I thought, “Well, we’re coming off a season of prayer and reflection as a university. Perhaps I could say something about that.” But…full disclosure…prayer is not something that has always come easily for me. Prayer has taken the form primarily of silence for me and while the idea of making us sit in silence for an hour would make Randy Harris very proud, I still have a pretty massive need to be liked and you’re a lot of people who potentially wouldn’t like me.


Ben Ries is associate dean for vocational formation at ACU Dallas and director of ACU’s Center for Vocational Formation.
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