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Minutes with Alan

A Faith, and a Future, Written in Blackstone

One of the most impressive young persons I encountered at the Blackstone Legal Fellowship this year wasn’t at the Blackstone Legal Fellowship this year.

He wasn’t here last year, either, though he wanted to be. Rather he was one of the dozens of outstanding Christian law students from around the world who applied for the 2008 session and, in the end, were reluctantly turned away in favor of someone else.

As many of you know, Blackstone is an intensive, summer-long ADF training program for Christian law school students, offering them in-depth study of the U.S. Constitution, spiritual preparation for the challenges of an often-hostile legal environment, and hands-on legal experience in our offices and with allies all over the world.

It’s an incredible opportunity – and a terrible thing to turn any of these would-be interns away – to have to tell students who are so hungry for what we have to teach them that money and space are just not available in sufficient amounts to expand the new class by even one more person.

As I said, the young man who impressed me was one of those we had to turn away. I never met him, and he didn’t apply again for this year’s session. He could have chosen to be bitter. But instead, he told someone else … a friend whose grades were a little better, and who shared his dream of making a vibrant difference in the courtrooms and legal chambers of our country.

That friend, in turn, took the suggestion and applied, was accepted, and over dinner one evening, told me about the young man who pointed him in the Blackstone direction.

During the first two weeks of each session, I meet individually with every student and share a breakfast, lunch, or dinner table with a different group of them each day (see above). It’s more than a little exhaustive, keeping up with a hundred-plus young people in their 20s, but deeply rewarding, too.

For while some may believe that America’s best years are behind her, clearly no one’s told that to the ADF Blackstone interns. I see the fire of excitement in their eyes, as they learn rich truths about our Constitution and the men who wrote it … as they begin to grasp what a tangible, lasting difference they themselves can make in this world … as they come to understand the depths of character they will have to cultivate if they’re really going to make that difference.

I am thankful for a young man who never benefited from Blackstone – but who is cultivating that character, anyway. I am thankful for his friend, who took his advice, attended this session, and will soon be using what he learned to turn his corner of the world upside down with the Truth, for the good of our legal system and the glory of God. Soli Deo Gloria.

John 15:5 Apart from Christ, we can do nothing

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