My wife and I have taken to watching the TNT series Leverage, starring Timothy Hutton and an assorted cast of talented folks. Each episode has the feel of a classic “heist” flick, but with good guys being helped instead of bad guys. Since our schedules are so erratic, we record it on our DVR and watch it whenever we have a spare opportunity, which also helpfully affords us the power of the “fast forward” button over commercials and other items.
Well, we were watching the last two episodes of the season last night (originally airing 2/17 & 2/24) when I slammed on the pause button. “What?” asks a curious family.
“That’s Ambassador College!” replied a surprised Dad. I ran downstairs to get an old “Envoy” we had inherited from someone and, sure enough, the grounds and buildings around the actors as they walked up some stairs were unmistakable. It was the Pasadena campus. Then, as they entered a building, I figured it would move to some set piece in a studio. Nope. “I think that’s Ambassador Hall!” — and it was: it was the interior of the old Hulett C. Merritt home, looking as gorgeous as ever.
Then we started to wonder: what other scenes in these episodes were filmed on the Ambassador College grounds? I suspect that the “art gallery” in the show was one of the AC buildings, and the surroundings during the scene by the fountain — while not the “swan” fountain — were certainly familiar from pictures.
I did not go to Ambassador College (I went to God’s other college, Texas A & M University), so I can’t speak with first-hand familiarity. However, one of our kind elders here in the area, as well as his wife, worked on the campus for decades, so we plan on sitting one or both of them down in front of our TV at the soonest opportunity and have them check it out and give us a tour. 🙂
(It isn’t the first time we’ve recognized the campus on TV or in a film. Way back when we first viewed Tom Hanks’ movie That Thing You Do, we recognized a certain auditorium straight away.)
While it felt neat seeing many of those spots, I must say that I am happy that those we have running the show in Charlotte aren’t spending a lot of money in trying to rebuild such an empire at this time. They exhibit an attention to the value of “Quality” as I pray they would, but they aren’t caught up in obtaining or rebuilding the trappings of the past merely for the sake of having such trappings (even under other pretenses). Their priorities are clear: preach the gospel, warn the world, feed the flock — and I believe their stewardship of the tithes and offerings they have received demonstrate clearly that God’s goals are their goals. Opportunities to build here and there will likely continue present themselves (as the incredible new studio opportunity did) and I pray that Mr. Meredith and those who advise him will have the wisdom that will be needed to decide when to grab such opportunities and when to let them simmer. The needs of the gospel are our foremost driver, and sometimes the style of the molding you choose for the doorways is impacted by those needs while sometimes it is not, and I’m thankful for the discernment displayed by those in Charlotte when such moments of decision come up.
Still, it was great to see the campus. In high definition, to boot!