It is a custom in Japanese universities for retiring professors to give a “last lecture,” which is really a lecture open to the public. I had the honor of doing that at Seinan Gakuin University on July 15, 2004.
The lecture began at 5 p.m. and was for 90 minutes, including questions and answers. My topic was “Seeking a Balanced Theology.” In my theology classes through the years I had emphasized balance. In Japanese, the word/name “Seat” and the word “sheet” sound almost the same, so students would refer to me at times as “balance sheet,” an English term that they knew.
There were, as I remember it, a roomful, maybe around 200 people, who kindly attended my lecture: current students and faculty and staff members as well as a number of former students, some of whom traveled at some distance to be there.
Although this was a very busy time–we were scheduled to leave Japan just 16 days later, it was a gratifying experience and still (nearly 13 years later as I write this) I have good memories of that event.
Here is the cover for the program distributed to those who attended that “last lecture”: