English L'Abri

Lecture Schedule


Friday Night Lectures at English L'Abri

Spring 2017
The Manor House, Greatham

Dessert, Tea & Coffee 7:30 p.m.
Lecture 8:00 p.m.


20th    Parenting: When the Wardrobe Opens to the Laundry Pile Instead of Narnia
Bringing up small children is a joy, but very hard work. How on earth do you get them to do what they ought to do? This lecture will discuss the basics of what a child needs in order to flourish and what parents need in order to survive.

Tom Smiley, Psychologist

27th     Behind the Scenes: The Life and Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers
Dorothy L. Sayers was a versatile and controversial novelist, dramatist, amateur theologian, literary translator and Christian apologist who, in the face of great challenges, embraced life with zest and courage. Considered ‘one of the great English letter writers’ by C.S. Lewis and many others, this lecture will examine her life and writings through her letters.

Dawn Merz, L’Abri Worker


3rd      The Challenges of Nihilism
The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is often associated with nihilism, the belief that there is no meaning in life. This lecture will discuss the history of thought behind nihilism and will conclude by trying to formulate a Christian response to its effects.

Edith Reitsema, L’Abri Worker

10th     Of Errors, Manuscripts, and the Nature of Copying a Text: The Textual Criticism of the New Testament
Most modern English Bibles contain the occasional footnote indicating that not all old documents agree on the exact wording of the text. Reactions to the existence of textual variation have varied from celebrating this diversity to total denial of it. This lecture will look at the scale of New Testament textual variation, its nature, and how to get to the original wording as closely as possible.

Dr. Dirk Jongkind, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge

17th     Parables in Architecture: The Challenge of Christopher Alexander
Against the conceptual abstraction of much of his profession, architect Christopher Alexander conjures a world richly furnished with patterns and artefacts, familiar items that are neither accidental nor arbitrary to his design. This lecture will explore how, for Alexander, objects like ‘the six-foot balcony’ and ‘the marriage bed’ bear the poetic significance of mustard seeds, pearls, coins, and fig trees.

Phil Pawlett-Jackson, Architect

24th     Understanding the Times: From Communalism to Hyper-individualism
Two hundred years ago, it would have been almost inconceivable for people to think of themselves as autonomous individuals. Today, our tax and legal systems assume the individual as the basis of society. What are the outworkings and consequences of this transition for us as a society? This lecture will explore what we have we lost in this transition, what have we gained, and where it might lead.

Marsh Moyle


3rd      Bodies with Meaning: Christians and Sex in the First Century and the Twenty-First
The historic Christian understanding of sexuality is often viewed in our day as a vestige of outdated religion and a limitation of human freedom. This lecture will look at the first-century world where Christianity was birthed and consider the radical nature of the ‘traditional’ view for that time and for ours.

Phillip Johnston, L’Abri Worker

10th     How Technology Behaves (Part 1)
Many today feel uncertain about how to respond to a changing technological landscape. If neither technophobia nor technophoria are adequate responses, can we chart a middle way? This lecture will outline a few rules for what technology is, how it behaves, what we should do about it, and propose a response that avoids the double dangers of fear and utopianism.

Andy Patton, L’Abri Worker

17th     Wisdom in the Face of Suffering: Exploring the Apologetics of Job and The Tree of Life
Modern apologetics tends to explain the problem of pain in terms of theodicy arguments, attempting to defend the claim that God is both good and powerful in the face of suffering. This lecture will explore how the book of Job and Terrence Malick’s 2011 film The Tree of Life take a different perspective rooted in an older wisdom tradition.

Jim Paul, L’Abri Worker

24th     Spurgeon: His Life and Legacy
During his 41 years as a Christian pastor and preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon published 150 books, preached regularly to congregations of six thousand, and launched almost 70 charitable causes, many of which still exist today. His impact was so great that over a century after his death he is still read by millions on every continent. This lecture will serve as an introduction to his life and legacy.

Clive Anderson, The Butts Church, Alton

31st     Herman Dooyeweerd: A Christian Philosopher
The Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd was perhaps the most brilliant and insightful Christian thinker of the previous century. The influence of his critique of modernity and his cosmonomic philosophy can be seen around the world not only in philosophy but in politics, law, art, theology and culture. This lecture will introduce Dooyeweerd, his context, and his thought, and reflect on his importance for our time.

Josué Reichow, L’Abri Worker