Southborough L'Abri

Lecture Schedule



For access to the most current lectures from the Southborough branch, simply click the lecture's title to be directed to an audio file of the lecture or subscribe to the L'Abri Southborough podcast on iTunes.
These and many other lectures from L'Abri branches around the world are available at the L'Abri Ideas Library.

If you would like to make a contribution for the lectures, please see our PayPal link.


- Autumn Term 2018 - 
All lectures begin at 8:00pm 
and are held at L'Abri
49 Lynbrook Road
Southborough, MA 01772

Join us for tea and treats at 7:45


Sept 14  Between the Sound and the Sense: Reading the Bible to Find the Trinity

In this talk we will look at how the doctrine of the Trinity arises not from leaving the biblical witness aside (as it has been accused of or assumed to) but instead from understanding the bible as a narrative whole whose center is the sending of the Son and Spirit. 

~Joshua Chestnut


Sept 21 Caring for Creation Part I. Friends, Foes or Food: What is the nature of our relationship to Animals?

This lecture begins a series on Creation Care (continued by Anna Friedrich, Oct 26). The human relationship to animals is a broad topic that includes our treatment of wild animals, companion animals (pets) and farmed animals. Each of these areas has long standing controversies connected with it. This lecture will focus primarily on wild animals. We will explore the nuanced perspective that the Bible brings to an often polarized conversation.

~Ben Keyes


Sept 28  Life in the Spirit in our Age of Authenticity  

If the spirit of our age is to be true to oneself over all others, what might the work of the Holy Spirit look like?  In this lecture we will consider some patterns of chaos in our day as the backdrop to reconsidering the unexpected work of the Holy Spirit.

~Joshua Chestnut


Oct 5  Double Listening

To meet someone who listens well to others and to God is both rare and rewarding.  But there is a way to become that person – someone who practices what John Stott called double listening.

~David Friedrich


Oct 12 Can Irony and Humor be Persuasive for Christian Belief?

The Christian diagnosis for our situation is that we are each a “glorious ruin”. That human condition is itself bound up in profound ironies. As we look at the efforts of Biblical figures to persuade people to believe the Gospel, we can learn from their use of irony as they did it.

Theme weekend- October 19th & 20th
Created to Make a Difference: Redeeming Human Agency in God’s World

Friday, Oct 19                  
8:00 PM - Creational Dominion and its Fallen Distortions 

Humans were created by God to have agency in the world. To live with true dominion, as God designed it, is still an essential part of human thriving and yet with the Fall this dominion has become corrupted in a myriad of ways. What is true dominion? What are some of the universal ways in which it has been distorted?

~Ben Keyes

Saturday, Oct 20
9:30 AM
The Vanishing American Adult: A Field Report on the Crisis of Agency Today        

~Joshua Chestnut

"Self- Love, Self-Help, Self-Control?: Thinking About Dominion from the Inside-Out"

If a biblical understanding of human dominion involves exercising care and responsibility for God's creation, how might we exercise dominion over our inner worlds--our thoughts and feelings?  What might self-control have to do with this endeavor?  We will consider how the Holy Spirit's work of  're-humanizing' us empowers us to do the work of dominion from the inside-out.
~Sarah Chestnut

12:30 Lunch

1:30-3:30 PM - Film showing and Discussion  Film: Making Peace with Creation
~Dave Friedrich

*If you would like to join us for the day on Saturday, please email us your reservation NO LATER THAN Thursday, Oct 4th to The seminar is free, although there is a suggested donation of $5.00 to offset the cost of lunch on Saturday.

*The Saturday portion of this seminar is being given in conjunction with our lecture on Friday evening, Oct 19th- Attendance both days is not required.

*Limited overnight accommodations may be available at L'Abri. Please email if you would like to add your name to the waiting list for overnight accommodations, and you will be notified if/when space becomes available.


Oct 26  Caring for Creation Part II.  The Glory of the Small: What do butterflies have to do with following Jesus?

Butterflies and moths are among the most intriguing insects of our ecosystems. From their physical transformations to their epic migrations, these fragile little things continue to surprise and challenge us. In this lecture, we will dip our toes into the deep waters of Lepidoptera, and wonder together about how these small creatures play a part in God’s big story.

~Anna Friedrich


Nov 2 The Changing Relationship of Young People to Work

From the birth of our nation, the relationship of young people to work has varied according to geography, gender, ethnicity, class, race and religion. But it is a fair to say that in general, young people (children and teenagers) used to be economic assets to their families. For many, young peoples’ work was (and in some cases still is) necessary for family survival. Today, many couples consider children a “luxury” they cannot afford. We will consider some of the consequences of “modern childhood” that emerged with the middle class in the 19th century – a childhood free from labor, dedicated to age-graded schooling and separated from casual (non-professional) relationships with adults.

~Mardi Keyes


Nov 9  The Way of Worship after Wayward Worship:  Worship from the Perspective of Ezra

~Dr. Donna Petter



- Summer Term 2018 - 
(all lectures are given by L'Abri workers unless otherwise noted)

May 18   Gratitude Part III: Toward an Apologetic of Thankfulness
Ben Keyes
Many non-religious Americans view gratitude as an important virtue to cultivate in life. In one sense this seems to be a point of connection with the Christian faith, and yet there are key differences between contemporary and biblical notions of thankfulness. This talk will explore just how common is the common ground of gratitude. How is it that Christians might help direct the gratitude of our culture towards the true giver of all gifts?


May 25   Reflections on Women and Sexual Assault in the Era of #MeToo
Mary Frances Giles and
Dr. Janese Free Newell (Assistant Professor of Sociology/Criminology, Emmanuel College, Boston, MA)
Over the course of the past year, the #metoo movement has catapulted sexual harassment and assault, primarily against women, to the forefront of our cultural awareness. There appears to be a shift occurring in our collective American consciousness. Acts of sexual harassment and assault that have been historically overlooked are now being publicly discussed and confronted - from the covers of newspapers to our daily Facebook feeds. This lecture will explore the issues and questions brought forth by this cultural moment from theological, criminological, and sociological perspectives.


June 1  Poetry and the Language of Loss
Anna Friedrich
All of us know loss of some sort, whether it's the loss of a friendship, the loss of a season of life, or the more dreaded loss of love, of faith, and finally the loss that death brings. Those who have walked the darker valleys of loss often speak of a lack of resources in our day - where are the cultural practices that help us grieve? Can we affirm God's sovereignty and human grief? Many poets have wisdom to share here. The unique expression of poetry can be a healing place that invites and makes room for the complicated experience of grief. Together in this lecture, we will look at a handful of poets who give voice to, challenge, and wrestle with the reality of loss.


June 8  Beneath and Beyond the Sun: A Brief History of The Good Life
Dave Friedrich
In his book, A Secular Age, philosopher Charles Taylor claims that, for millennia, very few people could imagine the good life apart from a transcendent reality. Now many people can. How did this happen? What challenges and opportunities does this bring? And just where is the good life to be found?



Summer Seminar: "A Flash of Eternity: Happiness, Joy and the Good Life"
June 15-16

Friday June 15, 8:00pm   Life’s Elusive Goal: Reflections on Contemporary Views of Happiness
Ben Keyes
What is happiness to the average American today? We are told to do whatever makes us happy and our nation is founded in part on the right to pursue that goal. To achieve happiness is touted as a sufficient source of meaning in life and yet few people seem to understand what it is. How are Christians to understand the longing for happiness that we see around us and in ourselves? Can the Christian faith challenge and comfort an unhappy culture seeking happiness?


Saturday June 16, 9:45am  "Happy Are Those”: The Bible's Vision of Happiness and the Obedient Life   & Discussion
Joshua Chestnut
Part of the paradox of modern life is that while everyone claims to want happiness, few if any of us have found it. With so many competing and ultimately self-serving views of happiness on the market, it’s understandable why some Christians have given up on it, but this lecture will outline the unique take that the Bible has on human happiness and the good life.


Saturday June 16, 1:30pm  Cultivating Joy: Learning from Flow Psychology, Ecclesiastes, and Jesus
Dave Friedrich
This lecture will compare and contrast what positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the Assembler of Ecclesiastes (also known as the Preacher), and Jesus of Nazareth have to say about the meaning and promotion of joy.

                  *Lectures will include relevant poetry readings and reflections by Sarah Chestnut

*If you would like to join us for the day on Saturday, please email us your reservation NO LATER THAN Thursday, June 14 to The seminar is free, although there is a suggested donation of $5.00 to offset the cost of lunch on Saturday.

*The Saturday portion of this seminar is being given in conjunction with our lecture on Friday evening, June 15. Attendance both days is not required.

*Limited overnight accommodations may be available at L'Abri on the evening of Friday, June 15. Please email if you would like to add your name to the waiting list for overnight accommodations, and you will be notified if/when space becomes available.


June 22   Creative Work is Work (Part 2): What is (and isn't) Artistic Inspiration?
Sarah Chestnut
This lecture will explore conceptions - and misconceptions - about artistic inspiration and experiences of transcendence in the arts, considering questions such as, "Where do ideas come from? Is there something—or someone—other than me involved in the creative process? What is meant by having a ‘transcendent experience’ with a piece of art? What are we after when we engage with art?"

June 29   America’s Polarized Politics
Dick Keyes
We will reflect on the nature of our polarization and ask – could Christian people help?


July 6   “Surprised by Joy”: Apologetics and the Imagination
Linny Dey (Co-Founder and Dean Emeritus, The Imago School, Maynard, MA)
While “honest answers to honest questions” are still helpful for some, there are fewer questioners and fewer people today who believe that there is one answer that fits all.  If Christianity is the truth which all people need, Christians need to consider ways other than reasoned argument to make that truth clear.  This lecture will look at how understanding the significance of the imagination and our imaginative vision of reality can be an aid in developing a different kind of apologetics.  We’ll look at, among other things, how the great thinker C.S. Lewis’s conversion to Christianity, his being “surprised by joy”, was primarily a conversion of his imagination.


July 13  Traveling Plans for Following Jesus as Suggested in “…deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.”
Dick Keyes
How can you hold together the idea of denying yourself and taking up your cross with the abundant life of following Jesus?


July 20  Skills for Being Human in a Smartphone Culture
Joshua Chestnut
From giving you the best route home to tracking your workouts and communicating across the world, no other gadget in human history can compete with a smartphone in its ability to consolidate so much of your life into a device that fits into your pocket. But this convenient consolidation has come with a host of problems, and in this lecture we will consider some of these negative consequences as well as constructive practices with the hope of learning to live well and wisely in this world.

- Winter Term 2018 -


Jan 19    Ben Keyes- Gratitude Part I. What is Thankfulness for the Christian?
This lecture examines what the bible teaches about giving thanks; both as an inward attitude of the heart and an outward act of worship. It is an essential aspect of living truthfully and relating rightly to God. And yet, for such a basic aspect of our spiritual lives, it is hard to put into practice. This lecture is the first in a three part

Jan 26    Sarah Chestnut- Creative Work is Work: De-mythologizing Artistic Inspiration and the Creative Process
There are many reasons getting started on--or finishing--creative endeavors is hard. With help from Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad, as well as from Hans Rookmaaker and Mako Fujimura and other contemporary thinkers and artists, we will wade through and correct assumptions about the creative process that keep
us from getting artistic work done, and in some cases are even destructive to our humanity.

Feb 2    Beth Pocock- A Listening Heart
In his book, A Spirituality of Listening, Keith Anderson defines Christian spirituality as basically “a life lived in conversation with Another.” Listening to God is not about method
. It’s about an entirely new lifestyle. This talk will discuss what it means to cultivate an ongoing conversation with God and how we can we live in response to what we hear.

Feb 9    Dave Friedrich- "I'm Bored
What do we do when all the wonder has leaked out? A little boredom here and there is normal, but when it becomes an ever-present burden it should cause us to pause and ask a few questions. We are in all likelihood the most entertained culture in the history of the world and also the most bored. How can this be the case? This lecture will consider the meaning of our boredom and the way back to childlike wonder.

Feb 16    Joshua Chestnut- Skills for Being Human in Pornified Culture
Few aspects of our technologized culture entrench shame, deepen isolation and ultimately dehumanize like internet porn. And if the statistics on the matter are even partially true, the number of men and women struggling with porn addiction is at epidemic levels. In this lecture I will consider the often over-looked virtues of patience and imagination as key skills in both regaining and maintaining one's humanity in a pornified culture like our own.

Feb 23    Anna Friedrich- Creative Devotion
A generation ago, many Christian adults felt duty-bound to have a Daily Quiet Time. This time often included prayer and Bible reading, and in evangelical circles was commonly referred to as “Having/Doing Devotions.” Though these disciplines have faded and come under attack, in the recent upswell of interest in liturgies and the historic practices of the Christian church, people are returning to spiritual disciplines as opportunities for intimacy with God. Can faithful rhythms bear fruit? Can faithful rhythms even be creative?


March 2   Linny Dey- Humanity's Rush toward Self-destruction as Described in C.S. Lewis's The Abolition of Man
This lecture will explain the case made by C.S. Lewis in The Abolition of Man against subjectivism, the belief that ideas about good and evil are merely subjective opinions or feelings. Lewis shows how subjectivism followed to its logical conclusion leads to the destruction of society and the end of man as anything more than a bit of mere nature to be manipulated by whoever has the most power. The lecture will show how Lewis illustrated these premises in his novel That Hideous Strength.

Wednesday- March 7th-  An evening with
Eduardo Echeveria, Ph.d., S.T.L  - "Evangelicals and Catholics Together: Brethren in Christ or Co-belligerents?" THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO THE STORM

March 9-10    Weekend Seminar: To Live in Peace in a World with Conflict

The apostle Paul wrote, “If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18). Conflict between people is important to God. Some of that conflict is either avoidable or resolvable. Some of that, in turn, depends on us to be the ones to make peace. We will be working on the great challenge of how to do this in our relationships with each other.

Friday night 8:00 pm March 9th: Dick Keyes-
How Important is Interpersonal Conflict? – A God’s Eye View

Saturday morning 9:30 am March 10th: Dick Keyes-
Can Conflict be Outmaneuvered Before it starts? – Early Peacemaking

Saturday afternoon 1:30 pm March 10th: Dick Keyes-
The Challenge of Conflict Resolution – Confession, Forgiveness and

*If you would like to join us for the day on Saturday, please email us your reservation NO LATER THAN Thursday, March 5th. to The seminar is free, although there is a suggested donation of $5.00 to offset the cost of lunch on Saturday.

*The Saturday portion of this seminar is being given in conjunction with our lecture on Friday evening, March 9th. Attendance both days is not required.

*Limited overnight accommodations may be available at L'Abri on the evening of Friday, March 9th. Please email if you would like to add your name to the waiting list for overnight accommodations, and you will be notified if/when space becomes available.

March 16    Dave Friedrich- Is God a Social Construct?
Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) postulated that God is merely a human projection. Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud stated the same thing in their respective fields of politics, psychology and psychoanalysis. Author Yuval Noah Harari has given us a contemporary version of this take on religious belief in his books, Sapiens and Homo Deus. The goal of this lecture will be to first listen and learn from these thinkers and then to offer a word back.

March 23     Ben Keyes- Gratitude Part II. The Tug-of-War between Entitlement and Thankfulness
Despite the growing appeal of gratitude in our culture, we are ironically plagued by attitudes of entitlement that prevent us from recognizing gifts as gifts. This lecture explores some of the ways in which entitlement is an enemy of gratitude and some of the ways we can resist it.