Southborough L'Abri

Lecture Schedule


Southborough L'Abri Lecture Schedule

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

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.
- 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
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 series.


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 Reproof


*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.


- Autumn 2017- 


Sept 8       Ben Keyes- Five Themes of L’Abri Revisited
Over the years at L’Abri we have found these five areas of Christian belief to be particularly relevant: The Truth of the Christian Faith, the reality of the supernatural, the humanness of spirituality, the reality of the fall, and the Lordship of Christ over all of life. While these topics are by no means comprehensive or original, they continue to be areas of confusion inside and outside of the church. This lecture is a good introduction to some of the ideas that we discuss regularly at L’Abri.
Sept 15     Dick Keyes- What is Stewardship?
We usually associate stewardship with financial contributions to church or charity. In fact, it applies to the way we manage or do not manage the whole range of God’s gifts to us.
Sept 22     Abasiano Udofa- The Future of Work, Part II
Many are predicting a major shift in work due to the advances in technology. Will robots take all the jobs? Will technology create new jobs? Is a world without work really a possibility?  This lecture will review the trends that are causing these questions and anxiety, explore the increasing inequality being created by changes in work, review gains in artificial intelligence and reflect on jobs and calling.  


Weekend Seminar September 29th & 30th*
500 Years Later: The Reformation and its Lasting Impact

This year marks the 500th year since Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the church door in Wittenberg. While the theological, ecclesial and political consequences of this event- and the events that followed- have been discussed ever since, the Protestant Reformation has also had a profound social impact on the world today. This seminar will provide some historical context for the events that sparked the Reformation and explore some of its diverse outcomes. 
Friday Sept 29             
8:00 PM      Mike Milway- Martin Luther Between Worlds

Martin Luther’s uncomfortable position between worlds, and the unrelenting pressures on him from opposite directions, shaped his theology, guided his life and birthed the Protestant Reformation.  As a young monk in Erfurt and a rising professor in Wittenberg, he found himself caught awkwardly and uncomfortably between the monastery and the university, as a theologian between the via antiqua (old way) and the via moderna (new way), and as a Christian between God and the Devil.  That is where he found the gospel that changed his life.  For taking the gospel to both town and gown (city and university), the bishops in Rome excommunicated him from the church as a heretic while the princes in Worms banned him from the empire for the same reason.  He hid himself away in the Wartburg castle, long enough, though in record time, to translate the New Testament into the vernacular, helping to bridge learned Latin culture and common German people.  Luther’s most important legacy to the “continuing reformation” – the one he did not expect but the one that separates him from us – belongs in large part to his middle position theologically between Catholics and Calvinists.  Luther was a man caught between worlds.
Saturday Sept 30   
9:30 AM     Joshua Chestnut- "Exiles and Pilgrims: What John Calvin might offer an Age of Social Displacement"
Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has described the twentieth century as "the age of the refugee, the stateless and the wanderer" and though he belongs to a vastly different time than our own the protestant reformer John Calvin, himself a religious refugee, has some unexpected insights for us and our day.  In this lecture we will consider Calvin's teaching and practice of showing hospitality to the refugee as well as the inherently practical nature of Christian spirituality.    
1:30 PM     Mardi Keyes - How Martin Luther Transformed Marriage and Family Life
You may be surprised to learn that qualities we most prize in marriage today - mutual love and companionship, and children as joyous gifts - can be traced back to an Augustinian monk who married a runaway ex-nun!

*If you would like to join us for the day on Saturday, please email us your reservation 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. Attendance both days is not required.


Oct 6         Ben Keyes- Some Pitfalls of the Reformed Tradition
While the Reformed tradition has given us much to be thankful for, in practice it has sometimes minimized important aspects of Christian theology. Did John Calvin care more about election and predestination than anything else? Is there more to the Christian faith than TULIP?