2008 L’Abri Conference

The theme for this year’s conference is “Culture and Common Grace: God’s Good Gifts in all of Life.”

The annual L’Abri conference in Rochester, Minnesota occupies a special place in the hearts of my wife and I. Not only is the teaching excellent, with many a thought-provoking seminar on Christianity and culture, but Renae and I met at the 2004 conference in the lobby of the Kahler Grand hotel before we rode back to Lincoln together. (And the rest, as they say, was history.)

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to attend the 2008 conference; it coincides just a little too closely to Simon’s scheduled arrival for comfort. (The last thing we want to do is be traveling down the barren Minnesota interstate and have some kind of “complication”.)

The theme for this year’s conference is “Culture and Common Grace: God’s Good Gifts in all of Life,” one that we’re very interested in. The concept of “common grace” has been an important one for both of us, one that we think of constantly after — ironically enough — hearing a lecture on it at a previous conference. A brief perusal of the schedule (PDF) reveals yet another slew of promising seminars for ’08, including:

  • “The Kindness of God in a Fractured World” — Jerram Barrs
  • “Redemptive Collisions with Evil” — Dick Keyes
  • “The Role of Faith on the Flourishing of Creation” — Rodolfo Souza
  • “Grace at the Table: Lessons from Little Miss Sunshine and Other Unlikely Characters” — Margie Haack
  • “The Topography of Culture: Living Between Pop Culture and High Culture” — Andrew Fellows
  • “How John Cusack Ruined My Life: How Movies Shape Our Expected Relationships” — David Richter
  • “A Sacramental View of Creation as a Basis for the Arts” — John Hodges
  • “Understanding the Christian Roots of Western Culture” — Ranald Macaulay
  • “Spirituality in Contemporary Culture” — Hans Bayer
  • “When God Seems Distant and Silent” — Jerram Barrs
  • “Grasping for the Real: Exploring Spiritual Yearnings in Popular Music” — Denis Haack
  • “What is America? The Unintended Empire” — Andrew Fellows
  • “Modern Day Piracy and the Ethics of File Sharing” — David Richter
  • “Slipping on a Banana Peel: Film, Comedy & the Gift of Humor” — Denis Haack
  • “Harry Potter and the Triumph of Sacrificial Love” — Jerram Barrs
  • “Cynicism and the Challenge of Hope” — Dick Keyes
  • “Living in a Besieged City: A Jewish Testimony of Survival” — Hans Bayer
  • “How Shall We Then Live Revisited: Art and Music as Cultural Reflection” — John Hodges
  • “Do We Have a Choice: Abandoning or Transforming Culture?” — Jerram Barrs
  • “Jesus, the Truth and the Way: a Reflection on Jesus’ Exclusive Claims and Today’s Rhetoric” — Dick Keyes
  • “Sex: Agony and Ecstasy!” — Richard Winter
  • “Inside the World of Movies: A Conversation with Film Director Toddy Burton” — Denis Haack
  • Based on past years, I think I can safely say that even just one of the Jerram Barrs or Denis Haack lectures would be worth the price of admission alone. And how can you not be intrigued by a lecture entitled “How John Cusack Ruined My Life”?

Sigh… ah well, we can (and will) always purchase recordings. After all, we’ll need something to listen to in the hospital. And I guess there’s always next year… er… 2009.

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