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We explore the larger issues of our day
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of beauty, truth, justice and duty
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We promote thoughtful discussion
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mutual respect and the joy of discovery
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We invite the intellectually curious student
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to think well about the meaning of life
 

UPCOMING Study Groups

Christian Philosophy as a Way of Life

Many people think of philosophy as the purview of obscure academics. In his Christian Philosophy as a Way of Life, however, Ross Inman argues that Christians and others should live philosophically and that philosophy is essential to living well. Is he correct? Join us in this study group to find out—and come to our first lecture of the semester, which will feature Dr. Inman himself!

For more about this group, email Dr. Knight at jarrett.knight.88@gmail.com

Previous study groups

Short Stories of Dostoevsky

What happens when people’s lives become meaningless? What do they do, think, and say? What about when a society’s meaning is disappearing? Though bleak, these questions are important to ask to be able to recognize the symptoms of despair and to understand those in despair themselves. They are also central to the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky, who has a claim to being the greatest novelist of all time. Join us as we read and discuss some of his shorter works.

The Psalms

For centuries, the Psalter has been called the church’s prayer book. Join us as we explore what it means to read the psalms as poetry, as liturgy, as prayer, and as presentations of the world as “charged with the grandeur of God.” This group is open to all.

The Screwtape Letters

Join us for weekly conversations on books we find significant. This semester, we’ll discuss C. S. Lewis’s classic on the nature of temptation, vice, disharmony, and how to avoid them through prayer and attentiveness to the world before us.

Demons

We often think of demonic possession as involving the kinds of things you see in The Exorcist. But what if possession is also matter of self-interest and political and philosophical ideologies? That is what it looks like in Demons, Dostoevsky’s classic examination of nihilism in nineteenth-century Russia.

This group is closed for the semester.

The World Beyond Your Head

Do you have difficulty concentrating? What steals away your time? In short, what is going on with attention in the modern world? In his The World Beyond Your Head, Matthew Crawford argues that our problems with attention stem a loss of a sense of human existence as embodied. Join us as we read his book and assess his argument.

The Inspiration of Scripture

What does it mean to call the Bible scripture? What does it mean to say that scripture is inspired by God? Does it imply that everything in the Bible is true, or only some things—and if the latter, which ones? What does inspiration imply about what happens when you read the Bible? Join us as we discuss these and other questions about the Bible.

The Trinity

What does it mean to say that God is a Trinity? Does this doctrine even make sense? If so, how? Is belief in the Trinity really important for Christians, or is it just a matter for theologians? Join us as we read selections of classical and contemporary works on the Trinity and discuss these and other Trinitarian questions.

The Gospel of Mark

Join us as we discuss the Gospel of Mark, at once the most paradoxical and puzzling of the Gospels and one that offers a profound meditation on the meaning of discipleship and Christian faith—this is a book that can change your life if you learn how to hear it. This group requires no outside reading and features high-end coffee, but it meets early!

Short Stories of Flannery O’Connor

Join us for weekly conversations about books we find significant. This semester, we’ll be reading various short stories by Flannery O’Connor, one of the American masters of the genre. There are two sections of this group, one meeting Fridays at 3pm in Maples, the other meeting on Tuesdays at 10am. This group will be closed to new members as of February 7.

Resurrection and Afterlife

What is resurrection? Why is it important to Christianity? How does it relate to other ideas of afterlife such as the immortality of the soul? And what does a resurrected life look like, anyway? This group meets Friday mornings at 7am in College Church to discuss these and other questions. It includes free coffee (good coffee), so you won’t want to miss it.

Love in Western Traditions

What is the nature of love? What is its proper object? What makes it true or perverse? How should we understand love in relation to vulnerability and suffering? In this group, we will read some of the most influential texts reflecting on the nature of love, including classical texts written prior to Christianity and texts in the Christian tradition. We’ll reflect on friendship, on romantic love, and the love of the divine, and we’ll consider how love in these texts relates to love as presented in our contemporary culture.

Prayer

Why do Christians pray? How does someone pray? Does God answer prayer? Is prayer irrational? What (if anything) happens when people pray? To consider these and other questions, this group will read what some of the ancient theologians of the church had to say about prayer. Join us as we read Origen, Augustine, and the author of The Cloud of Unknowing. This group also includes a weekly prayer component–members can choose to do the study group, the prayer group, or both.

2 Corinthians

2 Corinthians is perhaps the most personal of Paul’s letters, and it is likewise perhaps the most rhetorically powerful, portraying Paul himself as an emblem of Christ’s suffering for those estranged from him. Join us on Fridays at 7am in College Church to discuss this remarkable letter. This group includes coffee (good coffee), so you won’t want to miss it.

After Virtue

Join us for weekly conversations about books we find significant. This semester, we’ll be reading After Virtue by ethicist Alasdair Macintyre.

Anselm’s Circle

In this group, we’ll read C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and G. K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. These books engage some of the major questions of faith, life, and reason, but they are not for the fainthearted! So, whatever your faith background (Christian, agnostic, atheist, or otherwise), come prepared to be challenged and prepared to read!

The Works of Søren Kierkegaard

In this group, we’ll read Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s The Sickness unto Death as well as Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing. The first engages the nature of despair, while the second outlines the transformation of self at the heart of Christian faith. These are difficult books, but richly rewarding once understood.

Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind

How do people decide what they believe is right and wrong? It turns out that there are many ways, and there are significant differences between conservatives’ and progressives’ modes of ethical reasoning. Join us as we learn about them and about how to bridge some of the divides in our polarized political culture.

The Book of Genesis

The book of Genesis contains some of the most powerful and generative stories in the whole Bible. Join us as we read the cycles of creation, of Abraham, and of Jacob to understand the claims they make about God, the world, and our place in it.

The Revelation of John

The book of Genesis contains some of the most powerful and generative stories in the whole Bible. Join us as we read the cycles of creation, of Abraham, and of Jacob to understand the claims they make about God, the world, and our place in it.

Christianity and Capitalism

Scripture says, “You cannot serve both God and mammon.” What does that mean for us living in a capitalist society? Does Christianity favor capitalism? Are the two incompatible? Or is the reality more complicated? Join us as we read selections from Wendell Berry, Paul Heyne, and others to find out.

C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces

A retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche, Till We Have Faces is one of C. S. Lewis’s least-known books–and that’s a real shame, as it is one of his richest, containing profound meditations on what it means to be human and on the meanings of holiness. Join us as we read it in full.

Fact, Fiction, and Facebook: Finding Truth in the Online World

What makes online articles true or truthful, and what makes them false or misleading? When are social media posts significant, when are they trivial, and in either case how should we respond to them? In this group, we will be considering these and similar questions, trying to understand how we ought to evaluate and interact with online media—especially political news.

The Confessions of St. Augustine

Augustine of Hippo is one of the most influential theologians in the history of Christianity, and Confessions is his most celebrated work. It offers something for everyone: rich theological reflections on the nature of God and the human condition, a window into the Christianity of the fourth century Roman Empire, and a poignant account of one man’s experience of divine grace. This group was led by Amanda Knight, who wrote her dissertation on Augustine’s theology.

Ancient Christian Apologetics

The Christian church has contended with a lot of issues throughout the centuries: survival in the midst of a hostile Roman Empire, challenges to its belief by philosophers, and the rise of Islam and the existence of other religions, to name just a few. In this group, we’ll look at how some early and medieval Christian thinkers responded to the challenges of their day and try to understand what relevance their work might have for us.

Raphael, St. Paul Preaching in Athens (1515)