If you haven’t discovered the L’Abri Ideas Library, I am delighted to bring it to your attention. The Ideas Library is a website loaded with lectures from all the branches of L’Abri, many dating to the early days of L’Abri. The goal of the Ideas Library–and one of the goals of L’Abri as a whole–is to “attempt to provide honest answers to honest questions about the reality and relevance of the Christian faith.” Hundreds of downloadable lectures are housed there; we invite you to explore the site. But, like any good library, because there is so much, sometimes it is helpful to have a guide. One lecture we commend to you is by our own Ben Keyes:
“Curiosity: The Preliminary Virtue of Wanting to Know”
Ben summarizes his lecture below–far from the Alice in Wonderland take on curiosity:
It seems that humans are born innately curious, but not everyone retains curiosity into adulthood. Neither is curiosity often associated with Christianity. This lecture explores the quality of being curious as an often overlooked Christian virtue. The genuine desire to know the world around us, to know other people, and to know God can make obedience to the Lord a joy rather than a chore. In this way, curiosity is a ‘preliminary virtue’; it prepares us to grow in all the other virtues. This lecture reflects on some of the ways in which curiosity has gotten a bad reputation and some of the ways in which we can recover this gift that God gave us.
Click here to listen.
In this lecture, longtime L’Abri worker Mardi Keyes helpfully addresses many of the common, as well as some of the unexpected questions that arise for many people as they live in a world marked by evil and suffering. Mardi deals with how the reality of evil in the world is not just theoretical and practical problem for those who believe in a good God, but is also, if not more so an issue for those who deny belief in such a God. While some who delve into the murky waters of “the problem of evil” as though it were only or primarily a some sort intellectual issue to be resolved, Mardi helpfully shows how the problem of evil is not just a theological conundrum but is a pastoral and social reality as well.
“The Problem of Evil“
“What should I do with my life?” “I want to do God’s will for my life, but I’m just not sure what it is.” “What does God want me to do?” Chances are that if you haven’t heard these words – or something like them – coming out of your own mouth, you’ve heard them come out of someone’s close to you. Though these sorts of questions are nearly universal in the christian world, the simultaneous lack of clarity and the longing for certainty that many people feel around them can be both vocationally paralyzing and spiritually frustrating. In this series of lectures Jim Paul, a long-time worker at the Greatham L’Abri tackles these problems head on offering in the first lecture a concise overview of how we have come to think about “decision making” the way we have (as well as the problems that come with this), a refreshing biblical explanation of how God makes his will known, and an exploration of making decisions in daily life. Jim is a clear and competent communicator and these lectures in particular are regularly on our short-list. They are highly recommended.
Lecture One – “Decision-Making Today”
Lecture Two – “Understanding the Will of God”
Lecture Three – “Decisions and Being Human“