Term Dates  

Autumn 2019:  September 12 – November 21

Winter 2020:  January 9- March 26

Summer 2020: On Sabbatical




Friday Night Lecture Schedule 2019

All lectures begin at 7:30PM  and are held at L’Abri at 49 Lynbrook Road Southborough, MA 01772
Join us for tea and treats at 7:15PM. 

Autumn 2019 - Friday Night Lecture Schedule


Sept 20: Anna Friedrich

My Times are in Your Hands: Biblical Reflections on Suffering & Sovereignty

What is God’s relationship with all the bad things that happen? What does the Bible actually offer us in our suffering? The very old “problem of evil” continues to haunt and nag. We’ll look at one helpful metaphor employed by many Biblical authors and invite this imagery to reawaken our imaginations and our prayers.

Sept 27: Joshua Chestnut

Making Sense of Anger

Whether we simmer in silence and suppression or explode in rage and violence, anger is a part of all of our lives.  In this lecture we will look at the nature of anger, what it is telling us, and what we can do with it.

Oct 4: Ben Keyes

Shouldn’t The Christian Faith be Easier? (II): Growing Biblical Grit

Are we really prepared in the affluent west for what the bible has to say about the hardships of the Christian life? We are part of an entitled culture that believes success should come easily. For many, ease is a determiner of what is worth pursuing in life. This lecture will engage with the work of secular positive psychologist Angela Duckworth. What does Duckworth’s understanding of ‘grit’ have to do with biblical perseverance and long-suffering?

Oct 11: Sarah Chestnut

“Belonging to Every Riven Thing”: Reflecting on the Incarnation with the Help of Poets (II)

An earlier version of this lecture was given in 2016.  Turning to three new poems, we will consider in a format more discussion than lecture what it means about God, and what it means for our humanity, that Jesus was fully divine and fully human.  For those who would like to read the poems in advance, see “Every Riven Thing” (Christian Wiman), “Descending Theology: Christ Human” (Mary Karr), and “Hill Country” (Tracy K. Smith).

Oct 18:  Dick Keyes

How can we grow the right desires – and pass them on to others?

It seems that God does not only want us to know what is right and good, but to do it. But that is not all. Jesus wanted much more for us – that we hunger and thirst for what is right and good; that we love and desire it. We probably know something about learning ideas and behavior, but how do we learn the right desires and how can we teach them to others in a world which is skilled at shaping human desires for its own purposes?

Oct 25 Joshua Chestnut

Navigating Restless Years: St. Augustine on How to Survive Young Adulthood

Though he never had to deal with particular modern troubles like social media, student loans or internet porn, St. Augustine just like so many of us did have to navigate complicated relationships with parents, disappointment with religious community, haunting memories and seemingly unshakeable bad habits.  In this lecture we will look at how in his most well known book the Confessions, Augustine opens up about all of this and more, offering help for those of us still navigating the “restless years” of becoming adults.

 November 1st & 2nd Theme Weekend*

Ecclesiastes and Something New Under The Sun 

All lectures given by Dave Friedrich

What are we supposed to do with this strange and wonderful book? What kind of wisdom is this? And how are we to understand its place within the Bible and its fulfillment in Christ? These will be our guiding questions as we look at three major themes of Ecclesiastes: vapor, joy and a different kind of fear. 

7:30 Friday Night:  Everything is Vapor

How would you describe that which is fleeting? What would you call grasping for what is beyond your grasp? How about “vapor” and “herding the wind”? That is how the Assembler, otherwise known as the Preacher or Teacher, describes everything human. He takes a hard look at life and concludes that it is all ephemeral, enigmatic, and frustrating. Is he a cynic? Or is he a realist telling us what it is like to live and work in the shadow of the fall? Could he even be one of the wise, telling us how to live in the wilderness, in exile, somewhere between the promise and the promised land?

9:00 – Arrival

9:30 Saturday Morning Lecture:  A Table In the Mist

The Assembler declares that everything is vapor, but he also sees “a table in the mist,” with food and drink and other good gifts from God that we are meant to enjoy. He says, in fact, there is nothing better than when God enables us to see and receive what is good. Is this true? And can we find this joy even in the mist of the wilderness?     

1:30 Saturday Afternoon:  A Different Kind of Fear

For many, fear is an unpleasant and unwanted emotion that steals our joy and diminishes our lives. Ecclesiastes, and the Bible as a whole, calls us to a different kind of fear, one that broadens our lives as we recognize the frightening difference between us and God: we are a vapor, but He is eternal. This is the fear of God, a God-ward orientation of holy awe that surprisingly gives us reason to hope, rejoice, and live our lives to the fullest.

*If you would like to join us for the day on Saturday, please email us your reservation no later than Thursday, Oct 24th to southborough@labri.org. 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.

*Limited overnight accommodations may be available at L’Abri. Please email southborough@labri.org 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.

Nov 8: Dr. Brandon Unruh

A Christian Response to Suicidality

This lecture begins by developing pertinent background including a basic theology of the mind and theodicy of psychological disorder, while dispelling some Christian concerns about suicide that have resisted lessons from psychiatry and psychology.  Then it will draw upon contemporary evidence to explore how common pathways to suicide reflect core spiritual problems of our age.  It then investigates the roles of both God’s action and creaturely agency in the lives of afflicted biblical figures who long for death or die by their own hands.  Finally, it compares and contrasts helpful but imperfect therapeutic responses with God’s ultimate answer on the Cross.

Nov 15   Ben Keyes

Caring for Creation (IV): Does the Natural World Teach Theology?

Psalm 19 tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God. What is being declared about God as we look up at the stars? Does the rest of creation have anything in particular to declare? What is the relationship between God’s particular revelation in scripture and his revelation in the natural world, which is available to all? In this lecture we will contemplate the value of creation both in itself and in its ability to teach theology.



Spring/Summer 2019 Lecture Schedule
A Creation Care Weekend at L’Abri

featuring co-founders of A Rocha International
art by Heidy Sumei Chuang
poetry by Anna A. Friedrich

Friday, May 10th
7:30 PM: The Butterfly Effect of the Gospel
Lecture by Peter Harris, co-founder of A Rocha International
For overnight reservations please email southborough@labri.org

Saturday, May 11th
10:00 AM: Butterfly Project, Art Exhibition
– Opening words from the artist, Heidy Sumei Chuang
– Poetry Reading by Anna A. Friedrich
12:30 Lunch: All are welcome, suggested donation $5
2:00-4:00 PM: Sustaining Hope on our Groaning Earth with Peter and Miranda Harris

May 17 – Joshua Chestnut

Gentleness, Neighborliness and Taking Others Seriously: The Life and Work of Mr. Rogers 

Children’s development specialist Margaret McFarland taught that “anything human is mentionable, and whatever is mentionable is manageable.”  This simple yet profound insight into being human was also a guiding principle of Fred Rogers, one of America’s most beloved TV personalities.  In this lecture we will consider Rogers’ life, work and faith through the lens of some of his most famous children’s songs in order to see the gentle wisdom of this quirky and endearing Christian man who was fiercely committed to the dignity, intelligence and emotional capacity of children in a culture which all too often overlooked them.

May 24 – Ben Keyes

The True Object of Human Longing: Re-embracing Dominion and Trust

Why is it that we often find ourselves longing for adventure and security, for new challenges and for the comfort of what is known? While individuals differ greatly in how they experience and act on these two desires, we all seem to have elements of both in our hearts. We will explore these twin desires to ‘set out’ and to ‘come home’ as clues to our God-designed nature.  Is it naïve to expect the fulfillment of these two seemingly contradictory longings?

May 31 – Dave Friedrich

“A Shelter For Conversation”

“How far does our hospitality go? How far can it go? What can we welcome and gather in, and how? Hospitality is, first and foremost, the hospitality that we give each other, exchanging words and silences, glances and voices.” These are the opening words of The Ark of Speech, by poet and theologian Jean-Louis Chretien, who is also one of France’s leading philosophers. With his help we will explore how to promote a shelter for conversation, a safe place where we are heard, challenged, and changed.
June 7 – Joshua Chestnut

Pornography, Shame and What to Do With Unwanted Sexual Behavior 

For many of us our internet searches and browser histories reveal a record of unwanted, compulsive behavior which compounds a deep sense of shame and self-loathing.  Addiction specialist Gabor Mate writes that often it is “emotional isolation, powerlessness and stress which are the conditions that promote the neurobiology of addiction.” Starting with Mate’s basic insight, we will look at the neurological, human and spiritual nature of pornography addiction including practical ways to move through unwanted sexual behavior.

June 14 – Ben Keyes

“Shouldn’t the Christian Faith be Easier?”

Have you ever felt that if Christianity were really true, it would be easier to live out? This is a very common contemporary sentiment, but what does it presuppose? What are our expectations of the Christian life and how are they influenced by the modern belief that ‘ease determines right.’ What does the bible encourage us to expect of life following Christ?

June 21 – Dick Keyes

Letting God be God in a Fragmenting World

In a fragmenting world a Christian must guard against fragmentation not only in the world but within the Christian faith itself. It often comes in the form of false choices, separations which should not be separated. To counter this problem, we will look at the need to treat God as God in two examples of false choice.

June 28 – Marta Crilly, Archivist

“Jazzing Hellwards”: The Painful History of White Protestant Church Segregation and What It Means Today

From segregated seating in the 1840s to the Memphis Kneel Ins of the 1960s, America’s white congregations have a long and painful history of working to promote segregation in church pews. Examining the long tradition of segregationist theology, polity, and culture in the white church sheds light on the current racial situation in American churches, and helps us to understand why 11:00 on Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour for American Christians. This lecture delves into the pro-slavery and pro-segregation theology accepted in many white churches in the 19th and 20th century and how that theology manifested in local church practice.

July 5 – Mardi Keyes

Liberty and Justice for Women?

Why did Feminism happen in America?  In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote a letter to her husband John, who was a member of the committee drafting the Declaration of Independence. She asked, “…in the new code of laws…remember the ladies, and…Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.” She was referring to the law, by which women, upon marriage, lost their civic identity, all rights to their property, to their bodies and their children. The “rebellion” she predicted was later called “Feminism.” John Adams responded dismissively, “Depend on it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems…” Why is it that in culture after culture, “masculine systems” have defined men as entitled to liberty and justice, while women are not? What light can the Bible shed on these questions?

July 12 – Dr. Andrea Gurney, Professor of Psychology, Westmont College

Reclaiming Love: Biblical and Scientific Principles for Restoring Relationships

In a world that is more connected than ever before, we are somehow missing the mark on the very thing we were created for — loving, intimate relationships. As a society, we experience more depression, anxiety, and suicide than years past, and it is postulated that a primary reason for the increase in suicide is lack of social connections. This lecture will seek to provide practical tools from relationship science and Biblical truths to equip us in building healthy relationships.

Winter 2019 Lecture Schedule
Jan 18 – The Last Laugh:  Perceiving and Receiving the Incongruity of Grace

Dave Friedrich
What is grace?  What are the different ways people have defined grace?  And what caught Paul’s eye when he wrote about grace in Galatians and Romans?  These are the questions New Testament scholar John Barclay asks in his book, Paul and the Gift (2015).   Barclay’s questions and research will be the basis of this lecture.  (This is the first lecture in a two part series, but also stands alone.  Part two is, The Gift of Grace.)

Jan 25 – The Gift of Grace:  No Strings Attached or Call and Response?

Dave Friedrich
This lecture considers the research of New Testament scholar John Barclay in his book, Paul and the Gift (2015), that challenges the definition of Divine grace as a gift with no strings attached and helps us see the gift of grace in Galatians and Romans as both divine call and human response.  (This is the second lecture in a two part series, but also stands alone.  Part one is, The Last Laugh)  

Feb 1 – Revolution or Recession?  Sex in Pre- and Post-Christian Cultures

Joshua Chestnut
One might assume that in a culture as tolerant and progressive as our own that these would be booming times for sex, yet a growing body of research seems to point in the opposite direction that more and more people are in fact retreating from physical intimacy.  In this lecture will not only consider the sexual landscape of our current post-Christian culture, but reconsider the surprising distinctives of Christian sexual ethics as they emerged in the Pre-Christian world and how it revolutionized human sexuality.  

Feb 8  Caring for Creation Part III: Our Relationship to Farmed and Domesticated Animals

Ben Keyes
What does the bible say about raising animals for food? How can we apply God’s word to our contemporary food system that relies so heavily on intensive factory farming? Should we all be vegetarians as many Christians argue, or are we entitled to rely on animals for food? Is this even a question that should concern Christians?

Feb 15 – Sight for the Blind: A Study on the Significance of Eyes in the Biblical Story

Anna Friedrich 
From the “pleasing to the eye” fruit of Genesis 3 to the four living creatures in Revelation “covered with eyes all around,” the Bible is full of references to sight. God’s sight and human sight seem to compliment and challenge each other. What does it mean for God to see us, or for us to “fix our eyes on Jesus”? We’ll explore these questions among others in a broad stroke “look” at sight through the Bible. 


Theme Weekend – To Heal What is Broken: Hope in a Time of Fragmentation

A Tree Without Roots: How Can We Reconnect Contemporary Virtue With Christian Belief?

Friday, February 22
7:30 PM
Ben Keyes

Contemporary psychologists say that it is good for us to forgive, to give thanks and to seek humility. These traditionally Christian ways of life are being recognized as important aspects of human thriving but without any connection to biblical belief. How long can the secular appreciation of Christian virtue last without Christianity. In what ways could this trend be an opportunity to communicate Christian Truth? 

Political Polarization, Pervasive Loneliness and the Exhausted Middle 

Saturday, Feb 23
9:30 AM
Joshua Chestnut

A recent social survey found that the amount of Americans with no close friends has tripled since the mid-80’s and that nearly 25% report having no one in their life who they consider a trusted confidant.  How might these epidemic levels of loneliness, combined with the echo-chamber nature of social media have contributed to our national crisis of political polarization and what are some ways forward for those who find themselves exhausted by the angry discourse by those on extremes of the political spectrum?

Lunch – 12:30

1:30 PM: Friendship & Redemption in the Story of Ruth: How Self-Giving Loyalty Changes Everything

Anna Friedrich
The road back to Bethlehem. Two hungry refugees. Famous vows from one to another. The ensuing story of Ruth and Naomi (and later Boaz) continues to reverberate down through history. Why is this little tale of friendship so powerful? And how might our lives be transformed through this kind of radical loyalty.

*If you would like to join us for the day on Saturday, please email us your reservation NO LATER THAN Thursday, Feb. 21st to southborough@labri.org. 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.

*Limited overnight accommodations may be available at L’Abri. Please email southborough@labri.org 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 1 – What does God mean by his promise, “I will be with you”?

Dick Keyes
Some say that the best place to hide is in plain sight. “They’ll never think of looking here!” Sometimes this is the sad fate of Biblical truths which are so familiar to us that their life and importance is hidden simply by their familiarity. God’s amazing promise, “I will be with you” may have suffered this fate. It appears explicitly many times in the Bible and many more times implicitly or as an assumption. But what does it actually mean to us in our daily lives which range from triumph to tragedy with lots of routine in between?

March 8 – What is the heart and can it be ‘altared’?

Sarah Chestnut
From the muscle-pump that keeps blood moving through the body, to a symbol of romantic love, the heart is understood (and misunderstood) in a variety of ways.  How did the biblical authors understand the heart and what might it mean for Christ to “dwell” in our hearts–and change them?

March 15 – There’s a Crack in Everything:  Learning from The Broken Hallelujah of Leonard Cohen

Dave Friedrich

March 22 – Space, Place, and Grace: Musings on the Meaning of Home

Mary Frances Giles 
These days we are surrounded by conflicting messages of “home”. An advertisement for a furniture store might be immediately followed by a report on the refugee crisis. Americans are more transient than ever, yet we are obsessed with home improvement shows. This lecture will use the Biblical narrative as a lens to examine what it means to build a home, both in the world and with God.


Southborough L'Abri
Phone: INT +1 (508) 481-6490, USA (508) 481-6490
Contact Us | FAQ | Email: southborough@labri.org 
49 Lynbrook Road, Southborough, MA 01772