October 7, 2015

Over 400 attend Pacifica’s C.S. Lewis Symposium

Pacifica Christian Orange County hosted its inaugural TGC event featuring renowned C. S. Lewis scholars from around the world.  Pacifica recorded the symposium talks, which are now available at www.youtube.com/pacificaoc.

C. S. Lewis scholars delivered thought-provoking talks for over 400 guests at Pacifica’s inaugural speaker series: The Great Conversation (TGC). The event was held at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach on October 2-3.  Guests engaged the speakers during Q&A sessions and made new friends during social times.  The dialogue and fellowship that marked the event continued throughout the weekend, and continues throughout the community.

Dr. Diana Glyer, Professor of English at Azusa Pacific University, started the conversation Friday night speaking on the friendship between C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein and the “creative collaboration” that existed between them during their writing careers.  Noting the many differences between the two authors, Glyer challenged the audience with the concept of “intellectual hospitality” – respectfully engaging people whose viewpoints differ from our own, marked by a willingness to understand them.  Lewis and Tolkien’s relationship demonstrated how having friends with different perspectives can lead to taking creative risks, professional success, and personal and spiritual growth. Click here to watch Dr. Glyer’s TGC talk.

Saturday’s session began with a talk by Fr. Dr. Andrew Cuneo titled Educating the Heart based on C. S. Lewis’s book The Abolition of Man.  As science and “rational thought” have grown in prominence in education, Lewis stressed the importance of teaching students to see right from wrong and good from bad—and to have the character to choose well.  Cuneo explained the importance of training our children to love what is good and to hate what is bad – as these values do not simply develop automatically.  Explained Cuneo, training our feelings and our mind ensures that we will feel rightly so we can act rightly. Click here to watch Fr. Cuneo’s TGC talk.

Rev. Hayden Butler, the Chairman of Pacifica Christian’s English Department, explained Lewis’s perspective on education as engaging in a conversation that draws us outside of ourselves and into something bigger.  Butler noted the importance of reading great books from eras past.  They help liberate us from our own era’s (possibly false) assumptions.  They also teach us the time-tested perspectives of great authors such as Aristotle, Plato, and Homer.  Lewis was also concerned with the way modern education treated students as objects in a factory, rather than persons with whom teachers ought to engage in relationship aimed at learning.  Similar to Glyer’s concept of intellectual hospitality, Butler noted the importance of being open to others’ ideas to sharpen our own. Click here to watch Rev. Butler’s TGC talk.

Dr. Michael Ward‘s talk, Ethical Considerations in Narnia, explained that too much self-reflection and introspection can actually hinder the formation of virtues.  Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia reflect this truth through the characters’ experiences in Narnia.  Ward cautioned, when we are too self-referential we don’t necessarily live virtuously; we just think about virtues.  But when we have learned what is good and become truly virtuous, we are self-forgetful and we display virtue naturally—as naturally as we breathe the air around us. Ward concluded that, while there is a time to contemplate virtue, our ultimate goal is to have virtue become part of who we are. Click here to watch Dr. Ward’s TGC talk.

Pacifica Christian is a high school that opened its doors to 50 students in the fall of 2015.  Pacifica embraces the values of education described by the speakers at the C.S. Lewis Symposium “On the Education of the Soul.”  We invite you to learn more about Pacifica by attending an Open House on October 11 (full) or November 15.

Pacifica plans to host future symposiums for the community to encourage The Great Conversation (TGC).  You are invited to attend Pacifica’s spring TGC event featuring Father Robert A. Sirico, President of the Acton Institute, and David Bahnsen, founder of The Bahnsen Group, to explore as a community The Free and Virtuous SocietyAdditional information for this event will be announced later this fall.

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