As we near the end of 2007 and look forward to 2008, there is one event that I urge all of you to take a look at and consider attending: the Oxbridge 2008 conference. It may sound daunting (the price! England! The weak dollar!), but I assure you that it’s an investment you’ll not find unworthy.
The Oxbridge conference is so-named because half of it takes place at the University of Oxford and the second half at Cambridge (both are beautiful and ancient campuses… highlights of any trip to Britain). The C.S. Lewis Foundation (the sponsor of the triennial conference) organizes the conference every three years around a broad theme that crosses disciplines and interest areas under the umbrella of “mere Christianity.” The goal is to foster a contemporary site of Lewis-era scholarly Christian discourse the likes of which is rarely found in churches today.
I went to Oxbridge 2005 three years ago, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. The speakers, the performers, and the people I met and casually dialogued with made the event utterly priceless and life-changing. For any thinking Christian—whether you are still in academia or are a lifelong learner—the Oxbridge gathering is really a must-do. Where else do you get to encounter several hundred of the world’s most thoughtful Christians (off all denominations, ages, nationalities, etc) who have gathered with the shared purpose of living the legacy of C.S. Lewis in the 21st Century? That is—pondering and discussing how the life of the soul and the life of the mind can be reconciled toward the productive end of a culturally relevant Christianity. Whether you’re talking with someone over a pint at an Oxford pub, or in a café on the edge of the Cam river in Cambridge, the ideas you’ll exchange during this conference will stay with you for many moons.
This summer’s Oxbridge conference deals with the theme “The Self and the Search for Meaning.” It seeks a collaborative discourse about what a coherent Christian understanding of human nature and psychology looks like (or should look like) in this postmodern age we live in. Who are we? What meaning have we? Is there a Self that supercedes our fragmented “selves”? Such questions will make for a most provocative inquiry—in which we probe the “big questions” of identity and existence that lurk within and are rarely explored collectively in contemporary Christian circles.
Speakers slated for this summer’s conference include a wide variety of prestigious authors, academics, psychologists and philosophers, with some big names featured, like Fuller president Richard Mouw, author Philip Yancy, NEA (Nat’l Endowment for the Arts) Chairman Dana Gioia, geneticist Francis Collins, philosopher Richard Swinburne and United Methodist Bishop William Willimon.
At a time when critical thinking worldwide is sinking into digitized oblivion and the worldwide church is in more need than ever of an intellectual wake-up call, something like Oxbridge 2008 is of utmost significance. Beyond an excuse to take that long-sought trip to England/Europe (which for many attendees is the ostensible motivation), Oxbridge is an experience that will undoubtedly enhance your faith and enrich your life. Hope to see you there!