As we prepare our hearts and minds for Holy Week, and go through the wilderness of Lent, we are putting together our second Lenten coffeehouse with song, food, and stories. The theme of the songs and stories will be the "Upward/Downward Journey" of Lent (the nature of Evil and Redemption) with a meditation from the words of C.S. Lewis and his Christian colleague & feminist contemporary Dorothy Sayers on those two topics. Dorothy Sayers was the sole woman and feminist in C.S. Lewis' various circles of fellow English Christian writers and poets of the 1940s and 1950s (J.R.R. Tolkien, for example). Our March 2nd coffeehouse explored the "Outward/Inward Journeys" of Lent, while this one will address a different kind of journey. In the gospels, Jesus' last 40 days before Holy Week (the period of Lent) are portrayed both as a time Jesus undertakes a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to greater popular acclaim (think of Palm Sunday) while the leaders of his day witnessed his growing popularity with horror and violence (think of the crucifixion). In other words, the Lenten journey brought out the best in some and the worst in others, some experienced the heights of Redemption while others descended into evil.
In our own lives, there are difficult journeys that have both an upward and downward component. Sometimes we move up towards God and redemption, sometimes down into evil and violence. Our decision to move from traveling the downward journey and choosing an upward path is our personal story of redemption. But what is evil and redemption look like today? You are invited to bring your own stories or a meaningful quote or song suggestion.
Leading our conversation will be visiting English theologian Margaret Hunt who will be talking about about the relationship of these two spiritual realities (evil and redemption) in the work of Christian playwright and witty apologist Dorothy Sayers and C.S. Lewis. In the wake of World War II, these two Christian authors addressed the nature of evil, how we assent to it, and what redemption might look like in modern times.
Everyone is encouraged to bring a song, a quote about the difficulty of journeys (faith and otherwise), or a story of your own downward/upward journey. Or bring a Lenten practice that you've found meaningful over the years.
Hope you can join us!
Glenn & Jen
About our conversation partner: Margaret Hunt is a English theologian, writer, and scholar who specializes in life, writings and times of Dorothy Sayers. Hunt served as Head of English in a secondary school in Bristol, UK,[masked]) and lectured in literature for Bristol University’s Continuing Education department. She is currently studying at Nottingham University for a theology doctorate on the plays of Dorothy L Sayers. She has been a key leader in Radius, the Religious Drama Society of Great Britain, editing the society’s magazine since 1983 and chairing Radius Council from 1991 to 2001 during a period of radical reassessment. She currently chairs the Executive Committee. She gave a talk to the Oxford C S Lewis Society. She is currently touring local churches and seminaries in the DC area talking about the relevance of Dorothy Sayers today.
There are many reasons you will enjoy hearing about Dorothy Sayers and C.S. Lewis. In many ways, her work parallels that of C.S. Lewis yet she did disagree with him on significant issues too (like women's ordination in the Anglican church). For example, both Sayers and Lewis became famous during WWII because of their BBC productions on faith. Like Lewis, Dorothy Sayers received a major commission by the BBC during World War II to talk about Christianity in an accessible manner. The result was her critically acclaimed twelve-part radio drama of the Life of Christ broadcast in 1941 and 1942. Like Lewis, she also wrote popular literature that touched on faith themes (she wrote the popular Lord Whimsey mysteries). And they both wrote theological works. Her The Mind of the Maker (click here to order), which compares God to a novelist in his creativity, continues to inspire and challenge Christians today.
Singing: We'll have some of our resident musicians help lead us in the songs and hymns of the Lenten period.
What to bring: For dinner, I'll provide something with chicken, but if others can bring a green salad, a bottle of wine or juice, or a side dish. Please put what you might bring in your RSVP line.