Feature: L’abri

This week’s feature is L’abri Fellowship. I would try to write a word or two explaining what L’abri is for those of you who’ve never heard of it, but I am finding I am having a hard time of it. For some reason it is hard to explain what L’abri is in a short blurb on a blog. You need to sit down and tell stories, or better yet, go live and study at one of the branches for a summer, then you’ll understand. I chose it as the feature because L’abri and the writings of Francis Schaeffer have deeply impacted and shaped what Veritas is. Also to mention this: Every year Veritas takes a road trip up to the L’abri conference in Rochester Minnesota. This years conference
is coming up on the weekend after Valentine’s day. Stayed tuned for more information about that and in the mean time here are some links for learning more about L’abri and Francis Schaeffer.

Perhaps it is best to let L’abri speak for itself. Here are some quotes about L’abri in their own words:

“L’Abri is a French word that means shelter. The first L’Abri community was founded in Switzerland in 1955 by Dr. Francis Schaeffer and his wife, Edith. Dr. Schaeffer was a Christian theologian and philosopher who also authored a number of books on theology, philosophy, general culture and the arts.

The L’Abri communities are study centers in Europe, Asia and America where individuals have the opportunity to seek answers to honest questions about God and the significance of human life. L’Abri believes that Christianity speaks to all aspects of life.” -Labri.org

“People who have never visited a branch of L’abri ask what it is, what they are, what we do – they find it difficult to formulate the proper question. And in this we share common ground, because for those of us who have lived and worked at L’abri, even those who have been part of the fellowship for a long time, it’s difficult to formulate just the right answer. Anything brief enough to keep the interest of the questioner is going to leave them with misconceptions. “Oh, it’s like a school” “So, It’s a retreat center” “Sounds like a commune” “Ah, I see, you are a missionary” some of these answer are more accurate than others, but none of them even begins to capture the spirit of this creature called L’abri Fellowship” -Wade Bradshaw, By Demonstration: God

“There have been perhaps four main emphases in the teaching of L’Abri.

First, that Christianity is objectively true and that the Bible is God’s written word to mankind. This means that biblical Christianity can be rationally defended and honest questions are welcome.

Second, because Christianity is true it speaks to all of life and not to some narrowly religious sphere and much of the material produced by L’Abri has been aimed at helping develop a Christian perspective on the arts, politics and the social sciences etc.

Third, in the area of our relationship with God, true spirituality is seen in lives which by grace are free to be fully human rather than in trying to live on some higher spiritual plane or in some grey negative way.

Fourth, the reality of the fall is taken seriously. Until Christ returns we and the world we live in will be affected by the disfigurement of sin. Although the place of the mind is emphasized, L’Abri is not a place for “intellectuals only”.

We are as concerned for living as we are for thinking and from the beginning the concern has been that the truth is as much exhibited in everyday life as it is defended in discussion. We do not do this perfectly of course but depend on the Lord to bring forth a measure of reality in our daily life.” –L’abri.org

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