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The Laing Lectures

The Laing Lectures began at Regent College in 1999 in cooperation with Roger and Carol Laing and in honour of their father, William John Laing. The purpose of the lectures is to encourage persons recognized for scholarship, wisdom, and creativity to undertake serious thought and original writing on an issue of significance for the Christian church and to promote the sharing of such thoughts through a series of public lectures.

The material presented by Laing Lecturers is intended to move beyond an analysis of historic and current concerns to provide proposals for alternative action for the Christian church. In doing so, lecturers are invited to explore in an interdisciplinary way the relationship between Christianity and culture, and to suggest ways in which that relationship might lead to greater flourishing of the church, the larger human household, and the whole community of creation.

Upcoming Laing Lectures

Settling in to a Decadent Decline

Date: Oct 22-23, 2014
Featured Speaker: Ross Douthat

Regent College is pleased to welcome Ross Douthat as the speaker for the 2014 Laing Lectures. His lectures will look ahead to the next 50-100 years and discuss why a kind of "sustainable decadence" is what our twenty-first century civilization can expect. Ross is the youngest op-ed columnist in the history of the New York Times where he writes about domestic and international politics and government. His newest book is the bestseller Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (Free Press, 2012).


Past Laing Lectures

Christian Theology as a Guide for the Emotions

Date: February 19-20, 2014
Featured Speaker: Dr. Ellen T. Charry

Regent College is pleased to welcome Dr. Ellen T. Charry, the Margaret W. Harmon Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, as the speaker for the 2013-14 Laing Lectures. For Dr. Charry, theology is not a theoretical enterprise. It is an eminently practical and religious undertaking. "Theology is about knowing and growing in the love of God and our neighbor so that we flourish in the destiny that God has in mind for us," she once wrote. A quick examination of her writing confirms her passion for human flourishing. Whether in the classroom at Princeton or the pages of her publications, she pursues answers to the question of how Christian beliefs and practices can nurture people intellectually, morally, and psychologically in the course of everyday life and work. She will continue to pursue this question at the Laing Lectures as she explores the interface between Christian doctrine and emotional formation.

FROM DOCTRINE TO DOCTRINES: THE HOLLOWING OUT OF THE CHRISTIAN CONSENSUS

Date: October 25–26, 2012
Featured Speaker: Rex Murphy

Has modern secular thought assumed the authority and deference of “doctrine,” supplanting traditional faith? Rex Murphy thinks so. Over the course of three lectures, Mr. Murphy offered an account of how the Christian understanding of life was pushed back, was attacked by, and in some cases surrendered itself to purely secular imperatives. He remarked on the great voids left by this retreat, and how in some cases secular understandings, such as the prevailing socio-political thought of many Western nations, have occupied the empty terrain and even taken on the character once owned only by religious belief—but without its philosophical foundations. Finally, Mr. Murphy examined two cases that illustrate this perspective: the advance of environmentalism as an ersatz-religion, and the phenomenon of political correctness, and its heavy-handed corrections, which amounts to another form of orthodoxy.