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COME LEARN WITH US.

In our educational program we seek to explore the resources of the Christian Tradition and draw on critical scholarship in order to understand contemporary cultural change and address shared human questions in ways that enrich and challenge the university community. Our educational initiatives cover a broad range of issues, but we focus on several areas of inquiry that play a crucial role in modern culture.

TECHNOLOGY & THE HUMAN

CREATION CARE & SUSTAINABILITY

CREATIVITY & THE ARTS

SELF & SOCIETY

FAITH & VOCATION

HIGHER EDUCATION & THE UNIVERSITY

In addition to our lectures, classes, reading groups, publications, and podcast, the Study Center hosts Pascal’s Coffeehouse, an expression of Christian hospitality and an embodiment of the Christian understanding we seek to explore as a Study Center. 

LECTURES

Fall 2023

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Tuesday, September 5th | Reception 6:30 PM | Orientation/Lecture 7:00pm | CSC Classroom

CSC OPEN HOUSE AND SEMESTER KICK-OFF

Michael Sacasas, Executive Director 

Join us at our open house event as we kick-off the fall semester. The evening will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m., where light food and refreshments will be served. The reception will be followed at 7:00 p.m. by an orientation to our fall program and a talk by our Director, Mike Sacasas. 

"Recalled to Life: Rediscovering the Conditions for Faith and Flourishing" 

Why is it so easy to doubt and so hard to thrive? Is it just the way of the world, or is it the consequence of the historically peculiar shape of the human-built world of the 21st century? Join us as we think critically about how the structures of our world discourage belief, engender loneliness, and drive us to burnout, and, more importantly, what we can do about it. 

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Thursday, September 21st | Reception 7:00pm & Lecture

7:30pm  | CSC Classroom

PAYING ATTENTION TO SIMONE WEIL AND ALBERT CAMUS

Dr. Robert Zaretsky

When Albert Camus went to Stockholm in 1957 to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, he was asked if there were writers to whom he felt close. One of the two writers he named was Simone Weil. When it was pointed out that Weil had died in 1943, Camus replied that death never came between true friends.

 

Camus and Weil—two of 20th century France’s most disturbing, yet inspiring thinkers—had more in common than friendship. Most importantly, both shared the conviction that a moral life depends on how well we attend to the world and others. This talk will consider how the lives and writings of these two remarkable individuals reflect the act of paying attention to others.

Robert Zaretsky has a joint appointment between the Honors College and the Department of Modern and Classical Languages (MCL) in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Houston. Zaretsky is the author, among other books, of  The Subversive Simone Weil: A Life in Five Ideas.

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Thursday, October 5th | Reception 7:00pm & Lecture 7:30pm

| CSC Classroom

WHAT MAKES A LIFE GOOD? STRATEGIES FROM PHILOSOPHY FOR SELECTING YOUR GOALS, LOVING OTHERS, AND COPING WITH SUFFERING 

Dr. Meghan Sullivan

Meghan Sullivan is the Wilsey Family Collegiate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. She serves as Director of the NDIAS, a university-wide research institute based in Notre Dame Research. Sullivan’s research tends to focus on philosophical problems concerning time, modality, rational planning, value theory, and religious belief (and sometimes all five at once).

This talk will explore some of the themes that are the subject of her book, The Good Life Method: Reasoning Through the Big Questions of Happiness, Faith, and Meaning, co-authored with Paul Blaschko. 

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Thursday, November 2nd | Reception 7:00 pm & Lecture 7:30 pm

| CSC Classroom

BEAUTY: THE HOSPITABLE WELCOME OF THE REAL

Dr. Esther Meek

Esther Lightcap Meek (BA Cedarville College, MA Western Kentucky University, PhD Temple University) is Professor of Philosophy emeritus at Geneva College, in Western Pennsylvania. She is a Fellow Scholar with the Fujimura Institute, an Associate Fellow with the Kirby Laing Center for Public Theology, and a member of the Polanyi Society. She offers courses for Theopolis Institute, The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, and Regent College.

Dr. Meek is the author, most recently, of Doorway to Artistry: Attuning Your Philosophy to Enhance Your Creativity

CLASSES

CLASSES

Fall 2023

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Wednesdays beginning September 6th at 11:45 a.m.

| CSC Classroom

HOW NOT TO WASTE YOUR LIFE: EMBRACING RISK, CARE, AND RESPONSIBILITY

Director's Class — Michael Sacasas   

According to some of the most popular and influential voices in our culture, every aspect of our lives must be optimized for efficiency, ordered toward productivity, assessed by quantifiable metrics, and calculated to maximize return on investment. Steps are counted, REM sleep monitored, side hustles diligently cultivated, our personal brand curated, goals meticulously mapped, life-hacks deployed, happiness planned, autonomy secured, time saved, risk managed, lives carefully calibrated for convenience, control, and comfort. To do anything less would be to waste your life.

 

This class will explore how this vision of the good life gets nearly everything wrong because it forgets that we are creatures of flesh and blood made in God’s image. This class critically explores the assumptions driving this prevailing view of human flourishing, and we will also propose an alternative vision that abides limits and risk, embraces care, cultivates virtue, and longs for truth, goodness, and beauty.

Lunch provided to all in attendance. 

READING GROUPS

Fall 2023

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Wednesdays 9/20, 10/4, 10/25, 11/15 | 5:00 p.m.

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, ANYWAY?

Todd Best and Drew Cistola  |   CSC Classroom 

“Who are you?” is one of the fundamental questions of meaning asked by humans. More broadly speaking, what is the self? Is identity discovered or invented? How do we begin to answer those questions? In Self-Made, Tara Isabella Burton explores the historical shift from one primary way of understanding the self to an altogether different one in the modern era. Whatever one’s perspective is about the origins of the self, identity is unquestionably shaped by cultural and social structures like technology, social media, and cultural frameworks that provide a context for self-understanding. But perhaps most importantly, Burton notes, now more than ever the self is shaped and defined by, well, the self as each person taps into the individualizing forces of capitalism and digital technology to craft the brand we want. To explore these realities, Burton uses chronological biographical essays to trace this trajectory of self-creation.

Coffee provided.

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Mondays 9/25, 10/2, 10/16, 10/23 | 6:30pm

FOUR NIGHTS IN PURGATORY

Michael Sacasas |  CSC Classroom 

In the early 20th century, T. S. Eliot declared, "“Dante and Shakespeare divide the world between them. There is no third.” These days, few venture into Dante's 14th century epic of the soul, the Divine Comedy. Those who do mostly stick to the first part of the poem, the Inferno, which describes Dante's descent through hell. But in this group, we will join Dante for his ascent up the mountain of purgatory. Regardless of your theological convictions, Dante has much to teach us about love and desire, sin and virtue, beauty and holiness. For four nights will convene to share a meal and share this text in conversation. 

 

Dinner will be provided, but seats are limited, so please contact Anabel Zimmerman at anabel@christianstudycenter.org to register. 

 
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Thursdays 9/14, 9/28, 10/26, 11/9 | 12:30 PM

THE PATIENT FERMENT OF THE EARLY CHURCH

Steve Gregg | CSC Classroom

The growth of the Christian church in the Roman Empire remains surprising. Why did this minor religion from the eastern Mediterranean—marginal, despised, discriminated against—grow substantially, eventually supplanting the well-endowed, respectable cults that were supported by the empire and aristocracy? What enabled Christianity to be so successful that by the fifth century it was the established religion of the empire?

 

Alan Kreider's book, The Patient Ferment of the Early Church helps us to better answer those questions, highlighting the role of patience as a distinctly Christian virtue. And as we see a myriad of social changes around us, looking back at how the early church dealt with such tensions can help us better understand how to lead our churches into the future.

Coffee provided. 

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Mondays 9/11, 9/25, 10/9, 10/23 | 12:50 PM

FACULTY READING GROUP

Brent Henderson | CSC Classroom

The CSC Faculty Reading group welcomes faculty and PhD students, especially those involved in teaching undergraduates. We focus on readings connected to thoughtful teaching, student formation, vocation, virtue, and anything that might help us be better mentors, teachers and colleagues.

Join Prof. Brent Henderson (Linguistics) as he leads this group through The Good Life Method: Reasoning Through the Big Questions of Happiness, Faith, and Meaning by Meghan Sullivan and Paul Blaschko. 

 

Coffee provided. 

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Wednesdays 9/6, 9/27, 10/18, 11/8, 11/29 | 7:30pm

ALUMNI READING GROUP

Juan Alcala | Google Classroom

The virtual reading group is aimed at the community of Study Center alumni far and wide. This reading group will span both the fall and spring semesters, and it will be led by Juan Alcala, a former manager of Pascal's. 

Juan will be guiding the group through a reading of the Iliad by Homer (translation by Robert Fagles). 

 

Contact Anabel Zimmerman at anabel@christianstudycenter.org for more details and to be added to the mailing list for the group. 

Director's Class
READING GROUPS
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Staff

If you've not done so already, take a moment and subscribe to our podcast here. You can peruse past installments here. We use the podcast to post audio from program content and also occasional interviews with guest scholars and writers. 

The podcast is also available on the following podcast listening apps:

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:

A PODCAST OF THE CHRISTIAN

STUDY CENTER

PODCAST

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