Afternoon Seminars: Holly Ordway

2014 C.S. Lewis Summer Conference, July 21-31, 2014, Oxford & Cambridge, England

 Afternoon Seminars & Workshops

OX-03 Bringing Truth, Beauty, and Goodness to Life: the Practice of Imaginative Apologetics 

Holly Ordway

How can Christians make a case for our faith, and for the virtues that flow from life in Christ, in a culture that seems to be inoculated against taking Christianity seriously.

People today yearn for happiness, authenticity, connectedness, and freedom, but often seek these things in all the wrong places: in consumerism, sexual license, and selfishness. Yet at the same time, the idea that true joy, freedom, and love are to be found in Christ – and nowhere else – is often dismissed as absurd, unbelievable, or even offensive. Fortunately, there is a way forward.

In this seminar, we will explore the work of imaginative apologetics, with the aim of helping participants learn how to share a compelling vision of the Christian life, and to grow in their own faith, through literature and the arts.

No prior knowledge of apologetics is required. This seminar may be of particular interest to parents, teachers, ministry leaders, and creative writers – and to anyone who loves to read or whose faith has been sparked or deepened in Narnia or Middle Earth!

Session 1 will look at the relationship between imagination and reason, and between truth and meaning, delving deep into the work of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien to better understand how stories can ‘baptize the imagination.’

Session 2 will look at specific examples of literature and the arts, with particular emphasis on fantasy – considering virtue in The Hobbit, the Chronicles of Narnia, and Harry Potter – and poetry, including Malcolm Guite’s Sounding the Seasons.

hollyordwayresizeHolly Ordway –  Chair of the Department of Apologetics and director of the MA in Apologetics at Houston Baptist University. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, an MA in English from UNC Chapel Hill, and an MA in apologetics from Biola University; her work focuses on imaginative and literary apologetics, with special attention to CS Lewis and Charles Williams. Her poetry has appeared in various journals, including Windhover, Californios, and Dappled Things: A Quarterly of Art, Ideas, and Faith, and she blogs on literature, culture, and apologetics at She is the author of Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms (revised and expanded 2nd edition forthcoming from Ignatius Press).