By: Thomas Moore, Campus Editor
Mere Christianity Forum (MCF) and the Orthodox Christian Fellowship hosted a joint CLP Thursday, Nov. 29 titled: “Civilizing the Heart: C.S Lewis on Education.” The event was meant to celebrate what would have been C.S. Lewis’ 120th birthday.
The CLP was held in Hartness Pavilion and featured speaker Dr. Andrew Cuneo, an Orthodox priest who obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Oxford where C.S. Lewis once taught. The CLP was promoted as “deal[ing] with the formation of the affections as central to Lewis’ understanding of the intellectual and spiritual development of young adults,” by Furman’s Cultural Life Program calendar. It was structured as a meeting and also included a question and answer component.
Mere Christianity Forum derives its name from C.S. Lewis’ most famous work, Mere Christianity, which launched him to international recognition and prompted discussions and organizations such as the CLP at Furman.
A number of students, faculty, and staff were in attendance, in addition to residents from the local community. Following Dr. Fink’s reading of the Furman CLP opening statement and opening remarks by Rimes McElveen, MCF’s Executive Director, Dr. Cuneo gave a philosophical presentation on the theology of Lewis’ work. He went through C.S. Lewis’ largely philosophical work, “The Abolition of Man,” a book many students were familiar with.
Midway through the speech, Dr. Cuneo opened the floor up not only for questions, but also comments by the audience as well.
One student in attendance discussed his personal work with Plato in relation to C.S. Lewis and demonstrated how Furman was successful in educating him about Dr. Cuneo’s work.
Local Greenville community members also had the opportunity to voice their opinions when Cuneo allowed the audience to ask questions.
Many Furman students were impressed and delighted by the speech. Sophomore Krissy Gear described it as, “super insightful, it is great that Furman hosts these kinds of things for students who are interested. I love seeing people be made happy, and it’s delightful to see it happen as a result of Furman student organizations.”
The CLP served food, including Turkish Delight and birthday cake. Many people in attendance honored the suggestion made by the CLP flyers to “wear tweed in honor of the Oxford professors.” The attire, in general, was formal.
At the end of the speech, Dr. Cuneo commended Rimes McElveen, the Executive Director of Mere Christianity Forum, as well as the Orthodox Christian Fellowship for putting on the event as well as Furman University for opening it to the public.
The organization’s motto is: “Faith, Reason, Tomfoolery.” According to its website, they are “dedicated to the thoughtful exploration of Christian faith through conversations and community.”