Christian apologist Peter Kreeft visited Biola University this weekend as a guest of the Torrey Honors Institute. Kreeft has written numerous books in various styles on numerous subjects including apologetics, heaven, prayer, Catholicism and Aquinas. His next work (and the subject of tonight’s lecture) will be on the philosophy of Tolkien.

It’s hard to understate how impressed I was by Kreeft himself. He is gracious, humorously self-deprecating, gentle and intelligent. In a lecture on building a culture of life, Kreeft surprisingly implored the audience to do nothing. That’s right–do nothing. Kreeft’s thesis was simply that we live in a culture of people who are (to use Eliot’s phrase) distracted from distraction by distraction. The culture of life is not built through work, but through contemplation of Jesus. Kreeft offered Mother Theresa and her Missionaries of Charity as an example, who apparently pray for two hours before ministering. Kreeft also pointed out that the proliferation of technology has actually decreased the amount of leisure time we have, rather than increased it. Practically, Kreeft admonished us to give our time to Christ, beginning with 15 minutes of prayer and contemplation per day. Unlike appeals I have heard in the past, Kreeft emphasized that God multiplies all gifts given to him, just as he multiplied the fish and loaves when he fed the 5000. Kreeft’s conclusion was (in essence) that Mother Theresa and her order were (and are!) as productive as they are contemplative and prayerful–the relationship between these two is one of one-way direct causation.

If you ever get the opportunity to listen to Kreeft, take it. I was challenged and inspired by both him and his words. He is someone who obviously speaks from experience.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


  1. I heard him at the CS Lewis conference in San Diego last summer. He and Dallas Willard remind me that the older and wiser one gets the humbler one becomes as well.

    What was his LOTR lecture on? I’ve heard him speak on Platonism in Tolkien, Sehnsucht and the Sea in Tolkien, and the LOTR movies and technology. Any of those or something else?


  2. Something else.

    He analyzed American culture through both the movies and the books. His major argument was that the movies rely on technology for their power and they strip the books of their deeper philosophical meaning through unnecessarily leaving out crucial lines and scenes. Given that the books are almost (but not quite, he claimed) anti-technology, Kreeft found this quite ironic. He then reflected more about the advent of technology and why we resort to it so much.


  3. Actually that’s exactly one of the lectures I heard. I bought the CD afterwards because it was one of those I had to hear again!


  4. : )

    Right–that would be “LOTR movies and technology.” I was in a hurry when I read that. : )


  5. Have any of you read Neil Postman, specifically Technopoly? I finished that book about a week ago and it appears very similar to what you are talking about here.


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