Flights of Fancy on Wings of Grace
My love of story is perhaps the oldest love I know. For as long as I can remember, one of the chief joys in life has been to be carried away to strange lands and places, there to meet implausible and unforgettable figures and do the impossible, whatever the cost. My love of literature is thus naturally as old as my ability to read.
This love of story only deepened after the cataclysm of my encounter with God and turn to the Christian faith. Here I found something deeper than myth, but satisfying in the same way; here I learned that my insatiable thirst for story is because there is one story I have always been longing to hear, and have in some sense always been hearing, that is written in my heart on letters no smaller than those with which it is written across the heavens.
And so the Literary Studies courses here seek to plumb the best of human stories, mining them for that most elusive of all qualities in the contemporary world: wisdom.
At the same time, theological education and adult catechesis (training in a deep understanding of the faith) have long been close to my heart. The richness of the Christian intellectual tradition and the inexhaustibility of the mysteries of Christian doctrine are a joy to me, and I love helping others to discover these for themselves.
The Theological Studies courses bring the same excellence in theological education that I offered at places like Yale to anyone who wants it, without the steep price tag, and in a form that could fit into almost any set of life duties. Each of these courses offers seminary level content, in a form that is accessible to the layperson without dumbing it down.
Whether you seek to be immersed in the wonders of human genius or to think along with the thoughts of God, we have courses that can usher you into the next steps on your journey.
Imagination, wonder, mystery, enchantment, and the long road home: these are the meat of the literary enterprise. In these courses, we will read powerful books that guide us in asking the questions that drive a meaningful life.
The Christian faith is an intellectually rigorous account of the nature of reality. Courses in this area challenge you to think along with some of the greatest minds of human history, men and women who felt that intellect without devotion was vain, and so ever sought to elevate their reflection into worship.
This series of videos considers questions of deep import, from theological, philosophical, and cultural perspectives. The pure, the noble, the praiseworthy, and the beautiful, the good, and the true are the concerns here.
Introduction to the World of Narnia
A 4 week course exploring the setting of Lewis' Narnia books. We will consider Narnia's geography, its inhabitants, its magic, and its history.
Mondays and Wednesdays, 7:30-8:30 pm Central time
December 27, 2021 - January 5, 2022
for adults (ages 15+)
Tuition: $100 / student
Meets twice weekly for 2 weeks
The World of Narnia
Read each of the books in The Chronicles of Narnia and discuss them in detail with a lifetime Narnian and like-minded lovers of these classic stories. Rediscover the joy of this magical land and uncover new depths of meaning in Lewis' masterful fiction.
Mondays 7:30-9:30 Central time
March 28 - May 9, 2022
for adults (ages 15+)
Meets weekly for 7 weeks
Here Be Dragons
In this course we will reflect on ideas like beauty, power, friendship, wonder, and joy through books classic and popular that feature dragons.
Saturdays, 9:00 - 11:00 am Central time
January 15-March 19, 2022
Meets weekly for 10 weeks
The Wisdom of Possibility
This course presents a robust theology of the imagination. We will examine the nature of the imagination, its place in human cognition, and how it functions.
Saturdays, 9:00 - 11:00 am CST/CDT
October 2 - December 11, 2021
Meets weekly for 12 weeks
This course introduces the core doctrines of the Christian faith (Trinity, Christology, atonement, and grace) through readings of primary texts written at decisive moments in the development of those doctrines.
Special Intensive: Tuesdays and Thursdays 7:30 - 9:30 pm (CST) and Saturdays 9:00 - 11:00 am (CST)
December 27, 2021 - January 7, 2022
Tuition: $250 / student
Special Events, Videos, and Resources
In these informal events, I explore big questions , usually with a practical angle. The goal is to bring deep truths to bear on the way we encounter the world, and to offer a space for guided conversation about weighty matters. From the dynamics of reading Scripture to the necessity of dragons, these events challenge and inspire.
Glimpses Video Series
The world is deeper, richer, and in general more than we experience on a daily basis. But the beauty, truth, goodness, and splendor of it break through the defenses of our inattention and obsession with the mundane. In such moments, we get glimpses. This series magnifies such glimpses in the service of developing a fuller life.
More About Our Classes
All of our courses focus on reading primary texts. That means that you won't be reading about Tolkien or Aquinas, you'll be reading them. A major goal of our courses is to introduce you to books and authors that will become lifelong companions on your journey.
A small teacher-student ratio means that you will get individualized attention and that there will always be room for your questions and ideas in the discussion.
Lecture classes don't allow students a role in the discussion, while seminars can sometimes be so given over to student presentations and input that the voice of the teacher gets lost. Our guided seminar combines the best of these approaches, making you a true partner in dialogue with an expert.
Classes are taught live, and there is ample opportunity to ask questions about things that are confusing or unclear.
Classes are recorded, so if you have to miss a session for a schedule conflict or outside need, you can watch the video to get caught up.
You will find our class prices aggressively competitive with comparable instruction. And because we know that even these prices are not accessible to all, we also offer payment arrangements and financial aid.
Sometimes in life, things change. We've got you covered with a refund policy that offers you a full refund through the end of the first class, and a tiered structure after that, so that you can register with confidence.
We inject humor into our classes, modeling the fact that learning is fun. And yet this is never at the expense of anyone, and your voice and value will be protected and nurtured at all times.
Dr. Johnson has taught for over 20 years in a variety of settings, from public schools to Ivy League universities. He brings years of thinking about the craft of teaching and the deft touch of a practiced hand to every class he teaches.
Dr. Johnson has published 4 books and numerous scholarly and popular articles, received 4 master's degrees and a PhD from Yale, and lectured around the country in top universities and at various conferences. His work is recognized for its scholarly rigor and deep insight, and he is known to be a dynamic and engaging speaker.