Why am I so restless? Why do I experience so much angst and frustration in my daily life? Why are my achievements never enough?
In Confessions, Augustine takes us on a journey of how he looked in all the wrong places before he found what he was made for. In the end, he finds not just some answers, but he learns to ask the right questions. And most importantly, he discovers grace in a God who loves him. A Father who brings him home. This 14-part series explores how Augustine, the most important theologian in history outside of biblical figures, shows us a way to find rest in anxious times.
Interested in reading along? We recommend Sarah Ruden’s translation of Confessions, which you can find on Amazon.com.
Lecture 1: Introduction to Augustine’s Confessions
Why am I so restless? Why do I experience so much angst and frustration in my daily life? Why are my achievements never enough? What is evil? Why am I drawn to it? Confessions is the story of a man, Augustine, who set out to find the answers, only to realize he’s looking in all the wrong places. At the end of the journey, he finds not just some answers, but he learns to ask the right questions, and most importantly, he discovers grace. He is found by the only One who can truly give rest.
Lecture 2: Book 1 – Augustine’s Problems
In book one, Augustine begins to describe universal human problems: the challenge of finite beings talking about an infinite God, the human proclivity to turn inward on ourselves, and the worldly aims that are ingrained in us from an early age. Yet it is by first facing these problems, that we can begin to be cured.
Lecture 3: Book 2 – The Misery of Miseducation
Augustine takes us on a journey through the layers of sin and (de)formation that led him and threatens to lead us away from God, the only true source of hope and joy.
Lecture 4: Book 3 – Augustine’s Zigzag Path to God
Book three of Confessions is the beginning of Augustine’s zigzag journey home to God. Augustine takes steps forward, but he also stumbles along the way, reminding us that in the messiness of life and even through unexpected sources, God is at work.
Lecture 5: Book 4 – Finding Hope in Despair
While “seduced” by the Manichees, Augustine goes back home and rekindles an old friendship, only to abruptly experience a profound loss. By exploring his grief in vivid terms, Augustine not only describes the symptoms but also the cause of his (and our) misery. Yet it is through this bleak diagnosis that we learn to look for the true medicine, so that our souls might be healed and our friendships restored.
Lecture 6: Book 5 – Two Bishops and God’s Providence
In book five Augustine meets two very different bishops. The first bishop unwittingly helps him to step away from Augustine’s wrong thinking. The second bishop helps Augustine begin to think, maybe, just maybe, there is something to Christianity. Along the way, we discover how we might rest in God’s providential guidance and make Christianity more plausible to those around us.