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TGIF: reading irreligiously

5 February 2016

This morning we went to TGIF to hear David Levey speak on Why I read irreligiously: doubt, apologetics and fiction.

TGIF (just in case you didn’t know, the letters stand for Thank God It’s Friday) is a weekly gathering in three different centres in Gauteng, held in bookshops with coffee bars attached.[1]  Some one speaks on a topic usually related to the Christian faith and society and culture. It lasts an hour, from 6:30 am to 7:30 am, so people can get to work afterwards. We’ve been a few times, when people have spoken on topi9cs that particularly interested us.[2]

From the TGIF blurb:

What does literature have to say to theology – and vice versa?  And how do we take literature on its own terms without hastily imposing theological categories; how do we leave room for and engage with doubts and genuine questions in literature?  Don’t miss David Levey as he offers a tour of various authors ranging from postmodern writers to feminist theologians to new atheists.  Drawing on his own journey of faith and reading, David will invite us to listen for the deeper questions.

This is part 1 of a 2-part mini-series.  The first part will explore the relationship between theology and  literature more generally, while part 2 (next week) will offer a particular focus on outspoken bestselling atheist Philip Pullman.

Prof David Levey has recently retired from the Dept of English Studies at Unisa but remains an Associate Professor and Research Fellow, with strong focuses on the faith-literature interrelation, especially as regards popular culture in general and Philip Pullman in particular.

We’ll have to go next week to hear the second part.

David Levey speaking at TGIF, 5 February 2016

David Levey speaking at TGIF, 5 February 2016

Afterwards we discussed the possibility of meeting regularly to discuss the general topic of Christianity and Literature. TGIF is all well and good, but it covers a wide range of topics, not all of which are interesting to everyone. Perhaps what we want is a kind of Tshwane Inklings, with no speaker, no set agenda, just getting together to chat on the broad topic of Christianity and literature. Perhaps, like the Oxford Inklings of the 1930s, we may read some of our own writing to each other.

In order that it should not just be a vague desire, we set a time and a place for our first meeting: 10:30 am on Thursday 3 March 2016 at Cafe 41 in Eastwood Avenue, Arcadia, Pretoria, and thereafter on the first Thursday of every month. We will meet for coffee and literary/theological chat, and those who want to stay for lunch can do so.

If there’s anyone reading this who might like to participate, come and join us. If you live too far away, start your own, and join our electronic NeoInklings Forum, where you can discuss things online.


[1] TGIF meets most Fridays at three different venues in Gauteng.

All venues start 06:15 am for 06:30 am and end 7:30 am sharp.  Free entrance, all welcome.  No need to book – just walk in.

The venues are:

  • Hodges Coffee House, 345 Jan Smuts Ave, CRAIGHALL PARK
  • Seattle Coffee Company, CRESTA Shopp’ng Centre
  • OM Link Building, 1211 South Street, HATFIELD

[2] You can read about some other TGIF gatherings we have attended here:

  1. New monasticism meets old | Khanya
  2. Hobbits, heroes and Jesus – TGIF | Khanya
  3. Bloated job titles and other examples of diseased language | Notes from underground
4 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 February 2016 1:37 pm

    Great idea! You should post this to our South African Indie Writers group, Steve. You might get some interest there (I’ll be tweeting it for you on Monday). 🙂


  1. Milton, Lewis, Pullman, and pop culture | Khanya
  2. Civilization | Khanya
  3. The problem of Susan: growing up? | Khanya

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