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Beyond Culture Wars: Fostering Solidarity in an Age of Polarization Conference

On April 18–20, 2024, Martin Luther University College and the Institute for Christian Studies will present the conference, “Beyond Culture Wars: Fostering Solidarity in an Age of Polarization.” Hosted at the campus of Martin Luther University College (Wilfrid Laurier University), this event will be an education and discussion forum for faith communities, and for the larger public, to counter the ‘culture wars’ mentality and explore together more positive and mutually beneficial ways of relating religion to the broader society.

To accomplish this goal, “Beyond Culture Wars” will engage a wide variety of academic and community voices in seeking to raise awareness and understanding across sectors through facilitated dialogue, knowledge mobilization, and community cooperation.

DATES: April 18–20, 2024

Conference Workshops and Panels
Martin Luther University College

Kristin Kobes Du Mez’s Keynote
Knox Presbyterian Church

James K. A. Smith’s Keynote
Lincoln Road Chapel

Full Conference (including keynotes): $75
Kristin Kobes Du Mez’s Keynote: $25

Keynotes & Presenters:

Jesus and John Wayne, Christian Nationalism, and the Evangelical Reckoning

Thursday April 18, 2024 at 7 p.m.



Kristin Kobes Du Mez is a New York Times bestselling author and Professor of History and Gender Studies at Calvin University. She holds a PhD from the University of Notre Dame, and her research focuses on the intersection of gender, religion, and politics. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, Religion News Service, and Christianity Today, and has been interviewed on NPR, CBS, and the BBC, among other outlets. Her most recent book is Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation.

The Mystic Crucible of Un-Knowing: From Culture Wars to Contemplative Spirituality

Friday April 19, 2024 at 7 p.m.



James K. A. Smith is Professor of Philosophy at Calvin University, where he holds the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview. Trained as a philosopher with a focus on contemporary French thought, Prof. Smith has emerged as an engaged public intellectual and cultural critic, building bridges between the academy, society, and Christian communities. The author of a number of influential books, Smith’s writing has also appeared in newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today, as well as in magazines such as America, the Christian Century, Christianity Today, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and LitHub.



Conference Program:

Podcast Series:

Welcome to Beyond Culture Wars, a special series of The Moment. This series is a lead up to our 2024  conference, where we will explore religion's role in countering our current culture war mentality. 

Episode 4: In this episode, we're speaking with Cedric Martin, artistic director of Theatre of the Beat. 

Episode 3: In this episode, we're speaking with Héctor Acero Ferrer, Interim Program Coordinator, Bachelor of Arts: Christian Studies and Global Citizenship and Ron Kuipers, Director, Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics.

Episode 2: In this episode, we're speaking with Natalie Appleyard, Socio-economic Policy Analyst at Citizens for Public Justice. 

Episode 1: In this episode, we're speaking with Neal DeRoo, Professor of Philosophy at the Institute for Christian Studies.  

Both keynote presentations and select conference sessions will be made available for synchronous online access. All conference registrants will receive links and instructions on how to view prior to the event.

Unknown Spif - $key