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2017 J.J. Thiessen / Friesen Lecture Series (video)

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) marked the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation on October 30 and 31 with a special lecture series delivered by the world’s foremost scholar on Swiss Anabaptism. 

Dr. C. Arnold Snyder presented  the three-part series, titled, “Faith and Toleration: A Reformation Debate Revisited.” Snyder, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, ON, posed the question: Should dissenting religious beliefs be tolerated on religious principle, and toleration established as civic policy?

The lectures explored some of the events and debates that ensued 500 years ago when Martin Luther composed 95 theses for debate in Wittenberg, drawing some conclusions for our day. 

Lecture #1: Monday, October 30

Scripture Alone, Faith Alone, Toleration Doubtful
One might have thought that the central evangelical teaching that faith is a God-given, spiritual, inner, and personal matter would have led to a wave of religious toleration accompanying the Reformation. This never materialized. Instead, a tsunami of intolerance and violence swept away thousands of people into prison, exile and martyrdom. What happened?

Lecture #2: Tuesday, October 31

“Compel them to come in”: The Theology of Intolerance Examined
Protestant theologians, both Lutheran and Reformed, soon became champions of state churches that required all subjects and citizens to attend their churches and swear allegiance to state-sanctioned confessions of faith. How did these Christian theologians justify coercion, torture and even execution in the name of true faith?

Lecture #3: Tuesday, October 31

Hiding in Plain Sight: Anabaptism and Toleration in Switzerland
Anabaptism was officially outlawed in every state of the Swiss Confederation, with all Reformed pastors and civil officials under oath to report violations. Nevertheless, Anabaptist communities survived into the seventeenth century. Archival records shed important light on the phenomenon of de facto toleration that made Anabaptist survival possible in Switzerland.

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Events News Releases

Lecture series to explore Protestant Reformation and its implications for today

Acclaimed Anabaptist scholar Dr. C. Arnold Snyder scheduled to speak on campus

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) will mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation with a special lecture series delivered by the world’s foremost scholar on Swiss Anabaptism. 

Dr. C. Arnold Snyder

Dr. C. Arnold Snyder will present the three-part series, titled, “Faith and Toleration: A Reformation Debate Revisited.” The lectures will take place in the CMU Chapel (600 Shaftesbury Blvd.) on Monday, October 30 at 7:30 PM and Tuesday, October 31 at 11:00 AM and 7:30 PM. 

Snyder, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, ON, will ask the question: Should dissenting religious beliefs be tolerated on religious principle, and toleration established as civic policy?

The lectures will explore some of the events and debates that ensued 500 years ago when Martin Luther composed 95 theses for debate in Wittenberg, drawing some conclusions for our day. 

“Dr. Snyder brings together incredible scholarly acumen, a love for the church, and an incredible ability to communicate to people at all levels,” says Dr. Karl Koop, Professor of History and Theology, and coordinator of CMU’s Biblical and Theological Studies program. “He is not afraid to explore a variety of Anabaptist issues.”

The lecture topics are as follows:

Lecture #1: “Scripture Alone, Faith Alone, Toleration Doubtful” – One might have thought that the central evangelical teaching that faith is a God-given, spiritual, inner, and personal matter would have led to a wave of religious toleration accompanying the Reformation. This never materialized. Instead, a tsunami of intolerance and violence swept away thousands of people into prison, exile, and martyrdom. What happened?

Lecture #2: “‘Compel them to come in’: The Theology of Intolerance Examined” – Protestant theologians, both Lutheran and Reformed, soon became champions of state churches that required all subjects and citizens to attend their churches and swear allegiance to state-sanctioned confessions of faith. How did these Christian theologians justify coercion, torture, and even execution in the name of true faith?

Lecture #3: “Hiding in Plain Sight: Anabaptism and Toleration in Switzerland” – Anabaptism was officially outlawed in every state of the Swiss Confederation, with all Reformed pastors and civil officials under oath to report violations. Nevertheless, Anabaptist communities survived into the seventeenth century. Archival records shed important light on the phenomenon of de facto toleration that made Anabaptist survival possible in Switzerland.

“The theme of faith and toleration is at the very centre of our global context,” Koop says. “In the news every day, we’re hearing about the clash of religions… It strikes me that this particular topic is really at the forefront of the issues that we’re dealing with presently.”

Snyder holds a PhD from McMaster University. His research focuses on sixteenth-century Anabaptism. He has written and edited several books on this topic, including Anabaptist History and Theology: An Introduction (Pandora Press, 1995), and Later Writings of the Swiss Anabaptists, 1529-1592 (Pandora Press, 2017). 

Snyder’s lectures are co-presented by the J.J. Thiessen Lecture Series as well as the John and Margaret Friesen Lectures.

Founded in 1978 by one of CMU predecessor institutions, Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC), the J.J. Thiessen Lectures are named in honour of a founder and long-time chairperson of the CMBC Board. The lectures seek to bring to the CMU community something of Thiessen’s breadth of vision for the church.

The John and Margaret Friesen Lectures in Anabaptist/Mennonite Studies are co-sponsored by CMU, the Mennonite Heritage Centre, and the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. The inaugural lectures in November 2002 were delivered by Dr. Abraham Friesen (Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara), the generous donor who initiated the lecture series.

For details about this year’s lectures, visit cmu.ca/jjt.

 

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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Events Lectures News Releases

CMU welcomes John Swinton for 2014 J.J. Thiessen Lectures

Scottish author and professor to speak on ‘Disability, Timefulness, and Gentle Discipleship’

How might the experience of profoundly disabled people impact our understandings of God, creation, and the meaning of humanness?

Dr. John Swinton will explore that question at this year’s J.J. Thiessen Lectures at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) on October 14-15. Titled “Becoming Friends of Time: Disability, Timefulness and Gentle Discipleship,” the three-part lecture series take place in the CMU Chapel (600 Shaftesbury Blvd.) on Tuesday, October 14 at 11:00 AM and 7:30 PM, and concludes Wednesday, October 15 at 11:00 AM.

Dr. John Swinton, Professor and Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland
Dr. John Swinton, Professor and Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland

Swinton, Professor and Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, will discuss the nature and purpose of time, and the ways in which certain forms of disability draw attention to forgotten aspects of time and timefulness.

The lectures will focus particularly on people with profound intellectual disabilities and people with cognitive disabilities such as advanced dementia. People with such life experiences perceive and live out time in ways that are quite different from the expectations of our speed driven culture.

“If we can conceptualize time differently, we begin to look at the gospel quite differently,” Swinton says.

People with profound disabilities draw attention to the significance of time and point towards the fact that true knowledge of God and faithful discipleship is slow and gentle; not bound by the assumptions of speed, worldly success, and the quickness of one’s intellect.

“One of the primary things that we learn is that by living in God’s time as opposed to the time created by our own clocks, we begin to encounter our daily practices quite differently,” Swinton says.

He adds that Christians today are “always walking ahead of Jesus.” The average Westerner walks at a pace of six miles per hour, whereas Jesus would have walked at half that speed—partly because of the heat, but partly because he understood the meaning of time. He had all the time in the world to do what God wanted him to do.

“By taking time to slow down and think about the experiences of people with dementia, we begin to discover things about God and being human that simply aren’t available (to us) when we’re walking ahead of Jesus,” Swinton says.

2014 JJT PosterSwinton is Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care in the School of Divinity, Religious Studies and Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. He has a background in nursing and healthcare chaplaincy, and has researched and published extensively within the areas of practical theology, mental health, spirituality and human well-being, and the theology of disability.

Swinton says his lectures at CMU are for everyone. Through the lectures, he aims to call Christians together to engage in a more faithful discipleship.

He hopes that people who attend will walk away with an understanding that people with profound intellectual disabilities and people with advanced dementia are disciples with a God-given vocation.

“The lectures appear to be about disability, but they’re really about humanness and faithfulness,” Swinton says. “They’re actually about all of us.”

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences and social sciences, and graduate degrees in Theology and Ministry. CMU has over 1,600 students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury Campus and in its Menno Simons College and Outtatown programs.

For information about CMU, visit: www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:

Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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Audio

Refreshing Winds 2011 audio

Refreshing Winds, Here in This Place, Worship in Context

Brian McLaren’s plenary sessions on Naked Spirituality

Worship always takes place, some place, some where, at some time, in some location… The theme was inspired by the title of a well-known hymn based on Genesis 28:16-17. It reminds us that God is found in surprising places. “This place” is many places, and any place on our planet, wherever people are open to being surprised by God’s presence. And wherever that place is, we are called to live our faith mindful of the culture in which we are located.

Our goal is to recognize the importance of context and culture in our worship, to explore and understand how our culture impacts us, what culture means in our theology, and how worship is embodied in location.

Keynote Speaker: Brian McLaren
An author, storyteller and theologian. Primarily known as a thinker and a writer. His public speaking covers a broad range of topics including postmodern thought and culture, Biblical studies, evangelism, leadership, global mission, spiritual formation, worship, pastoral survival and burnout, inter-religious dialogue, ecology, and social justice.

McLaren’s topic for Refreshing Winds was ‘Naked Spirituality,’ also the title of his next book. He suggested that personal spirituality typically develops in a cycle containing four stages – simplicity, complexity, perplexity, and harmony, which becomes the new simplicity as the cycle continues. For each stage, McLaren provided three spiritual practices that he thinks are particularly valuable in our experience of God. To hear Brian’s talks, listen to the audio files, below.

Thursday, February 3, 2011, 7:00pm
Plenary: Brian McLaren, Naked Spirituality, Stage 1: Simplicity
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Friday, February 4, 2011, 9:00am
Plenary: Brian McLaren, Naked Spirituality, Stage 2: Complexity
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Friday, February 4, 2011, 7:00pm
Plenary: Brian McLaren, Naked Spirituality, Stage 3: Perplexity
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Saturday, February 5, 2011, 9:00am
Plenary: Brian McLaren, Naked Spirituality, Stage 4: Harmony
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Saturday, February 5, 2011, 4:00pm
Plenary: Brian McLaren, Naked Spirituality, Part 5: Conclusion
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Sponsored by CMU’s Institute for Theology and the Church

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Lectures

Winter Lectures 2011 – Romand Coles

Resonance, Receptivity and Radical Reformation

By Melanie Kampen

On January 25 and 26, 2011, Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) welcomed Dr. Romand Coles to its annual Winter Lecture series.  Coles is the Frances B. McAllister Endowed Chair and Director of the Program for Community, Culture, and Environment at Northern Arizona University.  His interests intersect political theory, philosophy, theology, and political practice leading him to prepare his lectures on Resonance, Receptivity and Radical Reformation.

CMU’s annual Winter Lectures highlight the arts, sciences, humanities, and interdisciplinary studies at CMU and foster dialogue between these disciplines and the Christian faith.

“Coles is very interested in Christian thought and practice, so he is a particularly helpful dialogue partner for us,” said Paul Dyck, Associate Professor of English and member of the Special Lectures Committee.

Coles, who brings 20 years’ experience teaching political theory, holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts.  His recent publications include Beyond Gated Politics: Reflections for the Possibility of Democracy (2005) and (with Stanley Hauerwas) Christianity, Democracy, and the Radical Ordinary: Conversations between a Radical Democrat and a Christian (2007).

In the first of his three lectures presented on campus at CMU, Coles noted that our intra-societal encounters with difference are marked by two kinds of resonance.  The “resonance machine” of mainstream politics leads us to hostility and the exercise of imperial power in order to manage conflicts of difference across political and ethical lines.  The alternative, however, names a very different kind of power, which makes itself vulnerable to the other and thereby initiates resonant receptivity across difference.  Where the former proliferates mimetic violence, the latter questions this as the normative response to difference and by its interrogative character, breaks open the vicious cycle with a creative and wild peace.  It is at this point that Coles finds John Howard Yoder’s work on non-violence particularly illuminating.  Yoder suggests that Jesus’ life and death were marked by the continuous temptation to take matters into his own hands and bring about a Messianic revolution once and for all.  Not only is this evident in Jesus’ encounter with the devil in the wilderness, it is more generally a constant temptation referred to by Yoder as the Zealot option.  As we know, Jesus rejects this option, the zealous desire to get a handle on history in order to bring about a particular end. Jesus’ response is rather what Coles calls a practice of “wild patience”: patience because it resists the urgent anxiety for control, and wild because it names the active cultivation of a different kind of posture towards violence and difference in general.

The second lecture explored some recent developments in neurobiology, particularly the study of mirror neurons.  Coles illustrated the findings in the simple example of the way a smile towards another person elicits a smile in return.  The sight of a smile resonates at the neurological level, the mirror neurons begin to fire, and a smile is provoked in return.  This does not imply that we are somehow “smiled into becoming” as Coles cautions, but it does show us that we are deeply biological and corporeal creatures.  Coles further suggests that our preoccupation with political control and management reflects our lack of resonance across difference and is a symptom of what he refers to as “political autism.”  Autism is marked by a lack of neuro-resonance with the emotions of others.  Its political diagnosis then names a lack of resonance across difference in the body politic.  Also recognizing that social practices cultivate our bodies in particular ways, Coles suggests that many of our current social customs, political frameworks, and educational institutions, cultivate practices that diminish, shut down, and deflect our capacities for receptive resonance.  Receptive resonance as an antidote to political autism does not imply agreement across difference but the initiation of dynamic interaction and exchange.  Furthermore, it does not name a solution to conflicts of difference; rather, it reconceives of society as an ecosystem.  Multifarious practices of resonant receptivity name an “ecology of post-autistic politics and ethics.”  Practices of receptivity develop and increase our neurological and cultural capacities for receptivity and in this performative way they create “liturgies of transformation.”

Having called attention to the immanence of resonance to the socio-political fabric, Coles spurred our imaginations in the third lecture by sharing some of the practices he participates in.  One of his criticisms of the modern university is that it is structured in such a way that thought is abstracted from the practices that engender it.  Coles maintains that the theory-practice dualism is ultimately false and that the lines that define thought need to be redrawn.  Students at Northern Arizona University are therefore involved in a number of community practices alongside their in-class studies.  “What this is not,” Coles emphasized, “is the application of thought.”  Rather, all the practices of the students are understood as sites of knowledge, thought, imagination, and creativity.  Liturgies of transformation take place in school assemblies and parent groups, church basements and community gardens.  Coles remarked that “if Obama is doing something big, we are doing little things—remember, un-handling history at the cellular level.”

Resonant receptivity and liturgies of transformation are located in an ecosystem of energy: from cellular to solar, from biological to cultural, from political to ethical.  Engaging and receiving this energy creates an alternative “resonance machine” characterized by wild and patient labour.  The practice of resonant receptivity does not seek to overcome difference merely in a non-violent way; rather, it gives and receives difference in a posture vulnerable and open to radical reformation.

As Mennonite listeners and readers will notice, Coles’ project resonates with our Anabaptist identity in interesting ways.  Particularly in regards to the continuous negotiations of the Christian witness to the world, Coles invites us to interrogate the social and political norms that govern the state but also those of the church.  How do we relate to difference?  How do we understand and engage questions of peace and violence?  In what ways are we complicit in the dominant resonance machine?  Where have we closed off the opportunity for receptivity?  With whom do we resonate?  Ultimately, these are not questions we can answer ourselves; we need the voice of others, of difference, to give an account of ourselves and the world.  The posture of resonant receptivity assumes a certain level of ignorance which understands that my liberation is bound up with yours.  As Lila Watson once remarked: “If you have come to help me you are wasting my time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us struggle together.”

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a Christian university offering undergraduate degrees in the arts and sciences, business, communications and media, peace and conflict resolution studies, music, music therapy, theology, and church ministries, as well as graduate degrees in Theological Studies and Christian ministry. Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CMU has over 1,700 students at its Shaftesbury Campus in Southwest Winnipeg, at Menno Simons College in downtown Winnipeg, and enrolled through its Outtatown discipleship program. CMU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).

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Audio

JJ Thiessen Lectures audio – Dr. Belden Lane

J.J. Thiessen Lecture Series
October 19-20, 2010 From Desert Christians to Mountain Refugees: Fierce Landscapes and Counter-Cultural Spirituality
Guest Lecturer:
Dr. Belden Lane, Saint Louis University

Lecture 1:  October 19, 2010  11:00 AM
Places on the Edge: The Power of Desert/Mountain Terrain in Christian Thought
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Lecture 2:  October 19, 2010  7:30 PM
The Counter-Cultural Spirituality of the Desert Fathers for Today
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Leture 3:  October 20, 2010  11:00 AM
Fire in the Desert: Learning from the Desert Mothers
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Lecture Topic: In the history of Christian spirituality, desert and mountain terrain has often been the source (and refuge) of counter-cultural movements. The Desert Christians in the fourth century went into the desert beyond the Nile, reacting after Constantine to the church’s support of a prosperity theology, gospel of success, and militarism. In sixteenth-century Switzerland, Anabaptists hid in barns and fled to caves in the Jura Mountains, questioning the magisterial Reformation in similar ways. These lectures will explore some ways in which the appeal of fierce landscapes in the Christian life is closely related to its prophetic witness to the dynamism of faith on the margins.

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Winter Lectures audio – Dr. Romand Coles

Winter Lectures Series
January 25-26, 2011 Resonance, Receptivity and Radical Reformation
Guest Lecturer:
Dr. Romand Coles, McAllister Chair in Community, Culture, & Environment at Northern Arizona University.

Lecture 1: January 25, 2011, 11:00 AM
The Wild Peace (not) of John Howard Yoder

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Lecture 2: January 25, 7:30 PM
Mirror Neurons, Receptive Resonance,and Radical Democracy

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Lecture 3: January 26, 11:00 AM
Radical Education Reform: Resonance and Engaged Pedagogical Practice

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Dr. Romand Coles Biography: Romand Coles is the Frances B. McAllister Endowed Chair and Director of the Program for Community, Culture, and Environment at Northern Arizona University. After teaching political theory for twenty years at Duke University, driven by Adorno’s claim that ‘to want utopia is to want substance in cognition’, Coles ventured to NAU in a last-ditch effort to learn how to think in relation to many of the specific challenges, opportunities, and peoples in his new home on the Colorado Plateau. He is the author of many books and articles at the intersection of political theory, philosophy, theology, and political practice.  Among his works are, Self/Power/Other:  Political Theory and Dialogical Ethics;  Rethinking Generosity:  Critical Theory and the Politics of Caritas;  Beyond Gated Politics:  Reflections for the Possibility of Democracy; and (with Stanley Hauerwas) Christianity, Democracy, and the Radical Ordinary:  Conversations between a Radical Democrat and a Christian.

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Lectures

Winter Lectures Series with Romand Coles

For release January 12, 2011

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) students, staff, and faculty as well as members of the community will convene for CMU’s tenth-annual Winter Lectures Series, featuring guest lecturer Romand (Rom) Coles on the topic of political studies, January 25-26, 2011.

The CMU Winter Lectures, held annually each January and open to the public at no cost, seeks to highlight the arts, sciences, humanities, and interdisciplinary studies at CMU and to foster dialogue between these disciplines and the Christian faith.

“The Winter Lectures are always one of the highlights of the school year for me,” says Chris Huebner, Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy and Chair of the Special Lectures Committee. “I especially enjoy the way the lectures strive to connect with some aspect of our common work at CMU while bringing that work into contact with new questions and conversation partners.

“We are extremely fortunate to have had such a distinguished roster of ‘Winter Lecturers’ over the years,” adds Huebner.

Guest lecturer Romand Coles, the Frances B. McAllister Endowed Chair and Director of Community, Culture, and Environment at Northern Arizona University (NAU), will present on “Resonance, Receptivity, and Radical Reformation.”

Coles came to NAU in July 2008 after teaching political theory for 20 years at North Carolina’s Duke University. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts, an M.A. in Political Science from Western Washington University (WWU), and a B.S. in Social Impact Assessment/Human Ecology from WWU’s Huxley College of Environmental Studies. Coles’ most recent publications include Beyond Gated Politics: Reflections for the Possibility of Democracy (2005) and (with Stanley Hauerwas) Christianity, Democracy, and the Radical Ordinary: Conversations between a Radical Democrat and a Christian (2007).

Coles will explore the themes of radical democracy, theology, philosophy, pedagogy, and grassroots community action as they relate to politics in his three lectures: “The Wild Peace (not) of John Howard Yoder” will delve into Yoder’s path-breaking work on non-violence; “Mirror Neurons, Receptive Resonance, and Radical Democracy” will focus on the perspective of neurobiological work and recent developments in the study of mirror neurons; and in “Radical Education Reform: Resonance and Engaged Pedagogical Practice,” Coles will present several examples of engaged pedagogical practices, drawing on his recent work in Northern Arizona.

“I’m excited about Romand coming here,” says Paul Dyck, Associate Professor of English and member of the Special Lectures Committee. “He is coming at things from outside the church, but at the same time, he is very interested in Christian thought and practice, so he is a particularly helpful dialogue partner for us.

“The Winter Lectures provide an opportunity for a broad range of speakers and topics, all engaged with the Christian gospel, but often in surprising ways,” Dyck continues. “This is what being a Christian university is all about, because lectures like this help the church to more deeply engage its task of being a gospel people.”

The Winter Lectures will be held at CMU’s Laudamus Auditorium at 500 Shaftesbury Blvd., with Coles’ first lecture taking place at 11:00 a.m. on January 25.

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a Christian university offering undergraduate degrees in the arts and sciences, business, communications and media, peace and conflict resolution studies, music, music therapy, theology, and church ministries, as well as graduate degrees in Theological Studies and Christian ministry. Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CMU has over 1,700 students at its Shaftesbury Campus in Southwest Winnipeg, at Menno Simons College in downtown Winnipeg, and enrolled through its Outtatown discipleship program. CMU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).

For information, contact:
Nadine Kampen, Communications & Marketing Director
nkampen@cmu.ca;
Tel. 204.487.3300  Ext. 621

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Lectures

Belden C. Lane for 2010 J.J. Thiessen Lecture Series

Author and Professor of Theological Studies Speaks on “Fierce Landscapes and Counter-Cultural Spirituality”
For release October 19, 2010

CMU welcomes Belden C. Lane, Professor of Theological Studies at Missouri’s Saint Louis University, as lecturer for the 33rd annual J.J. Thiessen Lecture Series October 19 and 20.

Lane presents three lectures on the theme “From Desert Christians to Mountain Refugees:  Fierce Landscapes and Counter-Cultural Spirituality ” – a theme that resonates in a province with vast stretches of rugged Canadian Shield country, an inland desert, powerful rivers, and harsh winters that render any landscape ‘fierce”.

CMU’s JJ. Thiessen Lecture Series is open to the public and includes the following:
October 19, 11:00 AM Places on the Edge: The Power of Desert/Mountain Terrain in Christian Thought
October 19, 7:30 PM The Counter-Cultural Spirituality of the Desert Fathers for Today
October 20, 11:00 AM Fire in the Desert: Learning from the Desert Mothers

Admission is free as a community service offered by CMU.  Lectures are held in the CMU Chapel at 600 Shaftesbury Boulevard (south campus).

“Belden Lane is a story-teller, lover of language, and academic,” notes CMU Vice President (External) Terry Schellenberg. “A Presbyterian theologian teaching at a Catholic, Jesuit school at Saint Louis University in Missouri, Lane is writer and thinker who integrates spiritual practice within deeply rooted historical and theological roots. As evidenced in his writings, he is one who imaginatively explores spirituality in its many forms within landscapes of geography, place, and nature.”

Recipient of many awards and honours, including the Faculty Excellence Award for 2008 by Saint Louis University’s Student Government Association, Lane teaches in the areas of American religion, the history of spirituality, and the connections between geography and faith.

“The relationship of Christian spirituality to the wonder and beauty of the natural world is close to my heart,” Lane writes, “whether seen in the earth-sensitive practices of Celtic spirituality or Calvin and Edwards’ perception of the world as a theater of God’s glory in the Reformed tradition.”

Author of a large body of published works, Lane’s books include Landscapes of the Sacred (Johns Hopkins, 2001), The Solace of Fierce Landscapes (Oxford University Press, 1998), and Ravished by Beauty: The Surprising Legacy of Reformed Spirituality (Oxford, 2011).

In addition to writing and teaching, Lane is a revered storyteller and an avid wilderness backpacker who is supremely interested in the area of Desert Spirituality.

In the J.J. Thiessen Lectures Series, Lane draws from his own work on the symbolic significance of wilderness in Christian spirituality. “In the history of Christian spirituality, desert and mountain terrain has often been the source (and refuge) of counter-cultural movements,” says Lane.  “The Desert Christians in the fourth century went into the desert beyond the Nile, reacting after Constantine to the church’s support of a prosperity theology, gospel of success, and militarism.” Relating to aspects of Anabaptist history, he notes that, “in sixteenth-century Switzerland, Anabaptists hid in barns and fled to caves in the Jura Mountains, questioning the magisterial Reformation in similar ways.”

“The appeal of fierce landscapes in the Christian life is closely related to its prophetic witness to the dynamism of faith on the margins,” says Lane.
For J.J. Thiessen Lecture Series information, visit www.cmu.ca

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, offering undergraduate degrees in arts and science, and such disciplines as business and organizational administration, communications and media, peace and conflict resolution studies, music and music therapy, theology, and church ministries, as well as graduate degrees in Theological Studies and Christian ministry. CMU is a Member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).

For further information, contact:
Nadine Kampen
Communications and Marketing Director
nkampen@cmu.ca

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Audio

Proclaiming the Unique Claims of Christ 2010 audio

Proclaiming the Unique Claims of Christ Lecture Series
Negotiating the Christian-Muslim Interface
March 15 – 16, 2010

March 15, 11:30 am – 12:10 pm: Session 1 – Is Jesus only for Christians?

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March 16, 11:30 am – 12:10 pm: Session 2 – Do the Unique Claims of Jesus Make a Difference?

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