Anabaptists and Postmodernity
an interdisciplinary conference hosted by
Bluffton College
August 6-8, 1998

The Conference
The first Mennonite conference devoted to postmodernity, Anabaptists and Postmodernity offers an opportunity both to expand and contest current conversations by encouraging discussion among scholars and intellectuals from a variety of academic disciplines, religious backgrounds and cultural perspectives.

Throughout their history Anabaptist Christians have sought to live faithfully in the tension between being in the world and not of it.  As the end of the twentieth century approaches, Anabaptist-related churches continue to live this tension in what seems a particularly difficult context.

· The modern expectations associated with progress, reason, and technology still undermine faithful discipleship and simple living.
· The rise of consumerism threatens to transform all social and spiritual meaning into marketable commodities and consuming experiences.
· The proliferation of social and symbolic differences in the postmodern marketplace relativizes ethical choices and challenges the legitimacy of communal accountability.
· Doubt about the existence of God is superseded by doubt about the existence of the human and, by extension, disregard for the sacredness of life.
· Loss of confidence in human agency trivializes human freedom and undermines social responsibility.

Christian churches, still reeling from the subversion of religious meaning by modern epistemological assumptions and enlightenment reason have only begun to consider the implications of the postmodern reaction to modernity.  Anabaptist Christians, who have habitually struggled against modernity rather than embraced it, are now uncertain of whether the new postmodern critiques of modernity that fall are allies in the struggle or foes disguised as friends. This conference seeks to address the thought, worship, and everyday practice of radical Christians who seek to follow Christ in a world caught between rationalist doubt and anti-rationalist nihilism.

Bluffton College
Bluffton College is a four-year Christian liberal arts college located in northwest Ohio and affiliated with the General Conference Mennonite Church. Shaped by that historic peace church tradition and nourished by a desire for excellence in all phases of its programs, Bluffton College seeks to prepare students of all backgrounds for life as well as vocation, for responsible citizenship, for service to all peoples and ultimately for the purposes of God's universal kingdom.

Bluffton is just off interstate 75, midway between Lima and Findlay. Driving time from Toledo, Ohio, is 1 hour; from Pittsburgh, 5 hours; from Cincinatti, 2 and 1/2 hours; from Fort Wayne, Ind., 1 and 1/2 hours; from Kitchener/Waterloo, Ont., 6 hours. Our admissions department has prepared detailed maps for your convenience.

Early registration, postmarked by July 1, is $93 Cdn/$65 US per person.  After July 1, the registration fee is $107 Cdn/$75 US per person.  Participants arriving at the conference should register between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Thursday, August 6, in the foyer of Yoder Recital Hall.  Late arrivals may also register between 7 and 9 a.m. on Friday, August 7.  Single day registration is $36 Cdn/$25 US per day. Full time student registration is free.

Lodging and Meals
Conference participants are encouraged to take their meals and lodging on the Bluffton College campus.  Dining service will be provided in Marbeck Center (the Bluffton College dining commons) and lodging will be in Ramseyer Hall (a recently constructed and air-conditioned student residence hall).  The meal package for the entire conference is $41 Cdn/$29 US (this includes dinner on Thursday, three meals on Friday, and two meals on Saturday).  Lodging for Thursday and Friday night is $41 Cdn/$29 US.

Complete Conference Package
The total cost for the conference to early registrants, including registration, lodging, and meals, is $176 Cdn/$123 US.  For late registrants, the cost is $190 Cdn/$133 US.  Registration fees should be sent to Susan L. Biesecker-Mast, Bluffton College, 280 W. College Ave., Bluffton, OH 45817

For More Information
Call or e-mail Susan Biesecker-Mast, conference chair, at 419-358-3082 or visit the conference web site at

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page created and maintained by Gerald Biesecker-Mast
last updated March 5, 1998