Beyond Culture Wars Fostering Solidarity in an Age of Polarization Conference

April 18, 2024 - April 20, 2024
April 18–20, 2024
Full Conference (including keynotes): $75 Kristin Kobes Du Mez’s Keynote: $25

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.

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.